India leads in those using video conferencing for new businesses

NEW DELHI: Polycom, has announced that almost all (96 per cent) business decision makers believe video conferencing removes distance barriers and improves productivity between teams in different cities and countries, with India, Brazil and Singapore showing significant usage.

According to the “Global View: Business Video Conferencing Usage and Trends” survey of more than 1,200 business decision makers, conducted by Redshift Research and commissioned by Polycom, video conferencing is an essential tool helping improve team collaboration and closing the physical and cultural gap between colleagues doing business across distances. 

India leads the way in using video conferencing for new business with 60 per cent of respondents saying they use or would use video conferencing for new business. This was followed by Russia and Brazil at 49 and 44 per cent, respectively.  Across the globe, 38 per cent of respondents use video, or would use video, for new business.

The survey found that video is becoming more pervasive in businesses across the globe.  When asked to choose their preferred methods of communications today, respondents ranked video conferencing third (47 per cent) after e-mail (89 per cent) and voice/conference calls (64 per cent), and those same business leaders and managers expect video to be their most preferred collaboration tool in three years (52 per cent), followed by e-mail (51 per cent) and voice/conference calls (37 per cent).  Respondents who use video conferencing today said the three biggest advantages are: better collaboration between globally dispersed colleagues (54 per cent), greater clarity of topics being discussed (45 per cent) and more efficient meetings (44 per cent).

Over three quarters of decision-maker respondents (76 per cent) are now using video conferencing at work with 56 per cent of video users taking part in video calls at least once a week.  The survey found that in Brazil, India and Singapore that number jumps up significantly, as more than two-thirds of respondents in those countries use video conferencing at least once a week. 

The survey also revealed that 83 per cent of respondents, and almost 90 per cent of those in their 20s and 30s, use consumer video conferencing solutions at home today, and almost half of all respondents use video conferencing at home at least once a week. 

“The growing popularity of video conferencing at home, especially by millennials entering the workforce, is a big driver of increased preference for and adoption of video collaboration in the workplace,” said Polycom EVP and chief marketing operator Jim Kruger.

“Some key factors to making video as popular in the office as it is at home is ensuring it’s easy to use, providing a high quality connection, delivering enterprise-grade security, and participants’ willingness to accept and adapt to cultural differences as they communicate across borders.  We’re seeing businesses around the world defy distance every day using video collaboration, including increasing productivity, enhancing employee engagement, improving time to market and helping to save lives,” he added. 

The study also showed that laptops and desktops are the most popular devices for business video conferencing (75 per cent of respondents), followed by conference rooms (48 per cent) and mobile devices (42 per cent).  As video conferencing continues to become more pervasive, in three years laptops and desktops are still expected to be the most preferred device (72 per cent), while mobile devices and conference room usage will increase to 55 and 51 per cent, respectively.

The survey provided sharp insights from video conferencing users into which behaviours constitute an ideal video meeting, and which are distracting for business decision makers. 

The survey found the top three most important criteria for an ideal video meeting are: the ability to hear everyone clearly (69 per cent); technology that is straight forward and easy to use (60 per cent); and Good eye contact with colleagues/ everyone is clearly visible (58 per cent).

Respondents who use video conferencing said the most distracting things, which should be avoided during video meetings, are: Mobile phone going off during a meeting (58 per cent), people attending from inappropriate places – e.g., public transit, in stores (52 per cent), people who are multi-tasking or look distracted – e.g., tapping on keyboard – (51 per cent), and inappropriate background distractions such as colleagues, music, noise (50 per cent).

The Polycom survey shed light on different opinions between users of video collaboration in various countries, where one activity may be distracting in one country but accepted in another. 

When asked if people not wearing business attire was a distraction, respondents from India, Singapore and Poland topped the list (30, 26 and 21 per cent, respectively), and on the other end of the spectrum, 13 per cent or fewer of respondents in the UK, France, Russia and The Netherlands find attire to be a distraction.

 In the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region, international communications (between colleagues in different countries) ranked as the most important use of video conferencing (65 per cent), versus 57 per cent for inter-country communications. 

The U.S. leads the way in leveraging video conferencing for recruitment and hiring, as 32 per cent of video respondents said they use or would use video for this purpose, followed by APAC at 28 per cent.  

In the Europe, Middle-East and Africa (EMEA) region, respondents were mostly using video conferencing to empower flexible working environments, which was cited as the second highest reason for using the technology, after “connecting with colleagues across the country.” 

As access to video conferencing increases to virtually all employees with a mobile device or laptop, the survey found that video users in various business functions within organisations use video to defy distance in slightly differing ways: 

CEOs and founders rated flexible working and inter- office/local meetings (50 per cent each) as their top reasons they use or would use video conferencing, followed by international meetings (46 per cent), new business/sales and company/department meetings (39 per cent each), and during an average week, the marketing function uses video collaboration the most frequently (64 per cent use video at least weekly) in an organisation, followed by IT/engineering and facilities (62 per cent use video at least weekly).  However, when it comes to daily usage of video at work, the HR function is the power user (32 per cent indicate they use video conferencing daily), followed by sales executives (28 per cent indicate they use video conferencing daily). The IT/engineering and manufacturing/supply chain functions are most likely to use video collaboration for international meetings, with 61 and 58 per cent of respondents, respectively, saying they use or would use video to collaborate face to face with colleagues internationally. In fact, according to the survey results, these are the two job functions that use video collaboration more for international meetings than local, in-country video meetings.

All respondents, regardless of role, predominantly used video conferencing for inter-office meetings, followed by international inter-office meetings. Overwhelmingly, respondents said it is important to try and understand different country cultures when meeting using video conferencing (97 per cent) and 89 per cent of respondents called for etiquette rules to be established to help them better use video conferencing for business. 

To help business better navigate these differences and drive more effective use of video conferencing, Polycom is launching Polycom’s Guide to Collaborating Across Borders, an insightful new guide designed to help readers understand the nuances of doing business across the globe.  This guide is one of several new resources for business leaders across almost every enterprise function – from IT to HR to the C-suite – to learn how video conferencing can help them defy distance and achieve their goals more quickly and efficiently. 

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