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Magic Quadrant for Meeting Solutions

Published: 18 September 2017 ID: G00320002

Analyst(s):

Summary

Meeting solutions blend communications, collaboration and content to enable real-time group work from anywhere. This report, along with its partner Critical Capabilities research, helps application leaders pursuing digital workplace initiatives find vendors suited to their needs.

Strategic Planning Assumptions

By 2019, WebRTC will be used for 15% of enterprise voice and video communications, up from less than 5% in 2017.

By 2020, 30% of meetings will be facilitated by virtual concierges and advanced analytics.

By 2021, 60% of web conferences will use embedded audio from a web conferencing provider.

Through 2021, on-premises-based videoconferencing infrastructure spending by IT buyers will decline at a compound annual rate of 11%.

Market Definition/Description

Meeting solutions are real-time collaboration tools that support interactions over a network between participants for team work, presentations, training and webinars. Enterprise offerings in this market perform equally well for workers in meeting spaces, at their desks or when mobile, with integrated voice, video, messaging and content sharing. Some vendors segment their product lines to target and scale to one or several of those use cases, while others offer broad solutions that work for each purpose.

Organizations with complex needs will have separate meeting solutions for internal use (for collaboration, learning and internal communication) and for external use (for sales or marketing). They will run products from more than one vendor.

Application leaders deploy meeting solutions in the digital workplace to:

  • Enhance face-to-face meeting activities (for example, with content sharing)

  • Reduce geographic barriers for organizational communication

  • Save time and money by minimizing business travel

  • Train remote participants in multiple locations

Complete meeting solutions enable richness of information and interaction by combining messaging, content and screen sharing, video, and voice. For this research, Gartner has not evaluated the stand-alone, audio-only conferencing market. Meeting solutions in the enterprise can encompass several different methods for addressing audio:

  • Audio can be integrated directly or handled via conferencing services, or via first- or third-party — or a combination of all three.

  • Products often integrate voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) in the browser or software client.

  • A separate telephone bridge is sometimes used for audio, with a callback feature desirable.

Buying Patterns

Historically, enterprise buyers have been from both IT and lines of business (LOBs).

  • LOBs desire support for specific use cases, such as training, HR interviews of candidates, sales acceleration and marketing webinars.

  • IT buyers weigh the audio and video requirements and capabilities for enterprise meeting solutions in assessing purchasing decisions for horizontal use cases, as well as for broader unified communication and collaboration (UCC) goals.

Application leaders face a predominantly cloud-based market for meeting solutions, although buyers still seek hybrid, on-premises, managed service and dedicated service deployment options.

To optimize cost, meeting solution decisions are made in the context of an organization's overall collaboration approach. They also consider investments in cloud office products that have similar capabilities. The impact of meeting solutions on organizations has made sourcing these solutions a strategic decision for most.

Many enterprises choose a tiered approach rather than a single vendor to address all their meeting scenarios.

Trends

Vendors in the meeting solution market respond to the following trends:

  • Preferences for ease of use, simplification of host controls and quick joining to meetings.

  • Blending of asynchronous (messaging, content, scheduling, tasks, recordings) and synchronous (voice, audio, screen sharing) collaboration in persistent rooms or workspaces.

  • Integration of virtual personal assistants (VPAs) that support team collaboration in "smart meetings" (see "Contextualizing Virtual Assistants for More Effective Meetings in the Digital Workplace" ).

  • Feature parity and consistency between mobile, desktop software and conference room systems to allow hosting and participation from any location or context.

  • Equal capability across diverse endpoint types, from browser to commodity webcams and microphones, group video systems, and new endpoint types such as immersive team collaboration systems.

  • Optimization of delivery to enterprise networks — for example, by supporting security via VPN, or broadcast via CDN.

  • Integration with related collaboration investments, including UCC and the cloud office.

  • Pricing models that span a range, from low-end freemium to high-end premium services.

Gartner includes the video as a service (VaaS), cloud-based conferencing, group video systems and premises-based video infrastructure technology areas in the meeting solution market. Per Gartner's "Forecast: Unified Communications, Worldwide, 2014-2021, 1Q17 Update," those segments, which were valued at $5.8 billion in 2014, will grow to $6.5 billion by 2021. The core growth driver in this mix is cloud conferencing, with a CAGR of 6% through 2021.

Another key trend is that the proportion of organizations using embedded audioconferencing that is delivered through their meeting solution provider will rise from 5% in 2015 to 60% in 2021 (see "Forecast: Audioconferencing, Worldwide, 2015-2021" ).

The meeting solution market represents the convergence of the web conferencing and group video system markets (see "In the Digital Workplace, Conferencing Markets Are Evolving Into a Meeting Solution Market" ).

Magic Quadrant

Figure 1. Magic Quadrant for Meeting Solutions
Research image courtesy of Gartner, Inc.

