The use of video conferencing as an enterprise productivity tool is growing rapidly, according to a survey of almost 5,000 enterprise video users around the world.
The survey was fielded by Wainhouse Research and unified communications and collaboration specialist Polycom. The survey found the top benefit of video conferencing is increased efficiency and productivity (94 percent), followed by increased impact of discussions (88 percent), expedited decision making (87 percent) and reduced travel costs (87 percent).
A quarter of respondents said they video-conference daily, 39 percent weekly, 21 percent monthly, and 14 percent every few months. Of the total respondents who work from home, 87 percent said they strongly agree or agree that the use of video conferencing allows them to work from home without feeling disconnected.
"This comprehensive study validates what we've been seeing from our customers for years. In or out of the office, employees do their best work when they are empowered to meet and collaborate, face-to-face, over virtually any device," Polycom President and CEO Andy Miller said in a statement. "In addition to helping foster a more productive and engaged workforce, video collaboration helps enterprises and organizations thrive by enabling more-effective sales and engineering teams, better customer service and stronger partner relationships. The world is on a path to ubiquitous video."
When asked how their companies are using video conferencing today for specific, newly emerging use cases, meeting with customers and partners was the top response (71 percent). The study also revealed multivendor environments remain the norm, so interoperability is critical. Sixty percent said they primarily use more than one vendor's equipment or software to video-conference, while 32 percent use three or more.
Desktop PCs and notebooks were the most common device used for video conferencing (71 percent of respondents), followed by room/group video systems (65 percent), tablets (34 percent) and smartphones (33 percent). Conference rooms were the most popular environments for video conferencing, with 79 percent of respondents using video in conference rooms and 69 percent using video in offices.
The study also indicated that for video to grow, it needs to be available to more people and integrated into business processes. Leading drivers for increasing use of video conferencing include equipping more people with video (94 percent of respondents), more accessibility of video (85 percent of respondents), more integration of video in business software (83 percent of respondents) and availability in clients such as Microsoft Lync (80 percent).
And while PCs are currently the top device for video, the age of mobile has clearly arrived, with more than 90 percent of respondents owning a smartphone, and 75 percent owning a tablet. More than 77 percent of respondents use their smartphone for business, and 50 percent use their tablet for business. Survey respondents also said they expect the use of mobile devices for video collaboration will continue to surge over the next year.
"The longstanding misconception is that travel reduction is the only real driver of video conferencing. This survey, however, shows that soft benefits including improved efficiency and productivity and increased impact during discussions play a prominent role in the video-conferencing value proposition," Ira Weinstein, senior analyst and partner at Wainhouse Research, said in a statement. "In addition, the survey highlights the value that end-users place on several of Polycom's focus areas including ease of use, integration with presence and IM, and support for video on mobile devices."