A new report by PGI shows that the smartphone will be the go to device for UC&C services for years to come

Smartphones will dominate the unified communication and collaboration (UC&C) industry for years to come, but users require more education on the benefits of HD audio, according to a new report published by PGI and Mobile World Live. A total of 333 mobile industry leaders were surveyed in order to compile the report, which sheds new light on developing trends in the UC&C market. 


HD Audio

The survey revealed that 39% of people surveyed rated audio quality as the most important feature for a conferencing and collaboration experience. Perhaps rather paradoxically, only 7.6% of people surveyed rated the presence of HD audio as the most important factor. Given that HD audio can deliver crystal clear audio and facilitate natural, flowing conversation, this would indicate that more education is required for the consumer on the benefits of HD audio.  

Lack of consumer awareness of the benefits of HD audio was apparent throughout the study, regardless of the device being used to facilitate the call. When asked specifically about the most important features for a conferencing and collaboration experience on a mobile device, only 6.23% of respondents chose HD audio.


The rise of the smartphone

The report highlights smartphones as the device of choice for would be conference callers, with 44% of those surveyed saying that they would opt to use their smartphone. This trend runs in tandem with the sharp decline in the use of fixed line desk based telephones for conference calling. Over 70% of people surveyed said that their use of desk phones for conference calling has declined significantly over the last 5 years. 55% of people said that they had noticed this trend over the past 12 months. When asked what the perceived barriers were to using a smartphone for conference calling, 19% of respondents cited poor voice quality as the most pressing reason. With smartphone adoption rates set to hit 5.7 billion by the year 2020, the smartphone is set to dominate the UC&C market for years to come.


The role of the OTT players

OTT players are firmly established as the popular choice for UC&C sessions, with 75% of those surveyed saying that they used conferencing services offered by the OTT players. When asked what factors would drive usage of UC&C services on smartphones, 32% of respondents said that improving network coverage would be a primary driver. But who should drive the use of UC&C services on smartphones? 38% of respondents said that mobile network operators should take the lead, whereas 37% said that the responsibility lay with the OTT service providers. UC&C services provide an excellent opportunity for network providers to secure much needed revenue streams. However, if the key players are to adequately monetise these services, they must be prepared to invest in consumer education, particularly around the benefits of HD audio services. PGI’s research highlights a number of key trends in the industry that will help operators optimise their UC&C offerings in the years to come.