Internet, Cloud, and Mobile have changed the way people work and live today. So much so that work is no longer a place that people go to, it’s what they do regardless of location. An increasing part of today’s workforce are digital natives- they want the flexibility to connect from any device, any location, and they expect that experience to be no different from meeting in person.
They also prefer a collaborative work culture which helps them to get the work done at any time, effortlessly. According to a commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Prysm highlights that 83 per cent of information workers want the right collaboration tools which can help them be productive regardless of location and time.
Being fully aware of this change, organizations are also increasingly embracing mobile workforce and a remote work culture. As physical workplaces are gradually melting away in this process, and are getting replaced by an agile digital workplace, organizations are relying more on collaboration tools to stay productive, regardless of the employees’ locations.
Collaboration has also emerged as a cost-saving solution increasing productivity.
Collaboration is an umbrella term for a number of communications tools such as a phone call, sharing an email or doing an audio or video conference, a chat-messaging tool, and working together on a whiteboard. Today’s enterprises require collaboration solutions that can be easily tailored to each employee’s specific work-style and preferences.
According to a study by MarketsandMarkets, the enterprise collaboration market was valued at USD 30.40 Billion in 2017 and is projected to reach USD 59.86 Billion by 2023, at a CAGR of 11.6 per cent during the forecast period. Like the global collaboration market, India also has been growing steadily year-over-year mainly due to growing internet penetration in the country.
The democratization of collaboration tools in India is primarily driven by the growing 4G network connectivity. Besides this, aligning with the government commitment towards Digital India, users in the banking and other PSUs, education sector, and the government are also investing in collaboration tools and solutions.
Cloud-based collaboration solutions are also getting popular among the small and medium-sized organizations, as these solutions are easy to deploy, are agile, and they provide more scalability functions than on-premises solutions at an affordable cost without the headache of upgrading the hardware, software, storage as well as the maintenance cost of it.
Another major trend is the increasing use of video in the collaboration is gaining momentum among all the users. Although voice still remains the primary means of communication, but the market is moving progressively towards video-based collaboration over the coming years.
On the basis of deployment, the video-conferencing market is segmented into on-premise, hosted, managed, and cloud. Although on-premise solutions have been dominating the collaboration market, cloud-based video conferencing is anticipated to surpass on-premise segment in terms of growth rate.
Some of the key players in the enterprise collaboration market in India are Cisco, Polycom(part of Plantronics now), Microsoft, Vidyo, Mitel, Avaya, Prysm, Slack, Flock, Workplace by Facebook, etc.
India remains a priority market for Polycom, and it has enjoyed positive growth in the past year. “We are focused on helping government and private sector customers accelerate their digital transformation journey with our high-quality video, voice and content sharing solutions. We have won many prestigious projects in the government and private sector last year. Additionally, factors such as government initiatives towards Digital India, end users investing towards the deployment of unified communication solutions, predominantly Ministries of India, banking institutions and educational institutions, have led to the growth of the collaboration market in the country,” said the company.
Another key player in this segment, Mitel, which is known for its Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) continues to grow its install base and cloud capabilities with the acquisition of Shoretel in 2017. “During this year we have launched a number of innovations that support a key strategy of ‘Cloud-Enable Everything We Sell’ which includes CloudLink that as a bridge to Cloud and the partnership with Google to bring artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities into our contact centre solutions, said Anurag Kumar, MD & VP –Sales, India & Bangladesh.
GB Kumar, VP, APAC, Prysm, a key player in large-format interactive touchscreen display and cloud-based, visual collaboration solution, said, “Looking at the statistics, the global collaboration as a market is expected to double by 2020 and India will be an important part of this growth. We are now increasing our focus on banking, finance, Smart Cities/Command and Control Centre implementations and Indian top 1000 companies. Manufacturing, IT services and banking are the three key verticals for us here in India. We have now started to engage with the public sector as well. The differentiating factor for us is that we are able to integrate our truly unique, large-format, immersive display technology into an equally unique and seamless collaboration software. At the same time, we are able to protect our customers’ existing investments by supporting any third-party display/ application that they might be using for collaboration.”
The next wave of growth in the enterprise collaboration will come from the digital workplace and the innovations which will help teams across the globe to create, share and save projects by combining applications, content, live sources, video and the web in an immersive touch interactive canvas and most importantly, doing them in an intelligent manner.
AI, AR, VR technologies can be incredibly useful for enterprise collaboration. For example, Cisco’s new addition to the suite of Webex collaboration tools is Webex Assistant, an artificial intelligence tool for better meeting management. Users give voice commands to get calls started, to find people in the directory, and control volume levels.
Another such example is Polycom EagleEye Director II, a smart HD video-conferencing camera which frames and zooms in on active speakers to facilitate a more natural conversation among participants, so that meeting participants no longer need to worry about managing the meeting using cumbersome remote controls.
Also, as the demand for more vendor-agnostic infrastructure is likely to grow for future scalability needs, software-based collaboration solutions will increasingly eat into the share of their hardware-based counterparts.