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New collaboration tech market nuances starting to emerge

The collaboration technology market has undergone a major shift over the last few years, with significant acceleration in acceptance and uptake. Now that the dust has settled, the industry is moving through a new transformational phase, with a keen focus on location as well as the underpinning technologies.

For the first time, a new suite of reports from Futuresource Consulting addresses this locational element of collaboration, placing the technologies in the context of personal conferencing, small meeting rooms and huddle spaces, and medium-sized meeting rooms.

A video conferencing market redefined

“Usage, budget and the role of technology are all subject to different forces, stemming from their immediate environment,” says Alistair Johnston, Head of Collaboration, Futuresource Consulting. “In particular, AV companies are less aware of how these technologies are being used by individuals, their preferences and pain points, and how products are being purchased for different purposes.”

Video conferencing vendor strategies used to focus upon making the remote experience as similar as possible to that of being in a meeting room. However, this model assumed that video communications would develop between meeting rooms, and users would gradually increase their exposure to video. Once the pandemic hit, the vast majority of video communication was initiated between separate individuals, all in command of their own endpoint.

“This one-endpoint-per-participant view has become deeply ingrained in our expectations,” says Johnston, “with everyone named, clearly visible, and displayed facing their camera. These expectations have now been brought into the office as people have returned to work in centralised locations.”

Personal conferencing is also continuing to support headset growth, though at more modest rates than in the early days of the pandemic. Futuresource analysis shows that the global office headset market grew by 3% in 2021, with market value up by 6%.

Small meeting rooms lead the charge for 360-degree cameras

Conferencing in small meeting rooms and huddle spaces has seen a large popularity upsurge, making these locations a strategic target for AV companies. According to Futuresource, the products particularly suited to smaller meeting rooms include collaboration bars, 360-degree cameras, fixed cameras and speakerphones.

“Portable USB speakerphones have become a popular addition for people who have hybrid working arrangements,” says Johnston. “They are an appealing tool in the conferencing kit for those who move between remote, meeting room and huddle space locations.

“Meanwhile, 360-degree cameras are making a big noise in the small meeting room market. In 2021, the category grew by 38% year-on-year, rising by 45% last year, and on track for an additional 35% in 2023. These products are an ideal option for those who prefer to bring their own devices into meeting rooms. Plus, there are big potential revenues to be captured in the budget-conscious SME and higher education markets.”

All eyes on the medium-sized opportunity

Looking to medium-sized meeting rooms, those that accommodate seven to 15 people, Futuresource notes that while these were already a key focus for collaboration companies, the rise in hybrid work and the need to video-enable meeting spaces have made these rooms a key battleground for AV companies hoping to support collaboration.

“From PTZ cameras to video bars, conference phones to wireless conferencing hardware, the mid-sized meeting room has become the corporate epicentre for conferencing tech,” says Johnston. “The rise of UC&C phones in this space has been, and will remain, one of the most critical growth avenues for telephony. In addition, the rise of the mid-size space has prompted a wave of European and North American demand for video bars, which saw volume outpace value growth, and the category broke the billion-dollar barrier back in 2021.”

This new suite of Futuresource research reports is being brought together from a wide range of Futuresource analysis and end-user surveys. It provides an holistic view of these three location types as diverse technology ecosystems. For more information, or to make a purchase, please contact

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Alistair Johnston

About the author

Alistair Johnston

Alistair leads the Collaboration team at Futuresource Consulting, researching and consulting on the ways we work together, both in the office and remotely.

With a background in both operations and marketing, Alistair is particularly interested in how individuals and companies adapt under conditions of technological and social change.

Alistair has an economics degree from the University in Cambridge, and has previously worked as a business analyst, particularly within the financial sector.

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