The Globe™ for Real-Time Collaboration, 2013

Author: Jim Lundy
Date: June 25, 2013
Topic: Collaboration
Research Note Number: 2013-22


Issue: Who are the collaboration and communication providers and how will they navigate a crowded market?

Summary: The 2013 Aragon Research Globe for Real-Time Collaboration examines 15 providers in web and video conferencing. Video-enabled meetings are here and they are increasingly being managed via real-time and hybrid clouds.


Introduction

The need to meet and work with people in different locations is getting more critical in a digital era. Business is inherently distributed, dispersed and real-time, and high levels of collaboration are central to the enterprise imperative to improve and to innovate. Video delivery is getting less expensive, and quality is going up.  The race to offer an integrated experience is an area of focus that is needed as enterprises begin to embed real-time meetings into other collaboration platforms.

The Aragon Research Globe for Real-Time Collaboration evaluates providers that can allow people to meet online in a variety of meeting formats. Historically video conferencing and web conferencing have been evaluated separately. Today, enterprises want a reliable solution and many are will to go to extreme lengths to find something that works reliably.

Web Conferencing Collides with Video Conferencing

For most of its history, web conferencing focused on slide sharing with audio. However, web video is now more popular and web-conferencing providers now offer video conferencing. Many of them offer “good enough” video, and enterprises should evaluate them as alternatives to dedicated systems. They may work well without a dedicated carrier network, particularly when limited to a small number of users, typically 10 or fewer.

Today we see increasing interoperability between traditional web conferencing and video conferencing. The lines have blurred, and our emphasis in this real-time collaboration Globe is the converged segment that is rapidly forming.

Even without dedicated devices and networks, nearly any type of interpersonal connection can now include video. Users expect it in IM and chat systems; it’s becoming an integral part of the Android and Apple mobile ecosystems; in business, the movement to integrate collaboration and social connectivity – including video – into business applications is driving additional demand.

The growth of video web conferencing is driven by these and other trends, as well as by maturing technology: especially the codecs, which help solve performance and bandwidth issues, and the powerful chips now being used in phones, tablets and laptops.


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