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Senior managers ‘have outdated views of videoconferencing’

Paddy Baker 10 August 2012
Senior managers 'have outdated views of videoconferencing'

Outmoded beliefs about videoconferencing held by senior managers are holidng back companies from adopting the technology, says Vidyo following a recent survey.

Not only does management misunderstand the costs of videoconferencing, it still sees the technology as an inflexible, room-based option for the use of a relatively low number of employees.

In the survey, commissioned by Vidyo, 200 senior IT managers were asked about senior management’s objections to videoconferencing. The most widely held objection was ‘cost fears’, cited by 68%, while 42% named ‘indeterminate or unquantifiable benefits’. The belief that ‘facilities may be available only to a few staff using dedicated rooms’ was mentioned by 39%, the same figure as for  ‘network bandwidth concerns’. ‘Personal dislike of video communications’ was cited by 29% of respondents.

The senior IT decision-makers were also asked about other factors affecting a decision to deploy videoconferencing. Just over three-quarters (77%) indicated that a formal cost-benefit analysis was carried out, and 49% agreed that such an analysis is the decisive factor. This, says Vidyo, suggests that the respondents themselves may be better informed than their boards in respective of the costs of videoconferencing solutions.

Eleven per cent felt 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 videoconferencing 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“Worries about network performance are also simply out of date; since the internet and mobile devices can be used to deliver high-definition conferencing then it should be clear that a corporate network isn’t likely to be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 videoconferencing, 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 produces a  software-based, flexible, customisable communication and collaboration platform.It delivers high-quality video over the internet and mobile networks, enabling customers to take advantage of the latest hardware innovations and new consumer devices.

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