Video Conferencing Still Underused by Businesses

Although the Polycom survey uncovered the many benefits of using video collaboration, results indicate barriers to broad adoption still exist.

video conferencing and polycom

More than 90 percent of those who regularly use video to collaborate are experiencing higher productivity, better teamwork, financial savings and reduced travel expenses, according to a worldwide survey commissioned by Polycom and conducted by Quocirca.

In addition, the survey found more than 80 percent of respondents directly link their fiscal savings to making faster business decisions and improving employee work/life balance.

"While most investment in video collaboration has so far been justified through expense reduction, and in the survey with Quocirca, we did see more than 95 percent of those polled listed cost savings as one of the biggest benefits, that's just the tip of the iceberg," Roger Farnsworth, senior director of global cloud and services solutions marketing at Polycom, told eWEEK. "We're seeing a fundamental cultural shift in the business world today where more open collaboration environments are preferred, and video is a key catalyst for that shift."

More than 85 percent of North American individual users, at all levels of the organization, connect with peers through video—the most of any region, and more than 90 percent of North American companies use room-based systems—also the highest of any region.

Although the survey uncovered the many benefits of using video collaboration, barriers to broad adoption still exist.

The survey found more than 50 percent of people who regularly use video rarely or never need IT to help them place a call, reinforcing the ease of use with today's solutions.

"As with many new technologies, video collaboration must overcome some cultural and procedural hurdles. Today's video tools are easier to use than ever; however, those surveyed revealed that, initially, there was the perception that video was complicated to use," Farnsworth said. "I believe this to be a common misperception, and exposure to the tools quickly overcomes that bias."

One of every two people surveyed also suggested that having more access to video would increase use; however, few organizations have broadly rolled out video to desktop and mobile users, and typically have limited availability of video to the larger conference rooms.

A little under half (45 percent) of end users surveyed frequently use their mobile devices, such as tablets, laptops and mobile phones, to join a video conference, and 35 percent of digital natives—workers who are 25 years or younger and will define the future of work—use video frequently and from anywhere.

These numbers are expected to grow as the amount of mobile devices increases and organizations continue to offer more flexible working arrangements, according to the report.

The survey also found North America has the highest use of connecting to a call through instant messaging, and 65 percent of North Americans say the technologically savvy are most likely to use video, second only to Latin America at 70 percent.

Already 40 percent of North American companies use a mobile video solution, second behind the Asia-Pacific, and nearly 65 percent use virtual meeting rooms (a simple call-in bridge number) to connect, second only to Europe and the Middle East.

"No longer are we governed by a 9 to 5 work day environment, but instead, companies are globalizing by working across time zones and cultures. In other words, today's working world is to be always connected," Farnsworth said. "And with new devices entering the market, and the increased sophistication of video applications on those devices, it's adding the flexibility to connect with enterprise-grade video from anywhere and from any device. All these variables are leading to greater adoption of video now and in the near future."