Surge in use of videoconferencing by SMEs predicted for 2014

28 Feb 2014

Just 18pc of Irish SMEs currently use videoconferencing, but more than a third of workers who work from home at least one day a month predict videoconferencing will increase over the next 18 months.

A survey for O2 Ireland by Ignite Research has identified the biggest growth area in business communications over the next 18 months will be email from tablets and smartphones.

Almost half of respondents (48pc) expect this to increase. Email from the desktop is currently the most favoured form of communications, used by 69pc, but one in 10 (11pc) expect this to fall.

Communications with colleagues and customers through social media sites, such as Twitter or Facebook, is second last in the league table of expected business communications growth areas, according to the O2 survey. Just more than one in five (21pc) expect this to rise, with 13pc anticipating a decline.

Alan Brown, business director, O2 Ireland, said he believes the trend towards videoconferencing is being driven by two factors.

“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.”

o2 survey

Brown added that enterprise-class videoconferencing is now accessible to even the smallest one-person company or SME because of its availability as a low-cost cloud computing application.

O2 recently launched a new business videoconferencing option called Spontania for small businesses and SMEs as part of its digital solution suite of cloud services.

“We have entered an exciting new era with the democratisation of business communications technology in Ireland,” Brown added.

“Technologies that were previously only available to large-scale organisations 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.”

Videoconferencing image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years