Management perception of video conferencing stuck in 20th century – survey


Senior managers in UK companies are constrained by outdated, prejudiced views of videoconferencing which hinder their businesses from adopting the latest collaborative business practices, according to a new survey commissioned by Vidyo. Respondents reveal the existence of a deep misunderstanding at a senior level of the costs of videoconferencing in 2012, and that videoconferencing is still seen as an inflexible, room-based option that is strictly the preserve of a relatively low number of employees.

In the survey, all senior IT managers, were asked about senior management’s objections to video-conferencing. In a frank admission that personal prejudice towards video-conferencing remains a significant factor, senior management’s ‘personal dislike of video communications’ was an objection cited by 29% of respondents. At 68%, ‘cost fears’ topped the list; however respondents also cited ‘indeterminate or unquantifiable benefits’ at 42%, the suspicion that ‘facilities may be available only to a few staff using dedicated rooms’ at 39% and ‘network bandwidth concerns’ at 39%.

As well as indicating the concerns of senior management, respondents – all senior IT decision makers themselves – were also quizzed on other factors in play when deciding to deploy a video-conferencing solution. Only 77% indicated that a formal cost-benefit analysis formed part of the decision-making process, and only 49% agreed that such an analysis is the decisive factor, suggesting that the respondents themselves may be better informed than their boards in respective of the costs of video conferencing solutions.

Intriguingly, 11% responded that ‘personal bias towards/against video communications at a senior level’ would be the decisive factor, while a further 5% said that their own hunch is the decisive factor in any decision to deploy/not deploy.

Fraser Dean, head of sales for Vidyo in the UK, said: “These figures and others in the report seem to suggest a disconnect between board-level management – which appears to be working from decade-old knowledge – and their day-to-day IT managers who are more savvy about the possibilities that exist today.

“The reality is that high-quality, business-grade videoconferencing is available for a small fraction, perhaps 10%, of what such systems used to cost, and this is the case precisely because video-conferencing no longer requires huge investment in single-purpose telepresence rooms, standing by idly, waiting for someone to use them.

“Worries about network performance are also simply out of date; since the internet and mobile devices can be used to deliver high-definition conferencing then it should be clear that a corporate network isn’t likely to be put under any pressure – in fact the network is simply going to deliver a higher return on the investment in it.

“Personal bias against video-conferencing, whether or not it’s for one of those reasons, should also be put to bed now. Most people under the age of 35 are perfectly comfortable with video communications in the workplace because they’re used to using it privately, on their smartphone, laptop, or tablet. Since cameras exist on a vast proportion of the devices used by their staff today, senior managers should be asking themselves, shouldn’t we be using videoconferencing to bring my people together using those devices?”

Vidyo’s own communication and collaboration platform is software-based, highly flexible and is easily customised for individual enterprise or vertical market videoconferencing needs. It delivers natural, affordable, high quality video over the Internet, LTE, 3G and 4G networks, enabling customers to leverage the latest hardware innovations and new consumer devices, and to extract more value from BYOD policies.

Commissioned by Vidyo, the survey was carried out by Vanson Bourne. 200 senior IT decision-makers were polled, from companies of 35 employees upwards, across all sectors.