No matter what industry you’re operating in, you’re probably noticing that the landscape is shifting quicker than ever before. With disruptive change taking place across practically every sector, it’s never been more important for businesses to deliver, to adapt and to retain a strong position as competitors begin to nip at their heels.
So just how are some of the world’s most successful brands delivering, adapting, and staying competitive? Through improved communications. Gaining a competitive edge is cited as one of the top benefits of holding meetings, with effective communications facilitating innovative and creative working environments. However, there are a number of challenges when it comes to getting the right people together, in the right place, at the right time, generating an obstacle when it comes to staying competitive. Enter video conferencing.
What are Video Conference Tools?
Video conferencing tools enable real time, face-to-face communications regardless of geographical location. Utilising two-way transmission technologies that enable both audio and visual content to be uploaded and downloaded instantaneously, businesses can hold digital, online meetings with key participants even if those participants are not in the same room, the same building, the same country, or even the same time zone.
Exploring the Market
The global video conferencing market has grown significantly in recent years. In 2018 the market was worth $3.02 billion, Experts predict that this will grow substantially and could be worth anywhere from $6.37 billion to $10.34 billion by 2026. Some experts are even more positive about the potential for growth in this sector, suggesting that the market could be worth a staggering $20 billion by 2024. Could this rate of growth be achievable?
It’s entirely possible. It’s important to remember that much of the research that has been carried out into the future of video conferencing was undertaken prior to the COVID-19 outbreak and widespread work-from-home orders. The major global shift to remote working caused by this will likely have a significant impact on these figures, with the rise in video conferencing potentially being even greater than initially anticipated.
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What’s Driving Market Growth?
An increasing number of video conferencing providers are entering the market and creating an ever growing and ever strengthening competitive landscape. But what’s the driving force behind this rapid growth? Here are just some of the major drivers:
- Organisational Efficiency – Prior to COVID-19, remote working was already on its way to becoming the new norm. In 2019, it was reported that 61% of businesses around the world had implemented remote working policies, with team members dispersed geographically and creating a need for video conferencing.
- Cost – Businesses maintain a competitive advantage by offering more for customers while simultaneously minimising costs. One of the most effective ways to reduce costs in the age of communication is through eliminating the need for travel. Video conferencing does this without impacting decision making.
- Globalisation – Business growth isn’t just happening nationally; it’s taking place on an international scale. In the tech industry especially, it’s reported that 85% of those in the UK and US plan to expand into cross-border operations. Global business means global teams. And that means global digital communications.
- Technology Advancement – As new technologies are being developed, video conferencing tools are becoming increasingly complex and diverse, finding solutions to multiple business challenges and increasing their value to customers. For example, facial recognition in video conferencing is boosting market growth.
- Network Improvement – With the rollout of 5G technology, video conferencing has become more user-friendly than ever before. Superfast networks are facilitating the use of tools that are able to keep up with increasing demands and capacities, powering the future of the video conferencing landscape.
- COVID-19 – Of course, COVID-19 has been a major driver of market growth. Work-from-home orders have created geographically dispersed workforces and heightened the need for digital collaboration. Many businesses have adopted video conferencing technologies following the pandemic for business continuity.
While demand for video conferencing tools is being driven by companies taking a closer look at their competitors and striving to gain a competitive edge, the competitive landscape itself is maintained by video conferencing businesses doing the same thing: they’re analysing competitors to constantly shift the industry leader board.
For example, new market entrants are closely monitoring the pricing strategies of established players to generate entry-level tiers to boost market penetration. Similarly, entrepreneurs are paying close attention to what types of tools are succeeding at attracting funding, and are tailoring their offerings to mimic thriving industry segments.
“In the current environment, with all the entrepreneurs and capital looking for the next great idea, each start-up success story immediately blooms a field of new start-ups chasing after them. Once a start-up raises a big growth round or has an impressive exit, in two to three quarters, you’ll see rounds of funding for similar new companies.” ~ Craig Hanson, Co-Founder of San Francisco-based NextWorld Capital.
Former CEO and founder of Intel, Andy Grove, published a book titled ‘Only the Paranoid Survive’, referencing the competitive landscape within the rapidly shifting tech industry. Grove claims that businesses operating within highly competitive sectors need to constantly be analysing and keeping track of the competition; they need to be paranoid about new market entrants in order to maintain a competitive position.
And it seems he’s not wrong. According to reports, the average S&P 500 business in the 1950s could expect to maintain its strong industry position for 60 years. Today, these businesses can expect just 20 years at the top of their game before they’re knocked off the leader board by their competitors. The landscape of video conference tools is becoming even more competitive, and it’s an industry that’s definitely worth watching.
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