LONDON, December 1 /PRNewswire/ -- As companies look for ways to reduce their travel expenses while maintaining their productivity levels, web conferencing is becoming an engrossing topic in the European market. Hosted services are the dominant model in delivering web conferencing services to customers, as significant reduction in companies' capital expenditure (CAPEX) has spurred growth across the enterprise communication sector. Hosted services have gained popularity, as they do not require expensive in-house maintenance and upgrades.
New analysis from Frost Sullivan (http://www.conferencing.frost.com), European Hosted Web Conferencing Services Market, finds that the market earned revenues of US$162.6 million in 2008 and estimates this to reach US$657.1 million in 2014, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 26.2 per cent.
The global recession and stringent environmental laws introduced by the European Parliament in 2008 are driving organisations to reduce their travel expenses and comply with 'green' policies, says Frost Sullivan Research Analyst Iwona Petruczynik. Web conferencing services certainly help in achieving these objectives.
The hosted web conferencing services segment grew at 14.9 per cent from 2007 to 2008, mainly due to growing awareness about web conferencing and greater penetration among vertical, small, and medium businesses (SMBs). More mature markets such as Germany, France and the United Kingdom are likely to continue exhibiting an overall high demand for web conferencing having high awareness of this tool, a well-developed infrastructure and boast the presence of several global companies. Markets like Italy, Spain, or Ireland, where conferencing services have been present for some time now, and emerging markets such as Poland and Hungary, where these services are only gaining in popularity will see an expansion as they continue to adopt and implement web-based technologies.
In the past, web conferencing was perceived as difficult to use, with many SMBs regarding it as out of their reach. This outlook has significantly influenced the growth rate of these services in the SMB sector. However, with new, integrated solutions presently entering the market, this situation is changing; web conferencing is becoming more affordable.
Additionally, the unceasing globalisation and the increasing virtualisation of work are boosting the growth of web conferencing services in Europe. Rising interest in Web 2.0 technologies -- such as wikis, blogs and social networking sites - in the enterprise sector is also changing the communication models between businesses.
Despite the positive outlook for web conferencing services in Europe, the market is faced with challenges such as intensifying competition, escalating pricing pressure and general low awareness on web conferencing services, especially in the Central and Eastern European (CEE) region. Furthermore, poor infrastructure and low penetration of the SMB market in Europe is also hindering the mainstream adoption of web conferencing.
The entry of big, global web conferencing services vendors such as Cisco and Microsoft into the European market is likely to threaten the smaller regional participants, notes Petruczynik. These local independent providers are responding by offering more competitively priced services which, in turn, will impel the larger vendors to lower prices.
Web conferencing services providers also have to deal with a highly fragmented European market. There is a considerable need for language integration and support, as many workers do not speak English - in which most services are supported. Additionally, a preference for conducting face-to-face meetings, especially among business people in the CEE region, is delaying the rapid growth of web conferencing services in this region.
Web conferencing services providers aiming to expand their presence in the European market should ensure they are one step ahead of their customers in offering new and enhanced services. For instance, the growing popularity of Web 2.0 tools as well as instant messaging in the enterprise area is creating opportunities for web conferencing services providers to incorporate these tools into their services.
For example, Web 2.0 tools in the large economies of Germany, France, and the United Kingdom are finding their way into enterprise sectors at a much faster rate than in the CEE countries, concludes Petruczynik. Web conferencing services providers should customise their marketing strategies and their product offerings to take these conditions into account.
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European Hosted Web Conferencing Services Market M460 - 64 Contact: Joanna Lewandowska Corporate Communications - Europe P: +48-22-390-41-46 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
SOURCE: Frost SOURCE: Sullivan
CONTACT: Joanna Lewandowska of Frost Sullivan Corporate Communications -Europe, +48-22-390-41-46, email@example.com