Here's Who Made Gartner's 2016 Magic Quadrant For Web Conferencing

Enterprises Spending Big On Web Conferencing

Web conferencing markets are converging as audio, video and web mix with spaces to enable faster decisions and remote teamwork, which is driving enterprise spending.

"We see more enterprises taking advantage of real-time communications and web conferencing than ever before," said Adam Preset, principal research analyst at Gartner, who authored the recent Magic Quadrant for Web Conferencing. "They're also taking advantage of access to better networks and better client experiences on the desktop and on mobile devices."

Customers are no longer interested in siloed solutions, but a convergence offer that bundles audio, video and web capabilities without requiring careful license segmentation of meeting hosts, which is making vendor offerings more flexible. A total of fifteen vendors made Gartner's Magic Quadrant list this year representing the world's biggest vendors in the web conferencing market.

Cisco Leading The Way, Tailed By Microsoft And Adobe

Leaders in the web conferencing space – which includes webinars, online meetings, remote training and audio communications -- are Cisco, Microsoft and Adobe, although smaller players are carving out their niches such as this year's newcomers to the quadrant Zoom and LogMeIn.

"Vendors in this space have a lot of the same capabilities – they all have the ability to do video, to share context, to chat and other collaboration features like white boarding because it's what's appropriate for internal collaboration today," said Preset.

Gartner is seeing better technology in the market with improved video, audio and the ability to drag in external content and assets to support real-time collaboration. "We see more vendors paying attention to not only the synchronous collaboration: 'Can you see my face? Can you see my slides?' But we see them pay attention to 'How do I load in assets so everyone can see them, so this meeting can be more productive?" said Preset.

Web Conferencing Methodology

Gartner evaluated web conferencing vendors who provide functionalities including video, desktop or application sharing, presentation delivery, shared whiteboard, basic security, integrated voice-over-IP audio and mobility. Each vendor must have at least $10 million in annual revenue from web conferencing sales and products must support at least 15 participants.

Customers have five basic deployment options for web conferencing applications: Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), on-premise, hybrid, managed services and dedicated deployment, which is a combination of SaaS and managed services models that outsource management to the vendor.

The Magic Quadrant ranks web conferencing vendors on their ability to execute and completeness of vision. Gartner places vendors into four categories: Niche Players (low on vision and execution), Visionaries (good vision but low execution), Challengers (good execution but low vision) and Leaders (excelling in both vision and execution).

Leader: Cisco

The San Jose, Calif.-based networking leader ranked both No. 1 in vision and execution on the quadrant, with quite a bit of space between themselves and leading competitors Microsoft and Adobe.

" Cisco is the market leader because they have an enormous global network infrastructure, they're a trusted brand and they meet many of the complex scenarios in enterprises today," said Preset.

Cisco offers deployment options for its WebEx products that includes WebEx Meeting Center, Enterprise Edition, and WebEx Meeting available as a SaaS option. The company also recently overhauled its Cisco Spark collaboration solution.


Strengths: Preset said Cisco leads the market in terms of overall adoption, usage, sales execution and global infrastructure with its WebEx considered a complete, stable and reliable solution by customers. Enterprises choose Cisco if they have other investments in the vendor whether it's PBX or network infrastructure, as well as Cisco's global footprint, according to Preset.

"Cisco has an enormous set of channel partnerships … it really makes it flexible picking Cisco and they have many different licensing models, some might say too many, to suite all kinds of different buyers," said Preset.

Cautions: Licensing Cisco WebEx can be a complex task depending on a customer's requirements and products. Additionally, WebEx is a stand-alone, premium product that doesn't offer the same degree of integration with office productivity and collaboration services as competitors' broader UCC offerings, according to Gartner.

"Cisco does have many different ways to buy their product … they're working to make it less complex for their partners to order products and create new contracts. They spent a lot of time and effort on that," said Preset.

Leader: Microsoft

The Redmond, Wash.-based software giant ranked No. 2 in vision and No. 3 in execution.

"Microsoft has been steadily improving in the web conferencing space and enterprises often have a very strong allegiance to Microsoft on-premises and that is translating migrations to their Microsoft Office 365," said Preset.

Microsoft offers Skype for Business (SfB) for hybrid, on-premise and managed service deployment, as well as SfB Online as SaaS and dedicated deployment.


Strengths: SfB Online can be bundled with Microsoft Office 365, which has made it attractive to enterprises seeking to implement the entire Microsoft collaboration and productivity suite.

"If you buy 365, which includes Skype for Business Online, it makes financial sense to use that as much as possible," said Preset. "Microsoft has improved that product in the last year by adding more capability to integrate with on-premise phone systems and PBXs to scale up and to add cloud-based conference bridging."

