Video conferencing is evolving rapidly – how it’s used, where it’s used, by whom and for what – and its use as an enterprise productivity tool is also growing rapidly, says a new survey of almost 5,000 enterprise video end-users around the world, fielded by Wainhouse Research and Polycom, Inc.
The survey results, published under the name “End-User Survey: The ‘Real’ Benefits of Video,” reveals some notable insights into the business benefits of video conferencing, deployment trends, use cases, adoption and insights for future growth.
The top benefit of video conferencing is increased efficiency/productivity (94 percent), followed by increased impact of discussions (88 percent); expedited decision making (87 percent), and reduced travel costs (87 percent).
When asked how their companies are using video conferencing today for specific, newly emerging use cases, “Meet with Customers and Partners” is the top response (71 percent).
Quarter of respondents say they video conference daily, 39 percent weekly, 21 percent monthly, and 14 percent every few months.
Multivendor environments are the norm, so interoperability is critical – 60 percent say they “primarily use” more than one vendor’s equipment or software to videoconference; 32 percent use three or more.
Video helps remote workers feel more connected to their colleagues. Of the total respondents who work from home, 87 percent 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,” said Andy Miller, President and CEO, Polycom. “In addition to helping foster a more productive and engaged workforce, video collaboration helps enterprises and organisations 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.”
In December 2012, Wainhouse Research, underwritten by Polycom, surveyed 4,737 end-users of video conferencing systems. The survey respondents represent all global regions, with 63 percent from North America, 27 percent from Asia/Pacific, 9 percent from EMEA, and 1 percent from Latin America. All company sizes are represented, from small businesses with 1-49 employees (20 percent of respondents) to very large companies with more than 10,000 employees (17 percent) and all points in-between.
According to the study, users are leveraging video conferencing across devices, environments – in the office in conference rooms and on PCs, and increasingly at home or remotely on mobile devices.
Desktop PCs and laptops are 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 are the most popular environments for video conferencing today. 79 percent of respondents use video in conference rooms, 69 percent use video in offices.
The fastest growing video conferencing environment is “on the road” – which includes airports, hotels and client sites.
PCs are the #1 device for video, but the age of mobile has clearly arrived. Over 90 percent of respondents have a Smartphone, and 75 percent have a tablet. More than 77 percent of respondents use their smartphone for business, and 50 percent use their tablet for business.
Respondents expect the use of mobile devices for video collaboration will continue to surge over the next year.
The report notes 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 IM/UC clients such as Microsoft Lync (80 percent).
“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,” said Ira M. Weinstein, senior analyst and partner at Wainhouse Research. “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. By focusing its efforts on these hot spots, Polycom continues to make video easier to buy, easier to deploy, easier to manage, and easier to use.”