Source: Gartner (September 2017)

Vendor Strengths and Cautions

Adobe

Adobe offers SaaS, on-premises and managed service deployment options for its Adobe Connect product.

Strengths
  • Adobe Connect is suitable for a full range of advanced enterprise use cases that require a persistent digital office space. It benefits from strong partnerships with integrators and from a deep and rich set of APIs, which allow customization and add differentiated value.

  • Adobe's industry strategy comprehensively addresses the specific needs, including
    customization requirements, of the healthcare, finance and education sectors, as well as of government clients in the U.S.

  • Adobe reference customers surveyed for this Magic Quadrant indicated that Adobe Connect demonstrates service consistency and reliability.

Cautions
  • Adobe has fewer licensing and subscription models than other enterprise competitors offer, lacking bundles with other collaboration products or longer-term agreements.

  • Adobe's freemium product, Adobe Connect Meetings for three participants, is new to market and competes with many established competitors that have used the freemium model to drive growth and mind share.

  • Adobe reference customers surveyed for this Magic Quadrant expressed concern about the vendor's pace of innovations and improvements.

Arkadin

Arkadin offers Arkadin Anywhere and Arkadin Vision as SaaS.

Strengths
  • Arkadin has global reach with localized customer service and localized user interfaces, as well as documentation available in 19 languages.

  • Arkadin launched Arkadin Vision in 2017, allowing users to easily join meetings using audio or video from browsers as well as iOS and Android mobile devices.

  • Arkadin reference customers surveyed for this Magic Quadrant indicated that the vendor's audio quality and ease of deployment were compelling strengths.

Cautions
  • Arkadin's meeting solutions lack integration options to address vertical market segment requirements.

  • Arkadin Vision does not yet offer a robust collaboration feature set compared to those of the other vendors in this report, and limits meeting sizes to 50 participants. Arkadin Anywhere limits meeting sizes to 100 participants.

  • Arkadin reference customers surveyed for this Magic Quadrant reported concern about the vendor's customer service and support consistency.

BlueJeans Network

BlueJeans Network offers its BlueJeans meeting solution as SaaS.

Strengths
  • BlueJeans' cloud-based video platform offers simplicity of use and extensive features across meetings, large events and workflow integrations.

  • In addition to UC platform Skype for Business, enterprise social media application Workplace by Facebook, and audio enrichment program Dolby, BlueJeans' interoperability strategy includes multiple WebRTC integrations to allow download-free meeting experiences. This has helped increase the vendor's market presence and relevance.

  • BlueJeans reference customers surveyed for this Magic Quadrant cited ease of use as a significantly positive feature of the vendor's meeting solution.

Cautions
  • BlueJeans sales and service channels are strong in North America and Europe, but are less well developed in South America and Japan.

  • BlueJeans Huddle, its branded room system, consists of components from Logitech, Intel and Dolby. Prospects must be aware of this when comparing BlueJeans to other meeting solution competitors that design, manufacture and sell their own integrated hardware.

  • BlueJeans would serve its customers better if it leveraged more plug-ins, applets or external products within its meeting solution, according to some reference customers.

Cisco

Cisco offers Cisco Spark, Cisco WebEx and Cisco Meeting Server for cloud, on-premises and hybrid deployments, along with a portfolio of endpoints.

Strengths
  • Cisco's product offerings demonstrate the broadest set of features and supported standards, strongest parity between mobile, desktop and meeting rooms, and most significant integrator partnerships of the vendors in this Magic Quadrant.

  • Cisco supports vertical industries more deeply than competitors do, with offerings for customer care, healthcare, financial services, education and the public sector.

  • Cisco reference customers surveyed for this Magic Quadrant identified the vendor's video quality as a compelling strength.

Cautions
  • Cisco's product strategy includes multiple offerings with overlapping functionality, partial interoperability and different feature sets. For some customers, this can make selecting and purchasing more complex relative to competitors with simpler models.

  • Cisco has focused innovation on its own hardware and software, on integration with Apple Watch and Android Wear, and through partnership with Nvidia for AI computing. Competitors have advanced farther in supporting meeting experiences with third-party wearables, augmented reality and virtual reality meetings.

  • Cisco reference customers surveyed for this Magic Quadrant expressed concern about a lack of visibility into the vendor's roadmap.

Google

Google offers Hangouts Meet and Hangouts Chat as SaaS.

Strengths
  • The growth of Google Hangouts is attributable to its presence in Google's G Suite communication and collaboration bundle.

  • Google has improved market awareness of Hangouts with a renewed enterprise focus, re-engineering of a streamlined meeting experience and the release of Jamboard, its digital collaborative whiteboard.

  • Google reference customers surveyed for this Magic Quadrant identified service consistency and reliability as compelling strengths of Google Hangouts.