Cautions: SfB Online lacks capabilities available in their on-premise version for SfB, including persistent groups, "which is a significant difference," said Preset.

" Clients also tell us in some cases, because they connect the service over commodity Internet, the audio and video could be better," he said.

Leader: Adobe

San Jose-based Adobe ranked No. 2 in execution, but was positioned amongst the middle of the pack in terms of vision.

"Adobe is premium vendor that's extremely flexible and works well in the most complex scenarios. So enterprises that really want to manage the stage of a web conference in a very thorough way will find Adobe suits their needs," said Preset. "They also have an extensive set of channel partnerships."

Adobe offers deployment options for its Adobe Connect product which includes SaaS, on-premise, hybrid, managed service and dedicated deployment.


Strengths: Gartner says Adobe has the most flexible and extensive set of web conferencing features and capabilities on the quadrant.

Its Connect offers rich customization for webinars and scales well to large events, according to Preset. "Clients really appreciate their flexibility," he said.

Cautions: Connect is a stand-alone product that doesn't offer the same degree of integration with office productivity and collaboration services compared to competitors.

Adobe lacks market presence outside of North America, so customers outside must buy from distributors or channel partners.

"They also need to work on moving away from the legacy flash technology," said Preset.

Leader: IBM

Big Blue ranked No.4 in execution on the quadrant, but was amongst the middle of the pack in regards to vision.

"What IBM does really well is tightly integrate their set of conferencing products into the rest of the IBM product stack as part of their Connections offering," said Preset. "Whether it's social software or their email products or IMB Connections Meetings Cloud product, it always works well together."

Armonk, NY.-based IBM offers Sametime for its products as on-premise, managed service and dedicated deployment. Its IBM Connections Meetings Cloud is offered as a SaaS option.


Strengths: Gartner says IBM understands crucial factors of large enterprises that need to integrate web conferencing technology with existing unified communications and collaboration investments, such as group video systems, telephony systems and extensive technology partnerships.

Customers say its Sametime and Connections Meetings Cloud solutions are easy to use and preferable to alternative products for businesses already using other IBM services.

Cautions: "If you don't already have a lot of IBM products in your environment you may not think of the IBM Connections Meetings Cloud product or Sametime as an option, and those might not integrate as well with some other technologies you have," said Preset.

Preset says upgrading and managing IBM's web conferencing products can be complex and costly when they need to integrate with existing PBX, audio conferencing and group video solutions.

Leader: Citrix

Citrix is tied for the No. 3 spot on the quadrant in regards to vision and tied at No. 5 for execution.

"Citrix is really well-known for an easy-to-use experience and they're very popular in the SMB markets," said Preset. "A strong advantage for them is they address a lot of the common enterprise use cases."

Citrix's GoToMeeting, GoToTraining, GoToWebinar and GoToAssist are all available as SaaS options. In November, the company revealed its intention to move its GoTo product lines into a separate publicly traded company.


Strengths: Gartner says customers praise Citrix's pricing and licensing and that the process of buying products is simple and fair.

"If you're dealing with internal collaboration or presenting to external parties or dealing with training or with large webinars, Citrix has an answer for that," said Preset.

Cautions: Its GoToMeeting lacks integration with group video systems and doesn't have feature parity between the PC and Apple Mac releases, according to Preset, both of which were issues of concern for customers.

"As Citrix thinks about how to spin the GoTo family of products off into their own product line, there will be some uncertainty on how that will happen. Buyers will want assurances that their products will continue to work well and evolve through that whole process," said Preset.

Leader: AT&T

The Dallas, Tex.-based telecom giant is among the upper-middle of the pack in regards to both execution and vision.

"They have a global network infrastructure and a very solid brand that gives enterprise buyers a degree of comfort," said Preset. "AT&T Connect works very well if you have AT&T audio conferencing bridges and a lot of enterprises still depend on audio for their daily business. That level of integration is really valued by their customers."

For its AT&T Connect product, the company offers SaaS, hybrid, on-premises and managed service.


Strengths : Gartner says its strong focus on understanding the challenges faced by particular industries like manufacturing, transportation and financial services is a big boost for AT&T.

Due to the company's size, presence and scale, Connect works well for global organizations seeking a proven solution that can handle high volumes.

Cautions: AT&T focuses less on enhancing its web conferencing product to support high-quality video and integration with collaboration tools compared to other leaders in the quadrant. Connect's reporting and analytics features to help customers understand rollout, adoption and feature usage are less advanced than most of its competitors.

