Removing the Training Wheels in Business Communications

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By: Steve Vonder Haar

Do you remember how you learned to ride a bike?

If so, you have a great head start on figuring out how to encourage broader usage of streaming video within your organization.

My hunch is that you just didn’t hop on your shiny new Schwinn when you were a kid to start pedaling down the street. If you’re anything like me, you spent quite a bit of time bouncing along with training wheels while you got the hang of keeping your balance on the cycle.

It’s human nature, after all, to start off with something easy and familiar. You graduate to more daring tasks only after mastering the basics.

In the world of business communications, streaming video is the equivalent of a sleek two-wheeler. It sure looks pretty nifty when you watch other people using it. But there’s always some trepidation for those using it for the first time.

Lucky for you, online video has its own set of training wheels in the corporate world. It’s called web conferencing.

Executives who may otherwise be wary of the technical challenges associated with watching video on their business PC have fewer hang-ups in making that first leap into collaboration. After all, venues like WebEx and GoToMeeting are just extensions of the familiar conference calls they’ve always used: the only difference with web conferencing is that you can watch some slides pass by onscreen while you talk on the phone.

Soon enough, though, web conferencing helps one grow accustomed to thinking about the PC as a viable window for business communications. After experiencing a couple of meetings, you might plug in a headset into the computer and join an online meeting without using the telephone.

Over time, you might even start experimenting with webcam video as part of your web meetings. At least that what seems to happen to most users as they begin to use web conferencing more frequently. In a survey of 1,201 corporate executives in the fourth quarter 2014, Wainhouse Research found that more than nine out of 10 individuals who use web conferencing solutions at least weekly have experienced webcam video during at least some of their collaboration sessions. Among those using web conferencing less than monthly, in contrast, only 32% have used webcam video while participating in a web conference.

Archive Content from Web Conferencing Platform - Infographic

And, for those who use web conferencing frequently, it’s just a short step to ripping off the training wheels and leaping head first into the world of one-to-many streaming video in the enterprise. Thirty-four percent of executives who use web conferencing daily report that their organizations have already deployed technology solutions that make it possible to archive meeting content originating on web conferencing platforms for later on-demand viewing. Another 38% of these frequent users of web conferencing say they are “very interested” in implementing this type of streaming-style solution.

Among executives who use web conferencing less than monthly, in comparison, only 14% work at organizations that have implemented the tools needed to capture meeting content for later distribution on-demand.

In short, it’s fair to view web conferencing as the gateway that helps introduce reluctant executives to enriched interactivity via connected networks. While we must stop short of saying that exposure to collaboration solutions actually causes individuals to embrace streaming video options, it’s hard to deny the correlation between the two.

So, if you’re among the set of executives aiming to popularize streaming video among your co-workers, perhaps your best bet is to take a step back and invest in some training wheels. It may be the single smartest thing that you can do to foster adoption of streaming video over the long haul. After all, once you learn how to ride a bike, you never forget.

Steve Vonder Haar is a Senior Analyst with Wainhouse Research and can be reached at svonder@wainhouse.com.   

 

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