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Video Conferencing Market during COVID-19

To say that the COVID-19 pandemic has changed life as we know it is already an overused statement. However, it is hard to argue with the sentiment. Markets are currently defined by loss and uncertainty. Growth outlooks for many economic sectors have been slashed. The petroleum, chemical, and gas industry are one of those who have seen losses and negative outlooks. Many are predicting the end of the airline industry as we know it. This prediction may be made far too early to be taken too seriously. What of the video conferencing market for the year 2020?

Early Gains

The video conferencing market is by no means in the same boat as the above two examples. The opposite is true. Early in February when the COVID-19 storm was in its infancy one provider saw a surge of 15% in its stock price. Analysts say that the company could potentially double its value by the time the storm blows over. The company may have taken a knock with concerns regarding privacy in recent weeks but overall the industry has seen new levels of growth driven by increased demand. The increased demand has been driven by the need for corporations to find remote working solutions as large portions of staff are forced to work remotely.

Financial Outlook

While companies are scrambling to lock down a reliable video conference tool to continue operations no matter how reduced they may be Fortune Business Insights published a report detailing the outlook for the industry as a whole. In 2018 the global video conferencing market was valued just over 3 billion dollars. This is estimated to more than double to 6.37 billion dollars by 2026. This would mean that the compound annual growth of the industry is estimated to grow by 9.8% annually.

Trends Driving Growth

The pandemic may certainly be responsible for stock values increasing but it is only part of the picture. Companies within the industry are expected to provide a greater audio and visual experience. One of the major gripes companies have with video conferencing is the bad video and audio disrupting meetings. Disrupted or canceled meetings may result in losses or deadlines been missed, it is little wonder it is the biggest complaint the video conferencing industry contends with.

The development of better audio and visual technologies will help eliminate this problem if adopted correctly. Another technology that will help the industry overcome traditional obstacles is artificial intelligence. Already we are seeing technologies incorporating AI in order to transcribe audio and provide metrics on attendee engagement. Machine learning algorithms can further be used to reduce background noise in the near future.

Becoming Commonplace

Even before the current crisis, it was increasingly becoming commonplace for companies to adopt a video conferencing tool. It was estimated that the use of such tools grew by 800% in four years and 70% of the current workforce works remotely for at least one day a week. Given the current crisis, this is only expected to rise. Even if usage spikes over this period, as it certainly has done, employers will see a new way to conduct meetings and likely implement tools more widely moving forward even after the crisis has passed. Benefits like reduced travel costs, higher engagement during meetings, and increased productivity will be seen for many companies when the dust settles.

Conclusion

The positive outlook for the video conferencing industry started long before the current pandemic. While temporary growth in terms of stock price may be grabbing headlines the growth pattern was already in place. The current crisis has driven demand and greater adoption of conferencing tools and this has certainly led to short term benefits as well as challenges that increased demand creates. The industry does have challenges to overcome in terms of providing a better experience free of nagging problems but as companies need to future-proof operations video conferencing will increasingly become a tool to assist in that goal.  

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