"They need to worry that the market is extremely competitive and there are many other options, so they might not be considered as much as the other brands that are more well known like Citrix or Cisco or Microsoft," said Preset.

Challenger: Google

Google was all over the place on the quadrant, capturing a fifth-place tie with Citrix in execution, but ranking dead last for vision.

"Google Hangouts still has the lowest threshold for meeting end-points – you can't put more than 15 end-points into a single meeting," said Preset. "Hangouts is part of the Google Apps offering which is extremely attractive for enterprises because of its capability and its cost."

Mountain View, Calif.-based Google offers Hangouts on a SaaS basis.


Strengths: Google added contextual collaboration elements to Hangouts, including the ability to initiate a meeting and present directly from Google Slides and made it easier for guests to join in without needing Google credentials.

Its decentralized cloud infrastructure makes Hangouts a good solution for organizations that are globally distributed.

Cautions: Hangouts are limited to 15 endpoints and require third-party solutions and partners to reach higher limits.

" For larger enterprises with big teams it becomes more valuable to have a higher limit," said Preset. "Also, in some cases Google is seen less open then some of the other technologies out there that allow federation and communication with different conferencing platforms."

Visionary: West Unified Communications Services

Omaha, Neb.-based West Unified Communications Services, formerly named InterCall, ranked in the middle of the pack for both vision and execution.

"They're very well-known, very aggressive on pricing and they have many partnerships with other technology vendors," said Preset. "They also have the ability to do bundling of lots of different products to exactly customize what an enterprise customer might need."

West offers SaaS, hybrid and managed services deployment models for its InterCall Unified Meeting products.

West Unified Communications Services

Strengths: Gartner says West has one of the most comprehensive portfolios to support communication by a knowledgeable workforce. It sells a variety of products from modest conferencing to large-scale webinar solutions and offers options for customization, bundling and billing.

" InterCall is one of the go-to options for global organizations that need conferencing services," said Preset.

Cautions: Unified Meeting doesn't offer feature parity between its versions for desktops, browsers and mobile devices and features like video and content sharing are available only with the full desktop application.

"[Unified Meeting] is not as feature complete or flexible and it doesn't offer a video experience on mobile devices, which is something we would expect to see in almost all web conferencing options these days," said Preset.

Visionary: PGi

Atlanta-based Premier Global Services Inc., PGi, is tied for third place with Citrix for vision, but amongst the bottom of the pack for execution.

"They have a large portfolio of different options all the way from audio conferencing up to web casting and everything in between, which makes them very appealing for organizations who want to go to a single source supplier for lots of different conferencing and collaboration products," said Preset.

PGi offers deployment models for its iMeet and GlobalMeet products, which include SaaS, hybrid and on-premise. In December, PGi entered into an agreement to be acquired by private equity firm Siris Capital Group in a transaction valued at $1 billion.


Strengths: PGi has the most diverse and balanced global presence of any vendor on the quadrant, according to Gartner. It owns an extensive and flexible set of product features and capabilities compared with other vendors in the quadrant, which makes it suitable for a wide variety of use cases from simple conferences for internal collaboration to large-scale webinars.

" PGi also has a rich and deep set of partner relations," said Preset.

Cautions: The market share of PGi's own web conferring products is low. "They have a solid product line, but not as well-known as their competitors for some of their collaboration products," said Preset.

Customers expressed concern to Gartner that GlobalMeet can be less effective for collaboration than iMeet because it shows only a single active speaker's video. They also observed that it requires more training and support due to its complexity.

Visionary: Vidyo

Hackensack, N.J.-based video specialist Vidyo tied with Adobe for fifth place on the quadrant for vision, but was in the lower-middle of the pack for execution.

"Vidyo has some very strong technology, so strong that they have technology partnerships with companies like Fuse, West Unified Communications and even Google as they develop the next generation of video," said Preset.

Vidyo deployment options for its web conferencing products include SaaS, hybrid, on-premises, managed service and dedicated deployment.


Strengths: Preset said Vidyo offers the highest resolution video and error resilience of any vendor on the quadrant. Its underlying video codec, API and software development kit (SDK) are licensed by other web conferencing vendors and technology partners.

"We encounter them when clients are interested in having the highest quality video possible where the network is sub-optimal," said Preset.

Cautions: With the strong focus on video interactions, it offers fewer web conferencing collaboration features than all other competitors on the quadrant.

"They're very strong in synchronous collaboration, they don't do as well with asynchronous collaboration. In a world in which you have not only real-time communication, but also the need to work asynchronously with colleagues, [Vidyo needs] some answer to that kind of problem."

