Web Conferencing for Small Businesses – Study Reveals New Findings

Web Conference Functions

recent study on Soft­ware Advice reve­aled that small busi­nesses are incre­asingly relying on desktop soft­ware and Web apps for their confe­ren­cing needs, rather than on confe­rence bridges and other tradi­tional methods and hard­ware that were popular pre-2000. As a user of online meeting soft­ware, this may come as no great surprise to you. However, of greater inte­rest, the study also reve­aled the top bene­fits for using Web-based solu­tions, the most popular use cases for Web confe­ren­cing soft­ware, and the importance of diffe­rent features and func­tion­a­li­ties to small businesses.

The study shows that Web confe­ren­cing is defi­ni­tely beco­ming one of the fastest growing “green” busi­ness prac­tices today, due to the fact that it reduces carbon emis­sions involved in trave­ling to meetings. However, there are even further reasons, other than the envi­ron­ment, for why indi­vi­duals will benefit from this tech­no­logy, such as the time savings that online meetings have to offer.

While online meetings benefit large corpo­ra­tions by stream­li­ning opera­tions, and saving on travel expenses, small busi­nesses have also started to take advan­tage of this tech­no­logy to boost sales via online demos, provide better customer service, and conduct trainings.

Adoption Rates for Conferencing Technologies

From the results of the study, adop­tion rates for confe­ren­cing tech­no­lo­gies show that the trend is set to continue growing, with audio confe­ren­cing in the lead with 50%, and video confe­ren­cing and screen sharing a shared second, with a 45% adop­tion rate each. This suggests that presen­ting appli­ca­tions and desktop content in real-time via screen sharing is almost just as important to busi­ness users as making a confe­rence call. For commu­ni­ca­tion clarity, it makes perfect sense to us that the two go hand-in-hand.

Web Conferencing Adoption Rates

The Rise of VoIP Technology over Phones

Tech­no­logy conti­nues to become smaller, yet more powerful, so it is only fair to assume that nobody wants to be glued to large desk phones or confe­ren­cing phones. In this study, 45% of users eschewed apps that required for soft­ware to be installed to parti­ci­pants’ compu­ters. Instead, they preferred Web apps that run within brow­sers and are acces­sible from various Web-enabled devices.

The study shows that:

  • 45% of respond­ents rely on Web Apps, while only 39% rely on mobile and desktop apps.
  • Only 20% of respond­ents still use hard­ware such as confe­rence bridges and desk phones.

The study admi­nis­tra­tors, Soft­ware Advice, concluded that the popu­la­rity for Web-based apps is an indi­cator of today’s shift towards Soft­ware-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications.

These findings were of parti­cular inte­rest to us at Mikogo due to our software’s HTML Viewer. One of the core strengths of the Mikogo service, the HTML Viewer enables parti­ci­pants to join meetings from any device or browser, with no down­loads, no plugins, and no addi­tional soft­ware required.

This means that parti­ci­pants can attend meetings from anywhere, anytime, due to the nature of the World Wide Web and the easy access of such Web services. For example, when a busy exec is trave­ling over­seas, but an urgent meeting is called, he can simply excuse himself from whatever he is doing for a quick 15 minute online meeting, allo­wing the busi­ness to effec­tively func­tion in his absence. Previously, a meeting would have been post­poned until he could access the neces­sary hard­ware or confe­rence phone, which might have put important, produc­tive decis­ions on hold, poten­ti­ally costing the busi­ness a fortune in lost earnings or profits.

Growing Shift towards Web-Based Services

Accor­ding to the study, modern Web confe­rence provi­ders are turning their atten­tion to WebRTC, a project that enables them to develop API plat­forms that allow Web inte­gra­tion of real-time commu­ni­ca­tions within Web brow­sers without the need for down­loads or plugins. Again this was of parti­cular inte­rest to Mikogo, follo­wing the release of our own WebRTC-based video confe­ren­cing product, Magno­call, back in late 2013. Magno­call runs purely within a browser without any down­loads and allows indi­vi­duals to make instant video calls between users.

Faster Meeting Time – The Top Benefit of Online Meetings

So why the shift towards the rela­tively-new Web-based services and away from the tradi­tional confe­ren­cing tech­no­lo­gies? As mentioned above, ease of access from any loca­tion world­wide must be a benefit. However the number one reason why small busi­nesses choose Web confe­ren­cing, is that browser-based online meetings can start quicker than any other confe­ren­cing tech­no­logy. Small busi­ness owners value the simpli­city and speed of modern Web confe­ren­cing solu­tions, and the ability to spee­dily act upon important events or impulses, thus enhan­cing productivity.

