Four Reasons Online Meeting Apps are Getting Disrupted


The demand for business collaboration is big, and only getting bigger. A 2014 forecast by analyst group Markets and Markets predicts that the enterprise collaboration market will grow from $47 billion today to over $70 billion by 2019.

The headlines have been similar for mobile technology, as business people continue to transition away from desktop computers and phones to mobile devices. Gartner recently predicted that tablets will overtake PC sales sometime next year. IDC reports that worldwide business smartphone use will continue to increase at 15.3% CAGR over the next four years.

Put two and two together, and it looks like the old guard of collaboration apps are ripe to get schooled by new solutions that put mobile workers first. Because today, those employees aren’t happy.

(Read on or skip over to Thad White’s blog post describing how our new BBM Meetings solves problems of today’s collaboration apps.)


Existing conferencing services have served us well for a decade, but they are also legacy desktop-based systems trying to reverse-engineer themselves to fit the new mobile reality. Sure, they’ve built mobile apps for all the major platforms. But they’re not optimized for mobile. They come up short in key areas that happen to have some pretty serious consequences for productivity, cost and value.

There are four key problems the longstanding solutions have:

  • Difficulty scheduling meetings from mobile
  • Difficulty joining meetings from mobile
  • Lack of support for presentations from mobile phones
  • Cost that doesn’t reflect the value for mobile professionals

Scheduling Meetings

The most popular online meeting apps make it difficult or impossible to schedule a meeting with colleagues from your mobile device. It’s much easier to do that back at the office, or have someone else do it for you. It’s not the meeting itself – The hard part is inviting attendees, since most of these apps aren’t great at accessing your work contacts. Actually, this shouldn’t be a tough nut to crack – witness the mobile messaging apps all able to do so.

Joining Meetings

On a mobile phone, you can’t have two app windows open at once. That presents a problem when you’re trying to join an online meeting. Each one has a dial-in, a passcode and a moderator code. Unless you have a Rainman-like ability to remember numbers, you’re left struggling to scribble on your hand or repeat all your PINs and ID numbers as you toggle back and forth between screens.

Presenting from Mobile

Once you get through the hoops to join a meeting via mobile, there’s another problem: you’re a second-class citizen. You can only see and talk about what everyone else is doing. Have a file you’d like to share? Too bad. You can’t present. You’ll have to email it (wasting more time). That’s only one of the advanced desktop features that mobile users miss out on. This is not what we call ‘mobile first.’

Cost vs. Value

Legacy solutions cost $25-50 per month for a host subscription—and again, most of them are crippled on mobile. That limits an organization’s ability to widely deploy a useful collaboration solution. Smaller organizations might have to share a few subscriptions, or forego collaboration apps altogether. When you can do so little from these solutions from your mobile device, why should you pay so much?

Opportunity for Disruption

If you start with mobile, you have all the advantages of this newer, more flexible platform, and none of the disadvantages of having to retrofit a solution designed for desktop.

The mobile collaboration space is begging for a better solution. We’ve been using the same solutions for over a decade. It’s time to innovate for mobile. This Thursday, look for us to announce something for enterprises that is innovative AND ‘mobile-first’.

About Matthew Talbot

I am the Senior Vice President - Emerging Solutions at BlackBerry. I have extensive International Management, Sales and Marketing background in Mobility and Cloud technologies, Financial Services, Telecommunications, and Content in both a “Start-Up” and Public company environment. This includes stints as a senior executive at SAP, Sybase, Mobile 365 and others.

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