Video conferencing an under-utilised boon to business

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Video conferencing could be the business technology of the future but the full benefits have yet to be realised, according to a survey published today.

The report, commissioned by Polycom and conducted by Quocirca, found that 90% of those who regularly use video conferencing experience higher productivity, improved teamwork and financial savings.

Many of the respondents surveyed directly linked these fiscal savings to the enhanced ability to make faster business decisions and improving employee work/life balance.

These figures come at a time when video conferencing has yet to garner widespread use in the workplace, despite evidence of high demand. This hesitation in uptake may be due to lingering misperceptions about video conferencing.

Rob Bamforth, Principal Analyst at Quocirca, the research and analysis house, commented: "Much of the thinking that video conferencing is hard to use is based on a combination of perceptions from older hardware (which was harder to use) and mostly a lack in confidence stemming from infrequent use. It has almost been self-fulfilling. These perceptions are more prevalent in those who have been working for some time and have perhaps experienced the older systems."

"Unfortunately the potentially more tech-receptive digital natives, despite being frequent consumer users of video, are often excluded from regular business use when organisations have only deployed it for senior staff. Regular use, by all levels and in all locations is a much more healthy usage paradigm for video, just like it was for the fixed and mobile phones before."

The survey also found that 45% of end users will regularly use their mobile devices, such as tablets, laptops and mobile phones, to join a video conference, with 35% of workers under 25 using video frequently.

"The way people work is changing. Mobility, BYOD, social and collaboration solutions like video conferencing combined with the desire to reduce real estate costs are causing businesses around the world to rethink the traditional office setting," said Jim Kruger, Chief Marketing Officer, Polycom.

He added: "We’re seeing the measurable impact video collaboration is having, but with just a fraction of organisations around the globe using video regularly, the results of this survey illustrate its potential in any work environment and across every industry."

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