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Gartner video conferencing Magic Quadrant highlights remote work

Video meetings are increasingly important as the workforce grows more distributed and joins meetings from personal devices, according to the 'Magic Quadrant for Meeting Solutions.'

The trend of more dispersed workforces is driving new ways of collaborating and communicating across locations. Increasingly, employees prefer to use video meeting platforms rather than having in-person meetings. By 2024, only 25% of meetings will take place in person -- down from 60% today -- according to the latest Gartner "Magic Quadrant for Meeting Solutions."

"We're seeing a significant rise in the importance and adoption of meetings technology to support a distributed workforce," said Mike Fasciani, Gartner analyst and co-author of the report.

Enterprise offerings today generally have a consistent user experience across rooms, desks and mobile devices with integrated voice, video, messaging and content sharing. Enterprises are deploying video meeting platforms to support employee engagement, reduce geographic barriers, train remote employees and deliver corporate communications, according to the report.

Video meeting platforms drive distributed workforce engagement

Digital workers prefer to have fewer face-to-face meetings because they have sufficient technology to work from anywhere. Fasciani said meeting platforms provide more engagement with colleagues and customers and have become a "more essential part of communications culture" than traditional enterprise telephony.

Users without dedicated desks prefer to work remotely, and younger workers use meeting software more from their desk and laptops rather than from meeting rooms, according to the Gartner video conferencing Magic Quadrant.

Users prefer to join meetings from their personal work devices because they want to access their work content on their own devices, Fasciani said. The user experience of personal devices is also preferred compared to working with meeting room equipment, where users may lack necessary training or require IT's help.

Employees are also collaborating more with a blend of asynchronous tools, such as messaging, and synchronous tools, such as video. As such, enterprise buyers are seeking converged video meeting platforms that blend asynchronous and synchronous communication by merging team collaboration, social networking and customer relationship management tools, according to the report.

Supporting informal and formal meetings

Organizations with complex needs typically use separate meeting services for informal and formal collaboration, often buying from more than one vendor, the report found.

Cloud office suites like Microsoft Office 365 and Google G Suite are gaining popularity in organizations looking to address more informal collaboration needs.

These informal sessions include users within an organization or on a team who work together regularly in the context of cloud office suites, such as document collaboration. Cloud office suites also provide the blend of synchronous and asynchronous collaboration that users demand.

"For some of the businesses I speak with, most of them report 40% to 60% of their meeting workloads fit that internal, informal meeting scenario," Fasciani said.

For more formal meeting needs, such as marketing, training and customer engagement, organizations often prefer more purpose-built services, such as Zoom or Cisco Webex.

Addressing two enterprise buyers

Meeting service vendors sell to two types of enterprise buyers: IT and lines of business. IT tends to gravitate toward audio-video services for horizontal use cases and broader unified communications goals. Line-of-business buyers seek meeting services for specific use cases.

Fasciani said having a portfolio of meeting services is standard for larger enterprises with more than 2,500 users.

"The large enterprise segments are pretty used to managing multivendor environments and will allow lines of business to choose services that work best for them," he said.

Smaller businesses, on the other hand, tend to lack the bandwidth or necessity for multiple meeting services. They normally standardize on one product and focus on ease of use and cost savings, according to the report.

In the Gartner video conferencing Magic Quadrant report, Cisco, Microsoft, Zoom Video Communications Inc. and LogMeIn were named market leaders. Google and Adobe were named challengers, while Pexip, Blue Jeans Network, StarLeaf and Lifesize were named visionaries. Huawei Technologies, Enghouse Systems, TrueConf, PGi, Avaya and ZTE were named niche players.

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