The BYOD blitz within the enterprise not only allows employees to work from anywhere, it also enables the use of video for meeting with colleagues and customers. As a result, collaboration suppliers say they see increased interest from organizations wanting to provide video conferencing that works across PCs, laptops, smartphones and tablets, and that provides capabilities such as quality of service that consumer services such as Skype cannot. Indeed, mobility is, according to suppliers, driving overall collaboration adoption among end users because professionals expect to be able to work together from any device. For channel partners, this means the chance to make more money from existing users by supporting mobile video collaboration, and, of course, to deploy collaboration from the ground up within organizations that have not done so. (See table, Collaboration Providers' Mobile Video Options.)
The global workforce has gone mobile and end users now expect to be able to connect to their companies' collaboration tools from mobile devices. To that point, 34 percent of respondents to a March 2013 survey fielded by Wainhouse Research for Polycom Inc., said they access video conferencing from a tablet, while another third (33 percent) said they do so from a smartphone.
September 2013 research from Gartner Inc. paints a similar picture. Over the next three to five years, the research firm said businesses will use mobile collaboration to empower workers, make them more productive and engage customers in better interactions. Plus, Gartner expects most collaboration applications will be equally available on desktops, mobile phones, tablets and browsers by 2016.
"In the past, collaboration on mobile devices meant interaction through wireless messaging and voice calls," said Monica Basso, research vice president at Gartner. "Today, smartphones and tablets have larger screens, touch-based user interfaces, location support, broad network connectivity, enhanced cameras and video support, voice over IP, and so on. Such features enable a range of applications — both traditional and new — for employees to better communicate, collaborate, socialize, create and consume content."
This all adds up to a global enterprise video market that is expected to grow from $11.21 billion in 2013 to $35.57 billion in 2018, for a compound annual growth rate of 25.9 percent, according to an August 2013 forecast from MarketsandMarkets.
Collaboration suppliers say 2014 is the year of opportunity for channel partners. "A lot of organizations spent time evaluating offerings and the market in 2012 and 2013," said Mark Cray, executive vice president of global sales and market for AGT, a provider of managed and cloud video solutions. "Now that we know mobile and the consumerization of IT have made their mark in the business world, adoption [of mobile video collaboration] will only increase."