Global Conferencing Challenges: Why It Can't Be the Same Everywhere

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Rob BellmarBy Rob Bellmar

The global market for audio conferencing will hit $5.5 billion in 2015, up from $5 billion in 2010. Much of that growth will come from emerging markets in Asia, the Middle East and Africa, and Central and South America, each of which is projected to rise at a minimum compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4 percent, while certain regions will hit a torrid 8 percent growth rate. Some of that emerging market growth will come from organic, domestic usage, but much of it will come from multinational corporations extending their conferencing reach into the various regions in which they operate.

Extending conferencing services into emerging regions requires enterprises to recognize the issues they are likely to face. Regulatory and technological infrastructure differences between countries can make even basic conferencing a complicated endeavor. A rapid uptick in usage of mobile devices will challenge enterprises’ ability to provide easy, toll-free conferencing around the world. Operating in regions more susceptible to fraud makes security a concern that companies will need to plan for before they roll out any conferencing services. It will demand constant monitoring to provide peace of mind going forward. Selecting a partner that understands all of these issues and can help companies navigate the tricky waters of multinational conferencing will make life much simpler and allow them to better focus on their core business.

Considerations for Customers

Companies in developed regions such as North America and Western Europe often assume their experiences are universal and that doing business in other regions is the same as at home. Because audio conferencing is relatively simple and hassle-free to set up and to use in their home countries, companies often expect the same state of affairs to occur in emerging market countries. This fallacious reasoning can easily set companies up for failure when they actually attempt to extend their conferencing services to new countries.

Although it sounds simplistic, companies need to be reminded that countries such as Brazil, Pakistan  and Sierra Leone do not have the same infrastructure, the same regulations and the same levels of security as developed countries such as the U.S. or France. Only when companies recognize the scale of the difficulties they are likely to encounter can they then begin to properly plan, assess their own capabilities and decide on the best course of action.

To construct a stable, multinational audio conferencing facility, a company would need to unravel the tangled skein of regulations from every country in which calls might originate. It would need to evaluate the capabilities of multiple carriers and then create relationships with all of those required to provide the necessary coverage. It would also need to establish a fraud identification and prevention system.

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