Cautions
  • Google Hangouts is included with G Suite as part of a horizontal collaboration offering. As such, it has no customization for particular industries.

  • Google supports team meetings with fewer than 50 endpoints. Support for larger meeting scenarios such as learning and training, customer care, and broadcasts is on the roadmap for 2018.

  • Some Google reference customers surveyed for this Magic Quadrant expressed concern about Hangouts and its interoperability with legacy or external meeting solutions.

Huawei

Huawei offers its hardware-based video endpoints and infrastructure for on-premises deployment, and its cloud-based videoconferencing service as SaaS.

Strengths
  • Huawei has an extensive portfolio of hardware-based endpoints and infrastructure that are suitable for a wide range of enterprise meeting use cases and room sizes.

  • With considerable effort invested in vertical industry solutions, Huawei is particularly strong with public safety, education and financial service offerings.

  • The quality of Huawei's video experience impressed the reference customers surveyed for this Magic Quadrant.

Cautions
  • With its public cloud meeting solution commercially released only in June 2017, Huawei trails many of its competitors in the meeting solution space for VaaS-type offers.

  • Huawei has limited presence in North America. Potential buyers should verify that the vendor's service provider partners are able to resell, deploy and support in that region.

  • According to reference customers surveyed for this Magic Quadrant, Huawei needs to improve its integrations with other software applications or services for a more robust meeting solution experience.

LogMeIn

LogMeIn offers GoToMeeting, GoToTraining, GoToWebinar, GoToConference and join.me as SaaS.

Strengths
  • LogMeIn operates meeting solutions that are popular among enterprises and lines of business, and at a scale greater than most of its competitors operate at.

  • LogMeIn satisfies enterprise use cases ranging from small meetings to massive webcasts, without depending on external partners.

  • LogMeIn demonstrates strong global presence and capabilities, according to its reference customers surveyed for this Magic Quadrant.

Cautions
  • LogMeIn's GoToMeeting InRoom Link meeting service, new to market this year, allows connectivity to traditional standards-based room video endpoints, but competes in a field with many mature alternatives.

  • LogMeIn offers different support levels for its meeting solutions: 24/7 support for its GoToMeeting products and 24/5 for join.me, upgradable to 24/7 for an additional fee. Customers must weigh this and plan for it in product selection, even with LogMeIn's 99.99% uptime SLA.

  • LogMeIn reference customers surveyed for this Magic Quadrant reported concerns about its portfolio of endpoint solutions for meeting rooms.

Microsoft

Microsoft offers Skype for Business for hybrid, on-premises, dedicated and managed service deployment. It also offers Skype for Business Online and Microsoft Teams as SaaS, and a dedicated deployment option for U.S. government customers.

Strengths
  • Microsoft supports vertical industries more deeply than most competitors do, with offerings for customer care, healthcare, financial services, education and the public sector.

  • Microsoft's geographic strategy is global and its reach exceeds that of most competitors, enabling sales of and support for its meeting solutions through extensive direct and indirect channels and partnerships.

  • Microsoft reference customers surveyed for this Magic Quadrant identified the vendor's pace of innovations and improvements as compelling strengths.

Cautions
  • Microsoft's product strategy includes multiple offerings with overlapping functionality, partial interoperability and different feature sets. This makes selecting and purchasing more complex relative to competitors with simpler models.

  • Deployments of Skype for Business can rely on applications for edge and media relay and content delivery integrations, as well as the Skype Operations Framework for deeper instrumentation. Buyers must assess the complexity of their application scenarios when selecting one of Microsoft's deployment options.

  • Microsoft provides in-room meeting experiences through Surface Hub and Skype for Business Room Systems via Crestron, Logitech and Polycom. Reference customers struggle with deploying and supporting endpoints provided by alternative room systems due to different user experiences.

PGi

PGi offers SaaS and hybrid deployment models for its iMeet, GlobalMeet and ReadyTalk products. PGi acquired ReadyTalk in February 2017.

Strengths
  • PGi has a robust set of meeting solution capabilities, with a focus on delivering audio quality excellence. This allows it to address a wide variety of use cases and meeting sizes.

  • PGi has a strong global service presence, which makes iMeet and GlobalMeet appealing to large and multinational enterprise accounts. With ReadyTalk it can now effectively address the small to midsize business market as well.

  • PGi reference customers surveyed for this Magic Quadrant identified the vendor's service consistency and reliability as compelling strengths.

Cautions
  • Though there is high demand for PGi's audioconferencing services, customers typically choose collaboration capabilities from other providers that PGi also sells, such as Cisco or Microsoft.

  • PGi has horizontal meeting solutions, but limited customization options for vertical industry segments in comparison to competitors in this Magic Quadrant.