Visionary: Zoom

New to the quadrant is web and video conferencing specialist Zoom, who ranks within the middle of the pack for both vision and execution.

"Zoom is relatively new to market compared to competitors and they have a deeply capable technical offering that has a lot of different features and functionality that you think would only be available in the more mature offerings," said Preset.

Zoom deployment options for web conferencing products include SaaS, hybrid and on-premise.


Strengths: Preset says Zoom has one of the most effective freemium models for web conferencing.

Customers tout Zoom's ease-of-use and deployment, as well as its ability to interoperate with legacy video infrastructure, according to Gartner.

Cautions: Zoom's stand-alone product does not offer the same degree of integration with office productivity and collaboration services as competitors with broader offerings. It also lacks market presence outside North America.

"They don't have the same brand recognition as these large enterprise competitors and they don't have some of the features available in those competing products," said Preset.

Visionary: Fuze (Now Part of ThinkingPhones)

San Francisco-based video conferencing specialist Fuze is ranked amongst the bottom of the pack for both vision and execution on the quadrant.

In November, Unified Communications-as-a-Service provider ThinkingPhones announced its acquisition of Fuze for an undisclosed amount.

Fuze's product is sold as a SaaS option.


Strengths: "Fuze fits really well in the healthcare space because it is HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) compliant and has licensed its technology for several apps that support patient care," said Preset. Fuze also supports use cases in education, government and creative services.

Customers say it offers high-quality video in a easy-to-use interface, according to Gartner.

Cautions: Fuze meetings are limited to 250 participants and the company has very little market presence outside North America and Europe.

The company's recording capabilities are also limited in comparison with some competitors on the quadrant.

Niche Player: Blackboard

Washington, D.C.-based learning and training collaboration specialist Blackboard ranked amongst the bottom of the pack in regards to vision and tied for last place in regards to execution.

"They're really strong in learning and training scenarios and part of that is their learning management capabilities," said Preset.

Deployment options for its Blackboard Collaborate product include SaaS and on-premise.


Strengths: Blackboard Collaborate has rich capabilities to support learning and training scenarios in virtual classroom environments in the enterprise, higher education, healthcare and government sectors, according to Gartner.

The company's new WebRTC-based system – Blackboard Collaborate with Ultra – requires no browser plug-in that customers say is easy to use, said Preset.

Cautions: Blackboard Collaborate is closely associated with Blackboard Learn – the company's learning management system – and is less frequently purchased for stand-alone internal collaboration than its competitors.

"One doesn't often encounter the Blackboard Collaborate web conferencing tool in scenarios in which enterprises have not already invested in their learning management system," said Preset.

Blackboard is also moving away from its Java implementation and existing customers will need to assess how to shift to WebRTC.

Niche Player: LogMeIn

Another new vendor to the quadrant is cloud-based collaboration and SaaS specialist LogMeIn, ranked amongst the lower end of the quadrant for both execution and vision.

"It possibly has one of the easiest to use web conference product that is fully browser-based," said Preset.

The Boston, Mass.-based vendor's Join.Me product is available as a SaaS product.


Strengths: LogMeIn's freemium model has pushed viral adoption of its platform and the vendor offers one of the least expensive stand-alone subscription services, especially for SMBs.

Customers tout its comprehensive rollout and adoption support and training for customers, whether it's for small organizations or large enterprises, according to Gartner.

Cautions: LogMeIn's Join.Me product was late to the market with video capabilities compared to all other vendors on the quadrant, while customers say its video solution is not fully mature, says Preset.

" The market is also extremely competitive and a lot of buyers gravitate toward bundled web conferencing products like Microsoft and Google rather than standalone web conferring products," said Preset.

Niche Player: Arkadin

Paris-based collaboration service provider Arkadin tied for last place in execution on the quadrant and ranked only ahead of Google for vision.

"They're easy to use and straight forward and work well especially when you need tight integration with audio conferencing," said Preset. "Arkadin recently did a huge refresh of their user interface which worked out well."

Aradkin offers SaaS and managed service deployment options for its ArkadinAnywhere product.


Strengths: Gartner says Arkadin offers localized versions of its product in many languages and employs local support personnel, which appeals to global and regional enterprises.

Customers select ArkadinAnywhere because it is intuitive and easy to use, according to Gartner.

Cautions: ArkadinAnywhere is a general, horizontal communications solution that offers no specialized features for particular industries and doesn't offer capabilities to embed its product in other applications to support workflows and communications-enabled business processes, said Preset.

" For them, it is a very competitive space and it's rare to see a client select the ArkadinAnywhere product if they don't already have interest in other Arkadin services like their audio conferencing," said Preset.