Cloud and remote working solutions bolster UC market
Worldwide end-user spending on cloud based web conferencing solutions will grow nearly 25% in 2020, driven by global workplace restrictions. However this growth will taper off in 2021, Gartner finds.
According to the analysts, spending on these solutions will grow 24.3% in 2020. This has been spurred on by the changes in working due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
As a result, the cloud conferencing user base will expand throughout 2020, but growth will taper off in 2021 as the lasting effects of a remote workforce render conferencing services commonplace, Gartner states.
End-user spending on cloud-based conferencing is projected to reach $4.1 billion in 2020, up from $3.3 billion in 2019. It is the second-fastest growing category in the unified communications (UC) market, behind spending on cloud-based telephony, which is forecast to reach $16.8 billion in 2020.
Cloud-based conferencing includes cloud web conferencing and video-as-a-service functionality delivered via the cloud and enabling interactions over a network between participants.
The overall UC market is projected to decline 2.7% in 2020 and return to growth in 2021, as cloud telephony initiatives regain momentum.
Gartner predicts that by 2024, in-person meetings will account for just 25% of enterprise meetings, a drop from 60% prior to the pandemic, driven by remote work and changing workforce demographics.
As a result, there is a higher demand for convenient access to videoconferencing and other collaboration tools.
Gartner senior principal analyst Megan Fernandez says, “Cloud collaboration investments will buoy the UC market downturn as remote work initiatives spurred by the COVID-19 outbreak drive conferencing adoption and market growth.”
In 2020, new premises-based telephony investments will drop significantly as existing installed telephony system life spans are stretched and investment priorities shift to the cloud.
Fernandez says, “Cloud telephony adoption will experience a ‘push and pull’ from competing market pressures. Overall, the market will be negatively impacted by organisations that were planning near-term premises to cloud migrations but are now extending legacy life spans instead.”
Despite this, cloud telephony will experience a boost once its benefits are recognised. Gartner states these benefits include the ease at which it can accommodate a changing workforce, update and extend existing features, and integrate with adjacent applications. The analysts find the cloud telephony market is projected to grow 9% in 2020 and 18% in 2021.
Fernandez says, “As a result of workers employing remote work practices in response to COVID-19 office closures, there will be some long-term shifts in conferencing solution usage patterns.
"Policies established to enable remote work and experience gained with conferencing service usage during the outbreak is anticipated to have a lasting impact on collaboration adoption.”