  • PGi reference customers surveyed for this Magic Quadrant expressed concerns about the vendor's pace of innovation and improvements.

Polycom

Polycom offers its hardware-based video endpoint and infrastructure for on-premises deployment, its virtualized infrastructure (RealPresence Clariti) for on-premises, cloud and hybrid deployment, and RealPresence Web Suite as SaaS.

Strengths
  • Polycom has an extremely rich channel ecosystem that allows it to sell and support its portfolio of meeting solutions in any region globally.

  • Polycom innovates strongly with hardware-oriented solutions. It offers native endpoint integration with Microsoft Office 365, dual-view camera capability and in-room wireless content sharing.

  • Polycom's emphasis on audio quality as well as video quality was cited as a strength by customers surveyed for this Magic Quadrant.

Cautions
  • Polycom depends on partnerships, such as with Zoom, for deployments requiring VaaS functionality. Prospects should be aware of this when comparing Polycom to other meeting solution competitors that build and sell their own integrated VaaS platform.

  • Compared to other vendors in this report, Polycom lacks several advanced meeting features, including persistent (always-on) meetings, persistent visual arrangement (repeating meetings have stored custom layout) and meeting analytics (such as engagement and participation).

  • Polycom reference customers surveyed for this Magic Quadrant reported difficulties with deploying and maintaining the vendor's meeting solution.

Vidyo

Vidyo offers SaaS, on-premises, hybrid, dedicated and managed service deployment options for its products.

Strengths
  • Vidyo offers a scalable, rich videoconferencing solution delivered on its new client, which offers a unified user experience across mobile, desktop and conference room endpoints. The solution is delivered with flexible deployment options on a global basis, from channel partners and communications service providers.

  • Vidyo launched Vidyo.io to further expose its multiparty video APIs and the associated developer support program. This allows its technology to be embedded within mobile apps, WebRTC-enabled browsers, and a variety of business, remote patient engagement and contact center applications.

  • Vidyo reference customers surveyed for this Magic Quadrant indicated that the vendor's video quality and service consistency and reliability are compelling strengths.

Cautions
  • Vidyo has fewer meeting solution features than most competitors covered in this Magic Quadrant report, lacking remote concierge services for large-scale enterprise town halls.

  • While Vidyo has a large embedded base of on-premises-based video solutions, its VidyoCloud meeting solution offering is still relatively nascent.

  • Vidyo reference customers surveyed for this Magic Quadrant expressed concern about the vendor's ease of deployment and visibility into its roadmap.

West

West offers SaaS and managed service deployment models for its InterCall Unified Meeting 5 and InterCall conferencing products.

Strengths
  • West has a robust set of meeting solution capabilities, with a focus on delivering audio quality excellence. This allows it to address a wide variety of use cases and meeting sizes.

  • West offers creative bundling and discounting strategies that are attractive to large-enterprise IT application leaders responsible for deploying meeting solutions.

  • West reference customers surveyed for this Magic Quadrant indicated that the vendor's strong audio quality, service consistency and reliability are compelling strengths.

Cautions
  • Though there is high demand for West's InterCall audioconferencing services, customers typically choose collaboration capabilities from other providers that West also sells, such as Cisco or Microsoft.

  • West's offering is more limited relative to those of its competitors in broader meeting solution capabilities, such as asynchronous collaboration, meeting planning and task management.

  • West reference customers surveyed for this Magic Quadrant expressed concern regarding the vendor's pace of innovation and improvements.

Zoom

Zoom offers SaaS, hybrid, dedicated and managed service deployment options for its meeting solutions.

Strengths
  • Zoom's service offers a robust and growing set of collaboration features to satisfy relevant use cases, with integrated room systems that include a collaborative touch display application and wireless content sharing.

  • Zoom continues to offer a freemium option, which is proving to be a strong draw for new customers. In concert with a high conversion rate to paid usage, this approach is paving the way for the vendor's growth in the meeting solution market.

  • Zoom reference customers surveyed for this Magic Quadrant indicated that the vendor's rapid pace of innovation, service consistency and reliability are compelling strengths.

Cautions
  • Zoom's integrated conference room solution, called Zoom Rooms, has a management system that needs to be enhanced to support third-party peripheral updates.

  • Zoom is capitalizing on its stronger brand value and negotiating higher pricing than in the past.

  • Zoom reference customers surveyed for this Magic Quadrant expressed concern about the vendor's interoperability with legacy and external meeting solutions.

ZTE

ZTE offers its hardware-based endpoints and infrastructure for on-premises deployment, and its TrueMeet platform for SaaS and hybrid deployment.

Strengths
  • ZTE's TrueMeet VaaS service integrates with its UCaaS platform, Mobile Office Automation, for extended enterprise collaboration functionality.

