As corporates continue to implement return-to-office mandates, next-generation collaboration technology will become a key component of the post-COVID office environment.
A new report from Futuresource Consulting shows that corporate AV budgets were squeezed during 2022 and into 2023, and the situation was exacerbated by chipset price hikes and supply chain disruption. Coupled with widespread redundancies across the tech sector, tough market conditions characterised the first half of 2023. However, the specialist research firm has identified the beginnings of an upsurge, with volume and value growth forecasts across a range of collaboration devices.
“Office spaces need to offer tangible additional value for employees over what they can achieve when working from home,” says Scarlett Woodford, Senior Market Analyst, Futuresource Consulting. “It’s the best way for organisations to encourage people to return with enthusiasm. The main benefit of the office space is very much the opportunity to see colleagues and work with them in person.
“With that in mind, enterprises are turning to technologies that enable collaboration, as well as supporting work that involves remote contributors. While organisations have always communicated and collaborated, the new hybrid working model demands solutions that improve meeting equity for remote participants as well as in-office team members.”
Futuresource notes that office headsets are leading the technology charge. Professional webcams are also achieving some positive traction, although laptops often include a built-in webcam. This makes it more difficult for IT purchasers to justify investment in a separate peripheral webcam.
“Our end-user research shows that only 22% of employees are using a separate webcam while working from the office,” says Woodford. “This does increase by a few percentage points when working from home, but our findings suggest that the total addressable market for professional webcams is considerably smaller than that for other video conferencing peripherals.”
For audio, the default output is built-in laptop speakers. In a shared office environment, this can be extremely distracting, providing enterprises with a good reason to invest in office headsets. Additionally, even though enterprises are increasing their investments in huddle rooms and private telephone booth style spaces, Futuresource end-user research shows the availability of such spaces is still limited.
While the demand for office headsets is growing, business calls made over Microsoft Teams are also becoming more common. This has directly reduced the use of office desk phones, which is creating a virtuous circle for AV vendors, with enterprises redirecting further AV expenditure away from desk phones towards peripherals that support audio and video calls.
Moreover, laptops purchased during 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, are now entering the replacement phase of their lifecycle. Futuresource notes that this will further drive investment in peripherals, as IT decision makers look to refresh their IT stock and provide enhanced audio conferencing experiences for their employees.
For more information or to purchase Futuresource Consulting’s new Personal Conferencing Market report or the 2023 Hybrid Working Survey, please contact email@example.com.
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