By: Steve Vonder Haar
Old habits die hard.
This truism of human nature is the bane of anybody evangelizing the adoption of new technologies in the enterprise. Even as technology improves every year, our appetite for embracing solutions that streamline business communications remains limited.
The simple truth is that most of us are comfortable in sticking with the things that work. You validate this assumption everyday if you’re among the majority of executives who usually pick up a desktop phone to make a call at work.
In an evolving world of Voice over IP, mobile devices, and unified communications, the idea of using a desktop telephone conceivably could be thought of as “old fashioned.” Instead, the basic telephone still remains a valued alternative in the business communications toolbox. More than half (55%) of the 1,007 executives participating in the Wainhouse Research Enterprise Web Communications Survey conducted in the fourth quarter of 2013 report that they use a desktop telephone for business applications.
The staying power of the telephone is remarkable. After all, we’re talking about a solution that was the staple of business communications at the same time that Ford Motor Co. was rolling out the Edsel and IBM was introducing the world to the joys of computer punch card programming – the 1950’s.
In such an environment, streaming video still seems like the new kid on the block – even after more than a decade of successful deployments by organizations leveraging the power of rich media to create more engaging forums for one-to many communications on an internal and external basis.
If you happen to be one of those people championing the use of online video within your organization, it must seem like it’s taking a lifetime to get people to change their communications habits. But, take heart, the slow-moving but sweeping tides of time are firmly on your side.
While more than half of the executives surveyed by Wainhouse Research reported regular usage of the desktop telephone in business activities, only 7% of survey participants described it as their “primary” business device.
Today, the computer is firmly entrenched in the crossroads of business activity with 61% of our survey respondents describing either desktop PCs or laptops as their “primary” device for use in business. As a result, even as usage of desktop telephones remains extensive, the computer clearly has established itself as the focal point for business use.
From this point, it’s a relatively short hop to broader adoption of webcasting capabilities within the enterprise. The PC owns the day-to-day mindshare of the majority of workers. Now, it’s simply a matter to getting more people to see the computer as a venue for experiencing video-enriched communications.
Survey results suggest progress on this front, as well. According to our recent survey, 49% of executives say that they now have access to video camera capabilities at their desktop. Champions of streaming in the enterprise undoubtedly will point out that online video adoption can do nothing but accelerate as video capabilities become more commonplace in the work environment.
While this is true, streaming champions within an organization still cannot assume that the proliferation of online video technologies is now a foregone conclusion. End users still need exposure to the technology and education on how to best weave it into their daily business activities. Without this, the technology very well could sit unused. Remember, old habits die hard.
Steve Vonder Haar is a senior analyst with Wainhouse Research and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org