  • ZTE maintains strong relationships with the Asia/Pacific communications service providers (CSPs), which are its main customers and channel to market. This is especially true in China, where Gartner forecasts continued growth for the cloud-based meeting solution category.

  • A majority of the ZTE reference customers surveyed for this Magic Quadrant cited the video quality of the vendor's meeting solution as a strength.

Cautions
  • ZTE's meeting solution does not support some basic features that are present in many of its competitors' platforms, such as question-and-answer management and support for multiple meeting leaders/presenters.

  • ZTE's dependence on its CSP channels often prevents "hands-on" insights into end-customer meeting solution requirements and feedback on its own platform's performance.

  • ZTE reference customers reported concerns over the limitations of the meeting solution product feature set and APIs, as well as over the vendor not leveraging more plug-ins, applets, required browsers or external products.

Vendors Added and Dropped

We review and adjust our inclusion criteria for Magic Quadrants as markets change. As a result of these adjustments, the mix of vendors in any Magic Quadrant may change over time. A vendor's appearance in a Magic Quadrant one year and not the next does not necessarily indicate that we have changed our opinion of that vendor. It may be a reflection of a change in the market and, therefore, changed evaluation criteria, or of a change of focus by that vendor.

This research represents the convergence of the web conferencing and group video system markets, and the definition of the meeting solution market.

Added

BlueJeans Network

Huawei

Polycom

ZTE

Dropped

Blackboard

Citrix (now part of LogMeIn)

Fuze

IBM

Inclusion and Exclusion Criteria

We used the following criteria to determine whether each vendor was eligible for inclusion in this Magic Quadrant:

  • The solution must provide at least the following functionality:

    • Presentation delivery: All participants can see an online presentation, which is under the control of one participant who is designated the presenter.

    • Desktop or application sharing: All participants can see, but not necessarily directly interact with or modify, the presenter's desktop or a specific application on the presenter's system.

    • Text chat: Participants can exchange real-time textual messages with other participants or the presenter using an instant messaging (IM)-like interface.

    • Shared whiteboard: A meeting participant can add annotations — viewable by all — by typing or drawing on a whiteboard application, or on top of a presentation or shared application window.

    • Basic security: Encrypted data transfer and password-protected meetings.

    • Integrated VoIP audio: To remove or reduce the need for telephone-based audio, qualifying solutions must use a speaker and microphone (or a headset) to enable participants to listen and speak.

    • Video: The solution must show live video feeds of presenters and participants from desktop clients, room systems or mobile devices.

    • Mobility: The solution must offer specific support for audio, video and content sharing from mobile devices and tablets.

  • The solution must support at least 50 individual participants. Participants are defined as individuals joining from their own client or a group video system (e.g., multiple people joining from a single conference room on one group system count as one participant). Solutions that support only one-to-one interaction or small groups are not covered by this research.

  • The solution must support integration with content delivery networks for live streaming of large-scale webinars.

  • The vendor must have had at least $15 million in annual revenue in its last fiscal year from sales of meeting solution products.

  • The vendor must identify at least five reference customers that validate enterprise-scale deployments (whether on-premises or cloud-based). This research focuses primarily on the large and very large enterprise market (vendors primarily focused on SMBs are not included). At least one reference customer must have more than 1,000 seats of internal users.

  • Sales and marketing efforts connected with the solution must not be limited primarily to a particular vertical or horizontal process (such as training).

  • The vendor must develop and market its primary meeting solution, not resell a white-label solution produced by another company in an OEM relationship. Buyers must be able to acquire the meeting solution stand-alone. The product may be the result of an acquisition.

This Magic Quadrant focuses on a collaborative solution set from the vendor. It does not evaluate stand-alone A/V peripherals or A/V aggregation appliances that do not perform video encoding and decoding. While having a choice of managed service and support offerings is important, the provision of managed services is not considered as part of the inclusion criteria or for the ratings. Vendors do not need to design, manufacture or sell hardware to be included.

Evaluation Criteria

Ability to Execute

Several factors contribute to the vendors' positions on the Ability to Execute axis:

  • We evaluated the capabilities of the vendors' products separately for basic and advanced functionality.

  • As this market includes many small vendors with uncertain futures, financial viability was an important factor.

  • We evaluated pricing in terms of comparative pricing levels and the vendors' flexibility in supporting the kinds of pricing model that customers want (such as concurrent user, named user, per minute and flat rate).

  • We judged the customer experience by assessing rollout and adoption programs and measures, reviewing the extent to which the vendors support their largest enterprise customers and by surveying users identified as reference customers by the vendors.

