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Adapt and grow: new ways for service providers to compete in the audio conferencing market

November 16, 2016

Amit Sachdeva   

Amit Sachdeva, Global Head, Cloud and Application Service Provider Business

Traditional conferencing services have to adapt and change – it’s clear to me that they no longer match the expectations of either small and medium sized businesses (SMBs) or large enterprises. From service providers’ perspective, the traditional model of buying and selling minutes on a basic audio conferencing platform are long gone. Video conferencing and the cloud are pushing service providers to evolve their offerings and delivering services that end users really want.

I see this in my own life. Basic conferencing services limit where I can do business – instead, I want conferencing services that adapt to wherever I am, and whatever device I’m using. I want the option of using video calling when I have a critical call and I want to ensure my colleagues or my partners are all on the same page.

Consumers have come to expect these capabilities and they want them in their business communications. The challenge for service providers is to be competitive in a crowded market. While the barriers to entering the conferencing space have been removed, service providers face a challenging landscape that includes their traditional competitors as well as the likes of Facebook Live, YouTube Live, Skype and Skype for Business. That is why they need to rethink how they can effectively grow their conferencing business and differentiate their offering. One of the big issues is that they have relied on revenue streams from legacy services while competitors from other spheres have been able to get ahead of them.

In this highly competitive market, video represents the biggest growth opportunity for service providers. Audio might be the foundation for conferencing, but video is the future. Service providers should therefore ensure that they are able to deliver the performance required to offer high quality video communications for their customers.

Additionally, the move to video should be coupled with value-added services delivered via the cloud. Cloud models support growing customisation for enterprises and end users. When conferencing is decoupled from legacy hardware, service providers can easily offer new services and scale them up or down depending on customer demand. Things as basic as operator-assistance or webcasting can be offered to enterprises with new choice and customisation as differentiators.

To make it easier for service providers to monetise new conferencing services, they can take services offered by a global partner and customise them for local enterprises. This approach enables service providers to deliver differentiated, customised solutions to their customers cost-effectively, while increasing customer satisfaction.

I hate to say it, but it really is a case of ‘adapt or die’ in the conferencing market. The market is just too competitive. Service providers that want to be successful should look at how partnerships can help them to transform their service offering in this space – before disruption puts them out of business.

How do you see service providers adapting to new technologies and market pressures? Let us know in the comments below.