Comprehensive software reviews to make better IT decisions
Recon Research Highlights Web Conferencing as the Future of the Workplace
At Enterprise Connect 2020, Ira Weinstein (Founder, Recon Research) reported that Recon Research’s latest study shows how COVID-19 has cemented web conferencing as the future of the workplace. Indeed, three major web conferencing solutions – Cisco Webex, Microsoft Teams, and Zoom – each saw dramatic increases in their meeting minutes due to remote work:
- Cisco Webex: 25 billion meeting minutes in April 2020 (over three times the normal volume).
- Microsoft Teams: 4.1 billion minutes per day, 200 million daily meeting participants in April 2020 (up 70%).
- Zoom: 300 million daily meeting participants in April 2020 (up 30 times from December 2019).
This sets the stage for the future of the workplace. Whereas web conferencing was less common before the pandemic (60% of respondents rarely used or did not use web conferencing before March 2020), remote work has normalized its frequent use. All respondents now said that they used web conferencing to some degree, with an increase from 4% to 25% of regular use (more than once a day) after the pandemic hit.
It is unlikely that web conferencing use will decrease to pre-pandemic levels, given how remote or hybrid work has become normal. This has several implications for the workplace, especially regarding how meeting rooms will be used as employees return to the office. Organizations will need to video/audio-enable their rooms to ensure inclusive meetings for those both in and outside the office. This may not have been not front and center if only the occasional employee had to dial in. But if a significant number of employees are working from home, equalizing the meeting experience for those in and outside the room will be critical. Organizations will need to understand their various use cases and prepare to standardize their web conferencing capacity and hardware.
For further information, watch Recon Research’s session on “Meeting Rooms & the New Normal.” This session is available online through to December 31, 2020, at Enterprise Connect 2020.
While web conferencing app use has certainly skyrocketed, so has the potential for a cluttered collaboration toolset. As SoftwareReviews’ data quadrant shows below, there are plenty of web conferencing apps to choose from. Without a well-defined collaboration strategy, organizations may find that their employees will either download their own app of choice or have to switch between apps depending on the use case, and they’ll eventually grow frustrated with a lack of standardization.
Source: Web Conferencing Data Quadrant at SoftwareReviews. Accessed: August 27, 2020.
Organizations should bear several things in mind when choosing a web conferencing app. First, do you already subscribe to an office productivity suite that has a web conferencing solution that can be used? If you already have Office 365 or Cisco Webex licenses, Microsoft Teams and Webex Teams become the natural go-to. If you have both Microsoft and Cisco licenses, this will call for a broader conversation about rationalizing your collaboration toolset.
Second, think about your end-user requirements. Web conferencing tools that are part of a broader office productivity suite tend not to be best-of-breed solutions. If your web conferencing needs do not call for advanced capabilities (e.g. breakout rooms) then this will not be an issue. However, if your users suggest the need for certain capabilities that go beyond your in-house tools, this may be grounds for bringing in a best-of-breed tool. Of course, you will want to do this in a strategic way to avoid only reinforcing the confusion of having different web conferencing apps available to your users.
Finally, consider what hardware your meeting rooms have. Some software is not going to be as compatible as others with certain hardware, while some hardware is built for specific software in mind (e.g. Cisco Room Kits and Webex). This decision factor may either help narrow down the search for the right software or provide an opportunity to choose a preferred software and an upgrade of your meeting room hardware.
For further information, see Info-Tech’s Rationalize Your Collaboration Tools to start building your collaboration strategy.
Want to Know More?
On October 8, 2021, BlueJeans by Verizon announced their “Next-Generation BlueJeans” suite and partnership with Google Glass. The Next-Generation suite ties BlueJeans Meetings to two new products: BlueJeans Spaces and BlueJeans Collab Board.
On June 3, 2021, BlueJeans provided an update on its product direction for 2H 2021. BlueJeans is now fully integrated with Verizon One, completing Verizon’s full UCaaS solution.
On May 21, 2021, Cisco briefed on Webex’s security features. This not only included information about the type of administration control for end users when using Webex from any device, but also Cisco’s certifications and compliances more broadly.
This note outlines Info-Tech’s Three C’s of Enterprise Collaboration framework to help buyers effectively navigate the collaboration software marketspace.
With a return to the office looking ever more feasible, organizations need to consider what role web conferencing solutions will play moving forward. This note outlines three trends organizations should be aware of as we move into 2022.
On March 11, 2021, Verizon provided updates to BlueJeans’ product vision and direction for FY2021. BlueJeans experienced dramatic adoption in 2020, particularly for webinars and events, and seeks to offer advanced breakout room features in the future.
On February 24-25, 2021, Zoho held its annual ZohoDay – a conference aimed at communicating the state of the business and product roadmaps. The event coincided with Zoho’s 25th year as a company, testament to Zoho’s long-term business approach: grow organically, have zero debt, zero external investments, remain cashflow positive, and plow cashflow back into the business and customers.
On October 29, 2020, Verizon briefed on BlueJeans’ product vision and direction. This note outlines the new and upcoming features that users can expect from BlueJeans for the rest of 2020 and into 2021. However, with the table stakes margin for features rapidly increasing in the web conferencing marketspace, BlueJeans’ new features are less a way to stand out from the crowd and more as a necessity to keep up.
On November 5, 2020, Cisco briefed on its upcoming virtual legislative session tool Webex Legislate. With a range of features that governing bodies around the globe have desired throughout the extent of the pandemic, Webex Legislate surely becomes the must-have tool for conducting virtual and hybrid sessions – especially if an agency is already leveraging Cisco products.