Table 1.   Ability to Execute Evaluation Criteria

Evaluation Criteria

Weighting

Product or Service

Medium

Overall Viability

High

Sales Execution/Pricing

High

Market Responsiveness/Record

Medium

Marketing Execution

Medium

Customer Experience

High

Operations

Medium

Source: Gartner (September 2017)

Completeness of Vision

We evaluated the vendors' Completeness of Vision by examining customers' requirements for usage and purchasing, and by assessing how the products aligned with these requirements:

  • To evaluate vendors' marketing and product strategies, we looked at how they position their products and whether their products adequately address the chosen positioning.

  • We rated flexibility in supporting multiple deployment models more highly than a strategy of concentrating on a single deployment model.

  • We evaluated vendors' product innovation and ability to address the trends we expect to see in the meeting solution market.

Table 2.   Completeness of Vision Evaluation Criteria

Evaluation Criteria

Weighting

Market Understanding

High

Marketing Strategy

Medium

Sales Strategy

High

Offering (Product) Strategy

Medium

Business Model

Medium

Vertical/Industry Strategy

Medium

Innovation

Medium

Geographic Strategy

Medium

Source: Gartner (September 2017)

Quadrant Descriptions

Leaders

Leaders have achieved significant market share relative to their competitors, while demonstrating an ability to respond to customers' needs. Leaders have robust, scalable products with a wide range of features, a large installed base, acceptable financial performance and good distribution. Leaders are doing well today and are prepared for the future.

Challengers

Challengers are characterized by operational excellence and good standing in the market. Compared with Leaders and Visionaries, they may not have long-term roadmaps, or their products may lack some features.

Visionaries

Visionaries typically have important, unique and/or well-developed technical capabilities, and they provide key innovations that point to the future of this market. However, they have not yet developed the sales and support capabilities to address or influence the whole market.

Niche Players

Niche Players may have good technology, but are limited by their size, breadth of product line, track records in the market, vertical or horizontal focus, geographic niche, and/or financial circumstances. Some have chosen a niche strategy (for example, regional vendors with a local focus or targeted functionality intended to run on top of, or alongside, other technologies).

Context

Meeting solutions are often purchased by departments and LOBs. Application leaders in the digital workplace responsible for collaboration, real-time technology and infrastructure should:

  • Assess and inventory their existing real-time technology assets.

  • Engage technical architects to map out a future architecture with respect to real-time technologies.

  • Influence sourcing/procurement officers to ensure that future investments in real-time technologies are aligned and can be integrated with the established architecture.

Meeting solution decisions should be made together with other decisions about communications and collaboration infrastructure. Mobility, video and endpoint support are essential requirements for buyers evaluating meeting solutions.

Market Overview

The meeting solution market reflects a dynamic set of tensions that are the result of vendors trying to satisfy a diverse set of buyers. The permutations of their efforts are rich: from on-premises deployments to cloud services, from integrated VoIP telephony to traditional PSTN conferencing, from 180p to HD video on mobile devices, desktops and in meeting spaces — all mixed in with asynchronous and synchronous collaboration modalities. Furthermore, buyers for both whole enterprises and LOBs can select from freemium, best-of-breed stand-alone and bundled software and hardware offerings to suit a range of needs, from the smallest online meeting to the largest webcast.

Meeting technologies have developed in the past few years to embrace the web and mobile. The market's focus is shifting away from narrow categories based on delivery mechanisms toward broader, ubiquitous access.

Vendors in this market include:

  • Service providers (such as Arkadin, PGi and West)

  • UCC vendors (such as Cisco, Google and Microsoft)

  • Specialist cloud-based vendors (such Adobe, BlueJeans, LogMeIn, Vidyo and Zoom)

  • Hardware vendors with cloud-based meeting services (such as Huawei, Lifesize, Polycom and ZTE)

Buyers tend to gravitate toward one or other of these groups when selecting vendors to investigate, based on related IT investments and services, existing relationships, brand awareness, or buying center.

Meeting solutions are deployed using several different delivery models. SaaS is the most prominent, but there are also options for on-premises, hybrid, dedicated and managed services — and there are buyers for all types. SaaS deployments enable organizations to receive the benefits of UCC without investing in UCC infrastructure. Good-quality audio, desktop sharing and desktop video can be preferable because time to deployment can be faster than some HD voice and video solutions, which may require upgrades to the network to support on-net collaboration.

Explanations of the five basic deployment options for meeting solutions are as follows:

  • SaaS: The meeting solution runs on the vendor's (or a partner's) system on a multitenancy basis. Users access the capabilities over the internet and sometimes over managed or private data networks (see Note 1).

  • On-premises: Software is installed on systems owned and operated by the client enterprise.

  • Hybrid: The SaaS and on-premises models are combined by allowing segmentation of users across both environments, or failover from on-premises to SaaS, in either automated or manual fashion, in high-load conditions or when disaster strikes.

  • Managed service: IT management of the meeting solution is fully outsourced and managed directly by the vendor or a third-party provider.