Benefits of Online Meetings

It’s under­stan­dable that busi­ness users want a reliable solu­tion which is fast and easy to use. It was also parti­cu­larly inte­res­ting that many (39%) of respond­ents were in favor of “click-to-join” instead of PINs. It’s true that input­ting a series of numbers correctly in order to join a meeting or call is an extra step, and people will have trouble joining if they misplace the code before the meeting. Remo­ving PINs would no doubt make confe­ren­cing easier, but not neces­s­a­rily better.

From our point of view at Mikogo, the use of a unique PIN or “session ID” as we call it in the Mikogo soft­ware, is essen­tial for secu­rity. Along with other secu­rity measures in place in the Mikogo soft­ware, the unique session ID prevents unwanted people from joining your online meeting. I wonder if the respond­ents who preferred “click-to-join” services would in fact prefer a PIN or session ID system if it meant a more secure expe­ri­ence for them­selves and their meeting clients. What do you think? Leave your comm­ents below.

Screen Sharing, File-Sharing and Scheduling are Crucial Features

Certain soft­ware func­tion­a­li­ties are important in ever­yday busi­ness life when it comes to commu­ni­ca­tions, as they make things easier and more conve­nient. When the respond­ents were asked about various func­tion­a­li­ties they use on a daily basis;

  • 56% said that they use email scheduling.
  • 49% said that they use calendar scheduling.
  • 54% said that they do file sharing.
  • 31% said that they do screen or desktop sharing.

Sche­du­ling is clearly an important factor to consider when it comes to deci­ding on a company’s confe­ren­cing system of choice. The Mikogo online meeting soft­ware is not only based on screen sharing tech­no­logy but comes with an essen­tial feature for busi­nesses: a meeting sche­duler. This allows you to save multiple meetings to your Mikogo soft­ware account, complete with global times, dura­tion, recur­rence (whether it is a one-time meeting, or a weekly pow-wow), and remin­ders. You can even save the sche­duled session in your email calendar and send invites to your meeting participants.

Web Conferencing Functionality

During an online meeting or trai­ning session, being able to look at the subject matter proves inva­luable. The study supports this with a third of small busi­nesses using screen sharing on a daily basis, while 89% of respond­ents rely on sharing desk­tops at least once a month.

Soft­ware Advice’s conclu­sion from these findings was that the afore­men­tioned Web confe­ren­cing func­tion­a­li­ties, such as audio confe­ren­cing, screen sharing and sche­du­ling, are in fact “vital elements” to many small busi­nesses nowa­days. We second these findings based on our own lear­nings from the Mikogo users and customers.

Screen Sharing Fulfills Multiple Purposes

Finally, the study looked at the purposes for which small busi­nesses would use confe­ren­cing solu­tions. Planned busi­ness meetings ranked as the number one use case for 84% of respond­ents. Inte­res­t­ingly, 55% of respond­ents said they use Web confe­ren­cing solu­tions for online product demons­tra­tions. This is some­thing we also learned first-hand from the Mikogo user base when asked about their use of our soft­ware. We disco­vered that screen sharing enables a variety of compa­nies to imme­dia­tely demo their products and services to pros­pec­tive clients, saving all parties valuable time and money, while adding vital clarity to their sales calls.

Web Conferencing Use Cases

In Conclusion

It is clear that small busi­nesses are making a shift towards the simpli­city of more cost-effec­tive Web-based confe­ren­cing plat­forms that require no soft­ware down­loads for parti­ci­pants. Some of the most important func­tion­a­li­ties for online meetings was sche­du­ling, file sharing and screen sharing. It was also found that faster meeting times is the number one reason for small busi­nesses to opt for online meetings over tradi­tional confe­ren­cing methods.

The study and above findings were first reported by Daniel Harris on Soft­ware Advice, who conducted a 10-ques­tion survey and coll­ected 148 responses from small busi­nesses (i.e. 50 employees or less) who use Web conferencing.

Nehmen Sie Kontakt mit uns auf und sprechen Sie mit einem unserer Experten.

© 2021 Snapview GmbH