Small and medium businesses worldwide will spend as much as $2.6 billion on conferencing solutions -- including audio, Web, and videoconferencing -- by 2012, up from $1.8 billion in 2006, according to a study by Access Markets International Partners, Inc. Other findings from the report include:
- The Web-conferencing segment will grow from $388 million to almost $693 million by 2012.
- The videoconferencing segment will grow from less than $100 million in 2006 to $164 million by 2012.
- North American small and midsize businesses are the leading consumers of these solutions. They spent $965 million in 2007 -- 50 percent of worldwide spending -- and that will rise to $1.3 billion by 2012.
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- More than one-third of employees were traveling less on business over the past year, with 42 percent saying their corporate travel had been cut in half.
- 40 percent spent more time in teleconferences.
- 30 percent have increased the amount of time they telecommute by working from home an average of 1.4 days per week.
- Half of the respondents who work from home at least one day a week feel their productivity increases when telecommuting compared with working at the office.
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And perhaps thinking "telecommuter" is outdated, Plantronics solicited suggestions from people to rename the term. The winning term "cloudworker" is defined as "somebody who uses on-demand technology and collaboration tools, such as unified communications, to work anywhere and anytime, and uses the resulting freedom to enable a my-size-fits-me career path and lifestyle. The metaphor of the cloud extends well beyond cloud computing and software as a service applications to include work environments, distributed teams, and communication tools." A Google search revealing 4,580 hits for "cloudworker" leads me to think that it's, indeed, catching on -- or Plantronics is just savvy at search engine marketing.
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