  • Dedicated service: The SaaS and managed service models are combined by fully outsourcing the management of a meeting solution directly to the vendor, but with dedicated hardware resources allocated solely to the enterprise customer.

Market Trends

Buyers of meeting solutions are increasingly interested in converged solutions that offer bundles of audio, video and web capabilities without requiring careful license segmentation of meeting hosts. This has led to some adaptation by vendors — some now offer flexible, unmetered subscription plans for bundles, to appeal to LOBs and IT departments that want predictable costs. As such, in addition to VoIP audio, almost all meeting solution vendors in this Magic Quadrant offer integrated PSTN audioconferencing capabilities, although they implement these in different ways:

  • Some vendors, such as Adobe or Cisco, are open to third-party audioconferencing.

  • Some vendors offer conferencing services via their own infrastructure — for example, Cisco, LogMeIn and Microsoft.

  • Some vendors that primarily offer audioconferencing, such as Arkadin, PGi and West, favor their own audioconferencing capabilities.

  • Some vendors rely exclusively on audioconferencing from multiple third parties — Google, for example, relies on UberConference, RingCentral and West for audioconferencing.

Taken to another level, the cost-effective bundling of meeting solutions with cloud office services such as Microsoft Office 365 and Google G Suite represents the additional convergence of synchronous and asynchronous collaboration. The momentum behind cloud office services is one factor exposing more end users to meeting solutions for collaboration. It also affects stand-alone meeting solution vendors, as buyers seek to optimize costs by buying bundles.

The Freemium Influence

The influence of the freemium model, which has fueled rapid growth for vendors such as LogMeIn and Zoom, is stronger than ever in this market. Adobe and Vidyo have new freemium offerings this year.

With this type of model, vendors use free services for smaller, less-complex meetings to drive viral adoption of their platforms, often by LOBs. They then upsell more-complex enterprise features, such as higher capacity, integration with room video systems and provisioning via directories, which appeal to IT and procurement buyers.

Enthusiastic uptake of the freemium model has contributed to downward pricing pressure in the meeting solution market. In addition, exposure to free or inexpensive offerings from vendors such as Microsoft (with Skype) and Google (with Hangouts) has increased users' familiarity and comfort with chat, video and content sharing. Furthermore, the consumerization of IT has encouraged broader adoption of meeting technology within enterprises.

Support for Collaboration Modes

Meeting solutions are merging with asynchronous office collaboration, social networking and the use of CRM applications. It is becoming more common to see capabilities associated with these areas only a single click away, to improve responsiveness, time to market or speed collaboration with partners.

Vendors that initially came to market with synchronous collaboration offerings have made acquisitions to gain capabilities to support asynchronous collaboration on projects and content.

Integration With UCC Infrastructure

Integration of meeting solution capabilities with UCC infrastructure gives UCC vendors strong leverage in enterprises. Best-of-breed meeting solution vendors must ensure integration with UCC offerings to gain further traction in enterprises beyond individual LOBs.

The democratization of video by the use of mobile endpoints — whether through bring your own device (BYOD) or corporate-owned, privately enabled (COPE) schemes — is complicated by requirements to support multiple form factors, mobile operating systems and browsers.

Deployments of inexpensive room video systems backed by cloud-based meeting services allow IT planners to lower the cost of adoption of video capabilities.

Vendors and digital workplace leaders are paying more attention to the "huddle room" use case by addressing requirements for smaller work/conference areas that accommodate up to four people and are suitable for ad hoc collaboration.

Conferencing capability is a basic expectation with regard to enterprise-class digital whiteboards, which, given a sufficient level of sophistication, qualify as team collaboration devices (see the "IT Market Clock for the Digital Workplace, 2016" ).

A desire for absolute consistency of user experience in any meeting context is driving enterprises to acquire meeting solutions that support diverse endpoints.

Webcasting Functionality

Large-scale webcasting is the domain of specialist streaming and enterprise video content management vendors. It is increasingly common, however, for high-end meeting solution vendors or enterprise video content management vendors to handle live streaming requirements at a more modest scale — for example, for a few hundred or a thousand attendees at a company town hall meeting or a quarterly shareholder meeting. It is becoming more common for these solutions to have integration into public content delivery networks (CDNs) or internal enterprise CDNs to improve video quality and reduce internet bandwidth usage.

Browser and Application Options

Rich-client applications on the desktop and native mobile apps offer the most features and functionality for presenters, more-intelligent handling of network variability, and better telemetry for service operators.

A common expectation is that guests in a browser-only mode with no plug-ins will receive a reasonable experience. Expectations are growing, however, as offerings are now available that give meeting hosts more control via the browser.

