New Research Finds Use of Videoconferencing Growing As an Enterprise Productivity Tool

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Video Moves from Meeting Rooms to PCs and Mobile Devices

A new global survey shows that video conferencing is becoming increasingly important as an enterprise productivity tool that keeps our mobile, global workforce connected, and that it’s expanding from the conference room environment to office desktops, home laptops and mobile devices.

In December 2012, Wainhouse Research and Polycom surveyed 4,737 end-users of video conferencing systems, representing all regions of the world as well as all company sizes and most vertical industries. The results, “End-User Survey: “The ‘Real’ Benefits of Video”, show that a key reason video is becoming the preferred way to collaborate is that it’s now available not just in the traditional video environment of the conference room but also on PCs, laptops, and mobile devices—enabling people to connect and collaborate face-to-face in any conceivable work environment. Below are more notable findings from the report:


Not only are more people using video conferencing, they’re also using it more often.
  • Among respondents who use video conferencing at least every few months, the majority (64%) use it daily or weekly. Specifically, a quarter of respondents say they video conference daily, 39% say weekly, 21% say monthly, and 14% say every few months.
  • The percentage of respondents who video conference several times a day is expected to increase significantly in the next year, as follows: General conference rooms (from 11% to 17%), office with a door (from 10% to 17%), dedicated suite (from 10% to 15%), home office (from 7% to 13%), on the road (from 3% to 9%), and cubicle (7% to 12%). What’s behind this growth?

For businesses, the top video conferencing benefit cited is increased efficiency/productivity (94%), followed by increased impact of discussions (88%), expedited decision making (87%), and reduced travel costs (87%). This is new; in the past, travel savings consistently topped the benefits lists of customers.

For individuals, video helps remote workers feel more connected to their colleagues. Of the total respondents who work from home, 87% strongly agree or agree that video conferencing allows them to do so without feeling disconnected. What are all these workers using video conferencing for?

Meeting face-to-face with customers and partners beyond the firewall is a growing use case. When asked how their companies are using video conferencing today for specific, newly emerging use cases, the top response was “Meet with Customers and Partners” (71%).

Multi-vendor environments are the norm. 60% say they “primarily use” more than one vendor’s equipment or software to videoconference; 32% use three or more. When you add in the rising use of video conferencing with customers and partners—further complicating the multi-vendor environments—it’s clear that interoperability is critical to prevent video islands that are unable to connect.

The use of video conferencing will continue to grow as it becomes more accessible to more people. The #1 driver for increased use of video conferencing is equipping more people with video (according to 94% of respondents). Other key drivers are more accessibility of video (85%), more integration of video in business software (83%), and availability in IM/UC clients such as Microsoft Lync (80%).

This survey provides some exciting insights into where video is going. Video conferencing is becoming a mission-critical enterprise system for improving employee productivity, increasing economic efficiency, keeping workers connected, building on relationships and trust and meeting face-to-face with partners and customers. It is expanding from the traditional conference room to PCs and mobile devices, which makes it available in every work environment.

Moving forward, ensuring interoperability within and across multi-vendor environments through the use of open industry standards will be critical, as will integrating video into normal business processes and familiar interfaces such as Microsoft Lync. Because, as the survey shows, more people use video conferencing when there’s more people to video conference with—Metcalfe’s Law in action. The steady growth in the number of users and the frequency of usage will continue to drive steady growth in the value of video networks for businesses of all sizes, in all regions of the globe, and across all industries.


This blog was written by Jim Kruger and contains solely his personal opinions. Jim is an IMCCA Board Member and serves as the Senior Vice President of Global Solution Marketing for Polycom.