With video communication becoming easier and cheaper to use, will its use in businesses increase? According to a new study from Cisco, the next generation of corporate executives intends to rely heavily on business-class video.
The report, the 2013 Cisco Global Young Executives' Video Attitudes Survey, queried 1,300 management-track up-and-comers, age 34 and under. Conducted for Cisco by Redshift Research, the survey found that 3 out of 5 young executives say they will rely more heavily on business-class video during the next five to 10 years than they have in the past. Cisco is a big player in the business video space, with WebEx, TelePresence, and Cisco Pulse video analytics.
Of those who intend to manage teams with 51 or more members, 70 percent said they expect to rely more heavily on video in their careers. Respondents cited the top benefits of video communications as being the ability to read visual clues, to "be there" without traveling, and to share content in real-time.
'Significant and Positive Impact'
Additionally, video communications are seen as a way to customize and enhance an experience beyond what one could do in a physical face-to-face meeting. Customizing an experience, which 54 percent of those surveyed indicated an interest in doing, includes conducting a quick video edit after a conversation has concluded and then sharing the result via social media or, if they joined a video meeting late, quickly scanning the previous meeting to catch up.
Eighty-seven percent of those surveyed said that video communication also has a "significant and positive impact" on an organization because of such benefits as enhancing telecommuters' experience and saving on travel costs. Other benefits include assisting with language challenges by indicating how a conversation is going because of visual cues, and building direct rapport between cultures.
Next-generation features are of interest to 21 percent of those surveyed, such as real-time language translations via close captioning or pop-up bubbles with background information on participants pulled from such sources as LinkedIn or Salesforce.com.
Ninety-four percent of surveyed organizations with 400 employees or fewer said they saw video as a "way to break down language barriers" in the global market, and 87 percent said they would choose to work for an organization that uses business-class video over one that does not, because the video-enabled organization shows that it is using technology to drive growth.
A key assumption by this generation is that business-level video will be simple to use, has high quality, and is as commonly available as a phone, an instant message, or e-mail. If it meets these conditions, 84 percent of respondents indicated that they would use video at least 1 out of every 4 times when they talk to someone in another location. Fifty-three percent indicated they might use business video for remote business interactions 50 percent to 100 percent of the time.
Of course, video communication is not always appropriate, even between remote participants who have the technology. The most-mentioned inappropriate situations were when one's office was messy, when one is concerned about personal appearance, when one of the participants wants to multitask or eat, or if one of the participants is generally not comfortable with video.
Brad Shimmin, an analyst with industry research firm Current Analysis, noted that business video can be a powerful tool for the dissemination of knowledge within an organization, particularly when the technology includes speech-to-text recognition that can become part of a knowledge base.
Video can be effective, he said, "for capturing complex situations, like debriefing an engineer after a client engagement," and then quickly making that textualized content available to others.