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Businesses replacing phone calls with video meeting platforms

Organizations are dropping their audio conferencing services in favor of video meeting platforms as they consolidate overlapping features and seek integrated communications.

The modern workplace, especially during the pandemic, is increasingly built around collaboration tools, such as meeting applications that integrate voice, video conferencing and screen sharing. More than 91% of organizations are using such apps now, and more than 61% adopted a new meeting app specifically to support working from home, according to Nemertes' recent "Visual Communications and Collaboration 2020-21 Research Study" of 528 organizations.

As more people realize the value of using video to improve meeting experiences, it stands to reason that the long-awaited age of video -- promised since the debut of the AT&T Picturephone at the 1964 World's Fair -- may have finally arrived.

Already, 42% of multiparty meetings within an organization -- and 43% of external ones -- are held on video meeting platforms instead of audio-only conferencing bridges. By the end of 2021, more than 53% of internal and external calls will take place using a meeting platform rather than a plain old audio conferencing bridge or service.

The same shift is hitting one-to-one phone calling as well. Currently, 35% of internal phone calls and 37% of external ones are now conducted using a meeting platform. This is expected to rise to 45% and 46%, respectively, by the end of 2021.

Meeting services are increasingly converging with team collaboration apps, which enables users to escalate a group chat or one-on-one conversation to a video meeting with a simple click, rather than placing a call in another app. Adding a meeting URL to a scheduled meeting is also relatively simple given the calendar integrations now available from most meeting vendors. Using scheduling apps, like Calendly, to prearrange calls with an embedded meeting link can also save users from the back and forth of finding a commonly available meeting time.

By the end of 2021, more than 53% of internal and external calls will take place using a meeting platform rather than a plain old audio conferencing bridge or service.

Cutting costs by migrating to video meeting platforms

Shifting from direct phone calling or voice-only audio conferencing to a meetings platform can save a large organization millions of dollars annually. About 24% of organizations have simply dropped audio conferencing services, once meeting tools can fulfill those functions, in pursuit of savings.

Furthermore, 21% of study participants said using a video meeting platform reduces the length of meetings by nearly 32% compared with those using just an audio conference or audio conferencing in conjunction with a screen-sharing app. Additionally, 33% of participants said adopting a meeting app leads to measurable cost savings by eliminating redundant services or using the internet to join meetings rather than expensive international calling services.

With respect to productivity, Nemertes' research has shown many organizations find both collaboration and sales work better with video and web meetings. Nearly a quarter of participants found video leads to revenue increases by an average of $334,000. More broadly, 54% said using a meeting platform provides measurable increases in productivity.

Meeting platforms simplify collaboration

People who spend more time working in a meeting platform will prefer to use the same tool for chat than switch to another service or device when video or screen sharing isn't strictly necessary. Working from home highlights this issue, since many people did not take a work phone home or found their office desk phone doesn't sound as good over a home VPN connection as it did on a wired LAN connection in the office.

Nemertes expects integrated communications experiences centered on collaboration and meeting platforms to continue to draw traffic away from plain telephony and audio conferencing-only services. When using a newer tool is simpler from the user perspective and able to offer a richer communications experience, there is little downside for users. When costs can be reduced, productivity improved and revenues increased, there is little downside for enterprises.

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