The 2 biggest factors that will determine your company’s videoconferencing usage

Mobile is driving enterprise video collaboration, but IT departments need to assess what their firm’s needs will be. Here’s a starting point

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I’ve read a fair number of surveys, studies, infographics (and yes, even the occasional listicle) citing the most sought after enterprise technology products, but there’s always one glaring omission: the crystal ball.

Imagine what that shiny piece of hardware could do for a CIO or network administrator. It would give them the power, when choosing new technology, to know beforehand whether their staff will actually use it, how it will affect their business and how quickly it will become obsolete in today’s ridiculously fast tech landscape.

So far, no one’s developed a crystal ball like that for IT managers to peer into (Tim Cook, are you listening?). While we’re waiting on that, let’s peer at some new research that might help them map out their future plans around videoconferencing and video collaboration technology.

In its study, vendor Vyopta looks at video usage data from over 60 large enterprises between 2013 and 2015. Most of those surveyed have over 1,000 employees; over half of them have over 10,000. Here’s our roundup of the main findings.

Fast gains

Between 2013 and 2015, videoconferencing usage among the surveyed organizations doubled from a median of 0.9 million minutes per year to 1.9 million minutes per year. “Video usage in the enterprise is growing quickly,” the study summarizes.

The biggest users

Healthcare organizations were the biggest users of videoconferencing technology, representing 16 per cent of all usage in the report. The tech industry was a close second at 15 per cent, followed by the finance sector at 11 per cent.

Size matters (sort of)

As the researchers expected, the largest organizations (with over 10,000 employees) used the most video minutes. Surprisingly, however, the smallest organizations (less than 1,000 employees) used more video minutes than the medium enterprises that had 1,000 to 10,000 workers.

When they drilled a bit deeper, the researchers realized that two factors have a far greater impact on video usage than a company’s size: the type of workers it employs and where they’re located. Companies with a higher proportion of knowledge workers use more video, as do those whose staff are widely dispersed geographically. Two business streams in particular – technology and consulting – tick both those boxes and have high video usage stats as a result.

Mobile motivators

Mobile is driving enterprise video collaboration usage. The number of video minutes originating from software endpoints like laptops grew by 291 per cent between 2013 and 2015. That’s more than twice as fast as the 128 per cent video growth rate for traditional fixed hardware endpoints.

How can IT managers use this information when planning their future video deployment or expansion? Well, if your CEO or CFO asks, “Isn’t our shop too small to really get any use out of a video solution?” this study proves that smaller businesses actually get more mileage out of video than medium sized ones.

If there’s any speculation about whether your staff will actually use the video solution you’re going to adopt, take a look at their jobs. If many of them are knowledge-based employees working in teams whose members are geographically scattered, your organization will likely get a lot of mileage out of video conferencing and collaboration.

Based on this research, mobility is another factor to take into account. Since mobility drives usage, consider selecting a video solution that offers easy deployment, great user experience, high video and audio quality and wide functionality on mobile devices. If you’ve already got a hardware-based video system installed at headquarters or in key executive offices, try to select mobile devices and apps that will integrate well with it.

I’m going to go finish my cup of tea now. There are leaves at the bottom and my Chinese grandma used to read those things way before anyone ever dreamed of predictive analytics.

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