Video Conferencing Is Not Your Competitive Advantage

Saying “we’ve replaced travel throughout our entire organization with video conferencing” used to mean something. Just like saying “we’ve improved product time to market” and “we’ve improved communication efficiency overall”. But, statements like that these are now met with a blank stare, or an awkwardly unimpressed “Oh, isn’t that nice”.

Long gone are the days when video technology (dedicated hardware) from the leading vendors was sold on the basic principle of competitive advantage. Your competitors have probably been using video for a while, but what you don’t know is just by how much it’s growing. Collaboration technology has grown and scaled to nearly total pervasiveness across large organizations and here’s exactly how it’s happening.

The Age of Information

In our research of millions of video conferencing minutes across multiple industries with multi-vendor video environments (eg. Cisco, Polycom, Vidyo, Pexip, Acano), we have learned a lot about video usage. One of the general truths, and insights that we recently verified with data, was that the “Age of Information” has helped drive tremendous growth in the video collaboration market. Demand for video usage in technology and consulting industries has driven annual usage above the typical median by nearly 4x. These industries often have a large user base of knowledge workers or early adopters. Two examples:

1.) They’re often early adopters of all technologies especially collaboration, and they have large enough IT budgets to keep them on the cutting edge of communication and well, just about everything you can think of.

2.) Their work requires sharing information (ie. consulting) which means the highest quality communication technology is expected in order to deliver the highest quality services.

This expectation of high-quality communication can be contributed to The Age of Information, where sharing information fast has become easier to access due to its increased importance. Today more of us are connected than ever before and many rely on sharing information as a part of their livelihood.

Top Industries Using Video

In our research of our 60 organizations, we have identified the top 6 industries using the most video collaboration on an annual basis. Who made the top 10%?

1.) Technology

2.) Consulting

3.) Legal

4.) Healthcare

5.) Financial

6.) Higher Education

What two things do nearly all of these video power players have in common? Their either a technology early adopter, or sharing information is a core function of the product or service that they offer.

Growth and Scale of Video

The easiest explanation for the claim that video is no longer a competitive advantage is that video has scaled, and is now beyond the point of early adoption. You can bet that most of your competitors, partners, customers and opportunities are already using video. For SMB’s there still might be a few competitors that have legacy comms, do to the fact that videoconferencing hardware is traditionally known for being too expensive, requiring a lot of upfront capital and service. But for large organizations, video conferencing has been around for a while, and is now reaching a point of democratization across the organization. Those with only legacy communication systems are playing catch up at this point.

Our data shows that it’s probably easier to catch up now than ever before.

Over the last two years, video collaboration software growth outperformed hardware growth (291% vs. 128% growth from 2013-2015). You always hear about how video collaboration software clients and cloud-based UC platforms are easier to deploy and scale in the enterprise. But for many of these enterprises, hardware is still not dead, in fact far from it. There are tons of articles online, that will argue that the video hardware market is becoming stagnant (projections at 2.1% CAGR), but is this for a majority of SMB’s, or large organizations?


Our data from a sample set of mostly large organization (49% with over 10,000 employees) shows that hardware video usage is growing year over year – at 128% from 2013. Contrary to popular belief, it appears the need for high quality video systems is not disappearing, and conferencing rooms are by no means underutilized. Though to make this claim confidently I will need more evidence which is why I’m excited to see what our next round of research shows when we dive deeper into this.