VC Expected to be Preferred Business Communications by 2016

Polycom has announced that almost all (96 percent) business decision makers believe video conferencing removes distance barriers and improves productivity between teams in different cities and countries. According to the “Global View: Business Video Conferencing Usage and Trends” survey of more than 1,200 business decision makers, conducted by Redshift Research and commissioned by Polycom, video conferencing is an essential tool helping improve team collaboration and closing the physical and cultural gap between colleagues doing business across distances.

Video Conferencing Becoming Pervasive in Business

The survey found that video is becoming more pervasive in businesses across the globe. When asked to choose their preferred methods of communications today, respondents ranked video conferencing third (47 percent) after e-mail (89 percent) and voice/conference calls (64 percent), and those same business leaders and managers expect video to be their most preferred collaboration tool in three years (52 percent), followed by e-mail (51 percent) and voice/conference calls (37 percent). Respondents who use video conferencing today said the three biggest advantages are: better collaboration between globally dispersed colleagues (54 percent), greater clarity of topics being discussed (45 percent) and more efficient meetings (44 percent).

Over three quarters of decision-maker respondents (76 percent) are now using video conferencing at work with 56 percent of video users taking part in video calls at least once a week. The survey found that in Brazil, India and Singapore that number jumps up significantly, as more than two-thirds of respondents in those countries use video conferencing at least once a week.

The survey also revealed that 83 percent of respondents, and almost 90 percent of those in their 20s and 30s, use consumer video conferencing solutions at home today, and almost half of all respondents use video conferencing at home at least once a week.

“The growing popularity of video conferencing at home, especially by millennials entering the workforce, is a big driver of increased preference for and adoption of video collaboration in the workplace,” said Jim Kruger, EVP and Chief Marketing Officer at Polycom. “Some key factors to making video as popular in the office as it is at home is ensuring it’s easy to use, providing a high quality connection, delivering enterprise-grade security, and participants’ willingness to accept and adapt to cultural differences as they communicate across borders. We’re seeing businesses around the world defy distance every day using video collaboration, including increasing productivity, enhancing employee engagement, improving time to market and helping to save lives.”

The study also showed that laptops and desktops are the most popular devices for business video conferencing (75 percent of respondents), followed by conference rooms (48 percent) and mobile devices (42 percent). As video conferencing continues to become more pervasive, in three years laptops and desktops are still expected to be the most preferred device (72 percent), while mobile devices and conference room usage will increase to 55 and 51 percent, respectively.

Survey Uncovers Recommendations for Ideal Videoconferences and Distractions to Avoid
The survey provided sharp insights from video conferencing users into which behaviors constitute an ideal video meeting, and which are distracting for business decision makers.

The survey found the top three most important criteria for an ideal video meeting are:
•The ability to hear everyone clearly (69 percent)
•Technology that is straight forward and easy to use (60 percent)
•Good eye contact with colleagues/ everyone is clearly visible (58 percent)

Respondents who use video conferencing said the most distracting things, which should be avoided during video meetings, are:
•Mobile phone going off during a meeting (58 percent)
•People attending from inappropriate places – e.g., public transit, in stores (52 percent)
•People who are multi-tasking or look distracted – e.g., tapping on keyboard – (51 percent)
•Inappropriate background distractions such as colleagues, music, noise (50 percent)

What one country finds distracting, another doesn’t mind

The Polycom survey shed light on different opinions between users of video collaboration in various countries, where one activity may be distracting in one country but accepted in another.

•Appearance matters (sort of). When asked if people not wearing business attire was a distraction, respondents from India, Singapore and Poland topped the list (30, 26 and 21 percent, respectively), and on the other end of the spectrum, 13 percent or fewer of respondents in the UK, France, Russia and The Netherlands find attire to be a distraction.

•APAC sees video as critical tool for global business. In the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region, international communications (between colleagues in different countries) ranked as the most important use of video conferencing (65 percent), versus 57 percent for inter-country communications.

•Close the deal. India leads the way in using video conferencing for new business with 60 percent of respondents saying they use or would use video conferencing for new business, followed by Russia and Brazil at 49 and 44 percent, respectively. Across the globe, 38 percent of respondents use video, or would use video, for new business.

•See me, hire me. The U.S. leads the way in leveraging video conferencing for recruitment and hiring, as 32 percent of video respondents said they use or would use video for this purpose, followed by APAC at 28 percent.

•Flexible working. In the Europe, Middle-East and Africa (EMEA) region, respondents were mostly using video conferencing to empower flexible working environments, which was cited as the second highest reason for using the technology, after “connecting with colleagues across the country.”

Occupational variations:
As access to video conferencing increases to virtually all employees with a mobile device or laptop, the survey found that video users in various business functions within organizations use video to defy distance in slightly differing ways:

•CEOs and founders rated flexible working and inter- office/local meetings (50 percent each) as their top reasons they use or would use video conferencing, followed by international meetings (46 percent), new business/sales and company/department meetings (39 percent each).

During an average week, the marketing function uses video collaboration the most frequently (64 percent use video at least weekly) in an organization, followed by IT/engineering and facilities (62 percent use video at least weekly). However, when it comes to daily usage of video at work, the HR function is the power user (32 percent indicate they use video conferencing daily), followed by sales executives (28 percent indicate they use video conferencing daily).

•The IT/engineering and manufacturing/supply chain functions are most likely to use video collaboration for international meetings, with 61 and 58 percent of respondents, respectively, saying they use or would use video to collaborate face to face with colleagues internationally. In fact, according to the survey results, these are the two job functions that use video collaboration more for international meetings than local, in-country video meetings.

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David Dungay

Editor - Comms Business Magazine
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