An emerging area of interest, investment and — most importantly — public commitment by vendors is HTML5 and related protocols, such as WebRTC (see Note 2). Gartner believes that, by 2019, WebRTC will be used for 15% of enterprise voice and video communications, up from less than 1% in 2016. The promise of WebRTC is that real-time communications, such as video, can occur in the browser and between browsers. Although it is still early days, WebRTC is already disrupting conferencing delivery models, whereby a majority of offerings require users to download a client. The more recently a vendor entered this sector, the more likely it is to have less legacy code and therefore to favor an approach using WebRTC. However, this preference limits such vendors' potential markets because not all browsers support the WebRTC draft standard equally. It is becoming common to see modest web-based collaboration services come to market with basic meeting capabilities embedded as a feature of their platform. We expect WebRTC first to impact consumer use of real-time capabilities in browsers, then to impact the enterprise.

Workstream collaboration applications such as Atlassian HipChat, Cisco Spark, Microsoft Teams, Slack and Unify Circuit, as well as many emerging competitors, blend multiple collaboration and communication modalities (such as messaging, content and meetings). They will both augment and displace traditional meeting solutions in the enterprise by enabling more-fluid execution of nonroutine work.

Evidence

In researching this Magic Quadrant, we gathered market information via briefings by and direct surveys of vendors and their reference customers. We also drew on insights gained from interactions with Gartner clients.

Note 1
Definition of SaaS

Gartner defines software as a service (SaaS) as software that is owned, delivered and managed remotely by one or more providers. The provider delivers an application based on a single set of common code and data definitions. The application is consumed in a one-to-many model by all contracted customers, at any time, on a pay-per-use basis or by a subscription that is based on usage metrics.

Note 2
Definition of WebRTC

Web real-time communications (WebRTC) is an open-source project that delivers voice and video communications directly to a browser and mobile apps using simple JavaScript APIs. For more details, see the profile in "Hype Cycle for Unified Communications and Collaboration, 2017."

Evaluation Criteria Definitions

Ability to Execute

Product/Service: Core goods and services offered by the vendor for the defined market. This includes current product/service capabilities, quality, feature sets, skills and so on, whether offered natively or through OEM agreements/partnerships as defined in the market definition and detailed in the subcriteria.

Overall Viability: Viability includes an assessment of the overall organization's financial health, the financial and practical success of the business unit, and the likelihood that the individual business unit will continue investing in the product, will continue offering the product and will advance the state of the art within the organization's portfolio of products.

Sales Execution/Pricing: The vendor's capabilities in all presales activities and the structure that supports them. This includes deal management, pricing and negotiation, presales support, and the overall effectiveness of the sales channel.

Market Responsiveness/Record: Ability to respond, change direction, be flexible and achieve competitive success as opportunities develop, competitors act, customer needs evolve and market dynamics change. This criterion also considers the vendor's history of responsiveness.

Marketing Execution: The clarity, quality, creativity and efficacy of programs designed to deliver the organization's message to influence the market, promote the brand and business, increase awareness of the products, and establish a positive identification with the product/brand and organization in the minds of buyers. This "mind share" can be driven by a combination of publicity, promotional initiatives, thought leadership, word of mouth and sales activities.

Customer Experience: Relationships, products and services/programs that enable clients to be successful with the products evaluated. Specifically, this includes the ways customers receive technical support or account support. This can also include ancillary tools, customer support programs (and the quality thereof), availability of user groups, service-level agreements and so on.

Operations: The ability of the organization to meet its goals and commitments. Factors include the quality of the organizational structure, including skills, experiences, programs, systems and other vehicles that enable the organization to operate effectively and efficiently on an ongoing basis.

Completeness of Vision

Market Understanding: Ability of the vendor to understand buyers' wants and needs and to translate those into products and services. Vendors that show the highest degree of vision listen to and understand buyers' wants and needs, and can shape or enhance those with their added vision.

Marketing Strategy: A clear, differentiated set of messages consistently communicated throughout the organization and externalized through the website, advertising, customer programs and positioning statements.

Sales Strategy: The strategy for selling products that uses the appropriate network of direct and indirect sales, marketing, service, and communication affiliates that extend the scope and depth of market reach, skills, expertise, technologies, services and the customer base.

Offering (Product) Strategy: The vendor's approach to product development and delivery that emphasizes differentiation, functionality, methodology and feature sets as they map to current and future requirements.

Business Model: The soundness and logic of the vendor's underlying business proposition.

Vertical/Industry Strategy: The vendor's strategy to direct resources, skills and offerings to meet the specific needs of individual market segments, including vertical markets.

Innovation: Direct, related, complementary and synergistic layouts of resources, expertise or capital for investment, consolidation, defensive or pre-emptive purposes.

Geographic Strategy: The vendor's strategy to direct resources, skills and offerings to meet the specific needs of geographies outside the "home" or native geography, either directly or through partners, channels and subsidiaries as appropriate for that geography and market.