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Webconferencing Gartner Essay

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Magic Quadrant for Web Conferencing
Gartner RAS Core Research Note G001669297, David Mario Smith, 29 July 2009, RA1 07302010

Demand from line of business units is forcing IT departments to take a more strategic look at Web conferencing products and
This document was revised on 31 July 2009. For more information, see the Corrections page on
The demand for Web conferencing has increased due to economic pressures and recent enterprise concerns and mandates about reducing travel costs. Web conferencing tools are perhaps one of the easiest to measure from a return on investment (ROI) perspective. It is fairly easy to determine potential cost savings from travel reduction in replacing faceto-face meetings with Web conferencing. However, the benefits include more than just travel reduction. Web conferencing enables real-time interactive information sharing with use cases ranging from team collaboration to training and support. As the market continues to consolidate, with acquisitions such as InterCall’s purchase of Genesys in 2008, larger vendors will continue to grow their market share at the expense of the many smaller vendors which still crowd the enterprise market. Infrastructure vendors like IBM and Microsoft will position their own Web conferencing offerings as the “default” options for those who buy their respective unified communications and collaboration (UCC) platforms. It will cause an increase in on-premises deployments, leading to a hybrid model where we will see the on-premises product used for smaller internal meetings and the software-as-a-service (SaaS) offering for larger meetings or those with a mixture of internal and external participants. Enterprise decisions on Web conferencing have to align the types of meetings to be supported and the number of participants (internal, external or both) with the appropriate deployment option for specific meetings.

There will be a shift in the way online meetings are conducted in future, with things like virtual meeting that use human-controlled Avatars emerging. As economic pressures are leading companies to move some of their larger conferences and events to virtual events, we are seeing a growing interest in large conferencing event providers like InXpo, ON24, Accordent and Unisfair. The offerings from these vendors overlap with those from traditional Web conferencing vendors that are now offering support for larger events.

Strategic Planning Assumption(s)
By 2011, Web conferencing will be available to 75% of corporate users as a standard facility, alongside e-mail, presence, calendaring, IM and other collaborative facilities. By 2011, 40% of all Web conferences will be operated using on-premises deployments. By 2011, 60% of companies using Web conferencing will acquire this capability as part of a larger suite of applications.


Figure 1. Magic Quadrant for Web Conferencing

Market Overview

Due to global economic challenges, interest
in Web conferencing has been at an all time
high as companies look to cut costs. While
the benefits of Web conferencing are obvious,
there is still a huge market opportunity to
tap into a large portion of enterprise users
who still have not used it. Penetration rates
are increasing, though. There are various
aspects and meeting types that fall under
Web conferencing, including, webinars,
online meetings, messaging and audio


ability to execute

Web conferencing products are real-time
collaboration tools that support interactions
over a network between participants in
multiple meeting formats. The primary
justification for Web conferencing is the cost
savings and benefits from business travel
reductions. When meeting participants cannot
travel because of security or other individual
or environmental reasons, Web conferencing
is used to facilitate important meetings that
would not be possible in person. Increasing
environmental concerns and initiatives for
“green” IT are also leading organizations to
Web conferencing. Some vendors provide
green calculators to enable companies
to track the amount by which travel was
reduced and the carbon dioxide emissions
prevented by not traveling. The market
for Web conferencing, teaming and social
software will grow at a compound annual
growth rate of more than 20% through.




Citrix Online
Elluminate Saba

Premiere Global Services

niche players


completeness of vision
As of July 2009

Source: Gartner (July 2009)

The following is the minimum set of functions that needs to be included in a Web conferencing product for inclusion in this report: • Presentation delivery: All participants can see an online presentation (usually delivered by Microsoft PowerPoint),

which is under the control of one participant designated as the presenter.
• Desktop or application sharing: All participants can see, but not directly interact with or modify, the presenter’s desktop or a specific application on the presenter’s system. Some
Web conferencing products deliver presentations by sharing

a presentation application, rather than using embedded
presentation facilities.
• Text chat: Participants can exchange real-time text messages with other participants or the presenter using an instant
messaging (IM)-like interface.
• Shared whiteboard: A meeting participant can add annotations – that can be viewed by all – by typing or drawing on a specific whiteboard application, or on top of a presentation or shared application window.

The Magic Quadrant is copyrighted July 2009 by Gartner, Inc. and is reused with permission. The Magic Quadrant is a graphical representation of a marketplace at and for a specific time period. It depicts Gartner’s analysis of how certain vendors measure against criteria for that marketplace, as defined by Gartner. Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in the Magic Quadrant, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors placed in the “Leaders” quadrant. The Magic Quadrant is intended solely as a research tool, and is not meant to be a specific guide to action. Gartner disclaims all warranties, express or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose. © 2009 Gartner, Inc. and/or its Affiliates. All Rights Reserved. Reproduction and distribution of this publication in any form without prior written permission is forbidden. The information contained herein has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable. Gartner disclaims all warranties as to the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of such information. Although Gartner’s research may discuss legal issues related to the information technology business, Gartner does not provide legal advice or services and its research should not be construed or used as such. Gartner shall have no liability for errors, omissions or inadequacies in the information contained herein or for interpretations thereof. The opinions expressed herein are subject to change without notice.

• Basic security: Encrypted data transfer and passwordprotected meetings.

• Mobility: Specific support for mobile phones and PDAs, such as the iPhone and BlackBerry devices.

• Remote control: Useful for technical support. It gives one participant control of applications or the desktop on another system.

Users have three deployment options for these applications:

Increasingly, Web-conferencing products are being augmented by more-advanced, optional features, such as:
• Integrated public switched telephone network audio: Users can dial into an audioconferencing bridge that is linked into the Web conference. Participants can “see” who is speaking and presenters can control individual phone connections (for example, they can mute them or give presenter rights).

• Integrated voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) audio: To remove or reduce the need for telephone-based audio, some
products can use a PC’s speaker and microphone (or...

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