Not Everybody Loves Desktop Videoconferencing
Proponents accept desktop videoconferencing as a key element of a unified communications platform. They may not have planned, however, for the results of a recent Forrester study that suggests a majority of workers aren't fans of this more informal approach to video in the workplace. The question is whether acceptance will grow as vendors' and service providers' presentations improve.
The story at Network World has a lot of the numbers. The bottom line is that this communications channel – which forms a key element of the current and future unified communications sector – isn't as popular as one may assume.
After all, we live in a world in which video seems to be king. But Forrester reports that 72 percent of the 5,400 business people surveyed don't want desktop video. Other numbers in the report are less surprising: Relatively few employees have access to desktop video and those numbers are skewed toward higher level executives.
There is value in the report beyond the disappointing fact – from the unified communications point of view – that a lot of proselytizing remains. For instance, the top three uses are internal communications, executive meetings and distance learning/training (51 percent, 41 percent, 33 percent, respectively). The writer provides percentages on the goals of the relatively small group – 13 percent of respondents – who don't have access but want it. He points out that the relatively low popularity of the desire to connect better with remote workers may be due to the lack of penetration of desktop video.
Not everybody is down on desktop video. Paul Valerio, writing at Enterprise Efficiency, discussed his experiences with Skype and ViVu. His reaction was positive to both. He concluded:
I believe this year video conferencing will be deployed as a standard feature on most desktops. Anybody in a sales, marketing, product management, or customer service position will start using more video to communicate. The products are there, and prices are as low as they can get.
The bottom line is that technology is not adopted in a linear fashion. The benefits of desktop video are great, but systems must be implemented adroitly and the advantages spelled out very clearly to end users.