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Video Conferencing Use to Rise for SMEs in 2014

March 03, 2014

Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) now more than ever have opportunities to expand their horizons and provide their products and services to a global marketplace. In the past, this required very costly travel to these destinations, but today information and communications technology (ICT) is making it possible for SMEs to interact with anyone at very affordable price points. One of the fastest growing communications solutions making this possible is video conferencing (VC). A new generation of VC technology provides so many solutions, the need to travel for business meeting is no longer necessary.

A new survey by Ignite Research for O2 of Ireland revealed respondents in its survey are increasingly using VC to communicate with each other and they expect an increase in 2014.

The growth of VC is primarily being driven by low price points currently available to businesses of any size, including one-person operations. As Web RTC also becomes more readily available, it will introduce free or freemium VC services that can be accessed on any browser with an Internet connection, regardless of the device.

Another driver in the industry is the increased number of at-home workers who can perform their tasks effectively outside the office, thanks to readily available broadband connectivity, affordable computing solutions and the willingness for businesses to allow their employees to perform their duties from home.

According to the survey 44 percent of employees in Ireland work from home at least one day a month, and 45 percent of workers who work remotely expect most of business communications in the next five years will be from outside the office.

While there are many benefits to working at home, a downside addressed by the survey was increased weight gain because of the readily available foods and snacks in the home. Thirty percent admitted they eat more sometimes, while 12 percent said they snacked more all the time; an issue that will undoubtedly create opportunities in the fitness and weight loss industry.

"There is an acceleration in remote working, as our own survey has highlighted, and secondly, we are seeing increased availability of low-cost, business-quality videoconferencing products,” said Alan Brown, business director, O2 Ireland. “Technologies that were previously only available to large-scale organizations because of cost, quality or IT infrastructure support are now accessible to start-ups, sole traders and SMEs. These days you don’t even need a traditional office."

The Ingite Research survey was commissioned by O2 Ireland and conducted through an Omnibus survey of 1,000 people ages 18 and up with a follow-up survey of 300 employees who work at least one day a month from home.

Edited by Alisen Downey