This little clip out of this weeks Economist highlights the changing nature of conferencing. My feeling is the figures are low, tracing to corporate behaviors and traditional market definitions. The number of new products emerging in this space suggest many more see opportunities.
Then the number of informal and impromptu conferences I'm now finding myself in has increased dramatically and that traces almost entirely to free services (like Skype) that make it easier than the paid services to run small sessions of 3 to 4 people even on a whim.
Growing fastest is web conferencing, which usually combines a phone-based audio conference with a visual display (such as a slide presentation or software demonstration) delivered via a web browser. It grew by 40% last year, and hybrid web-audio conferences are now starting to displace audio-only conference calls. There is no need for fancy equipment, since most people already have a phone and a PC on their desks.