Survey reveals attitudes to business video conferencing

A new study commissioned by Cisco has explored the benefits of business video conferencing beyond the simple reduction in travel and other costs associated with traditional meetings and collaboration methods.

Conducted by Ipsos Mori across 12 countries, the poll of an international sample of workers has found that video conferencing offers benefits such as building trust and improving group collaboration, as well as saving valuable working time. Among those who said they frequently used video conference meetings, 90% said it saved them at least two hours of work time a week – and one-third of these respondents estimated they saved close to a full working day.

“Lost productivity costs businesses billions each year,” said Odd Johnny Winge, formerly of Tandberg and now vice president and general manger of Cisco’s Telepresence Systems business unit.

“We frequently hear from our customers how much they value the more qualitative benefits of Cisco Telepresence and this study validates those benefits are just as powerful as the often-discussed travel and cost-reduction benefits.”

One key finding of the research was that in general, both users (76%) and non-users (60%) of video collaboration technology believe that it offers some value to businesses. However existing frequent users were, perhaps inevitably, more convinced of these than non-users.

For example, 73% of frequent users said they believed it helped keep their business competitive in the market, as opposed to 42% of non-users. Similarly 71% of users said it helped bring people closer together in comparison with just 40% of non-users, with a similar difference in opinion regarding how the technology can improve the work-life balance of employees (70% vs 37%).

Both groups of respondents were agreed though on certain benefits. 68% of all respondents said that video collaboration would improve communication when employees are working from home and 67% said it would both improve group collaboration and reduce confusion when work is distributed over several different locations.

Despite the focus on other benefits, the research also touched upon how the environmental benefits of video conferencing and collaboration technology are perceived.

Across all respondents, 68% said they perceived the technology as having some benefit to the environment, whether as an aspect of the company’s overall environmental policy or through the direct reduction of needless travel. In all 12 markets surveyed by Ipsos Mori, at least 50% of workers agreed with this statement.