Video conferencingThere are many benefits that come along with video conferencing technology. While these benefits continue to mount, though, adoption of this near-miraculous technology continues to move at a snail’s pace.

As earnings are not meeting projections, and adoption of the technology continues to move more slowly than expected, it would seem that the issue is not with the technology itself but rather with perceptions of that technology, and work habits surrounding it. Nearly every employee already has a smartphone or tablet that can make a video call, or has a webcam on their computer — yet they still choose to not use these productivity tools.

Do We Want To?

But let’s ask ourselves — do we want them to, at this point? In the not-too-distant past, the only employees who would meet with a client’s representative would be sales people, your delivery people, or senior management staff. Now, with video conferencing technology, you’re enabling everyone to get involved in the process of meeting clients. You can have Joe in your accounting department meet Sally in your client company’s shipping department, which may or may not be a good trend. Are people from all departments ready to meet outsiders? And should they? Or is this too much, an over-ambitious move?

Having opened up the doors to “video conferencing everywhere,” should we now limit them again somehow? And if so, how?


Hurdles to Adoption

Recently, Cisco Systems examined the market for video in several national markets: The U.S., the U.K., Sweden, Spain, Russia, Norway, the Netherlands, Germany, France, Denmark, China and Australia. They found that the major hurdles for adoption of video conferencing were difficulty, cost, and desire. People find it easier to refuse something that they’ve never tried. If they’ve never experienced the convenience of a video conferencing call across previously limiting geographical lines, then it’s easier to say “no” to it. If they haven’t experienced the ease of having a colleague on a different continent behave as if they were sitting right next to them, then what else is there to say?

Is Technology Difficult

Many feel that the technology is simply too complicated. The same Cisco survey showed that 35 percent of users lack experience with this sort of technology. Sure, something new can be odd at first, but most services offer education to ease the transition.

Strangely, a quarter of those responding didn’t want to be seen. What’s happening to the art of face-to-face meetings? It doesn’t seem to mean as much today is it did in the past. Is there no longer any value to looking a client in the eye while discussing an idea or illustrating a point? Video conferencing can offer the intimacy of a one-on-one meeting, but only if the participants allow.

Is Video Conferencing Unnatural?

One more interesting obstacle for video conferencing’s adoption found in the study was that 18 percent of respondents thought that the technology was unnatural. Unnatural? Sheesh!

Twenty years or so ago, sure, that might have been true in a different sense, with the slow transmission rates and such. But today, with its widespread use, the technology has drastically improved. Today it can provide not only high quality audio, but HQ video as well, not to mention transparency. It’s not entirely unlike watching TV or a movie; the only difference is that the stars are your colleagues and clients. And the plot could probably be a bit better.

New Tricks for Old Dog?

It’s a truism that it’s difficult to teach new tricks to an old dog. For many people who’ve been in their industry for a long time, video conferencing may well fit right into this category. Even though adoption rates are slow, however, they’re still headed in the right direction. As more users enjoy the benefits of collaborating easier, sharing materials easier, and reducing travel costs, the faster the adoption will come.

Article WritingAbout The Author

Michelle Patterson is excited with the new technologies that are threatening to change the way we stay in touch and communicate, particular in business. She works with companies that are introducing these technologies to make understanding them easy for regular people.