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COVID-19 Accelerates the Pace of Video Change

By: Steve Vonder Haar

Senior Analyst with Wainhouse Research

Business video is changing right in front of our eyes.

For more than a decade, a variety of video solutions have vied to capture the imagination of office workers. Collaboration solutions like Cisco’s Webex have made remote meetings more engaging. Similarly, streaming platforms enable “webcasts” that make it possible for executives to deliver a message to hundreds – even thousands – of remote workers at the same time.

And certainly, usage of online video in the enterprise has increased at a steady, pleasant clip in recent years. Of the 2,004 individuals surveyed by Wainhouse Research in the fourth quarter of 2019, 61% had reported watching at least 30 minutes of business video weekly. That’s up from 56% in 2018 and 53% in 2017.

The increasing usage had signaled a classic evolution of a successful business technology: As organizations expanded their investments in video-enabling platforms, more workers have come to incorporate video as a key tool for communicating internally and externally.

In 2020, this evolution has bloomed into a full-scale video revolution.

Work-from-home mandates necessitated by COVID-19 have shined a spotlight of attention on video collaboration services like Cisco WebEx, Microsoft Teams and Zoom. Each of these services – and others – have reported massive spikes in usage during the first half of 2020 as workers embraced new tools to help them stay engaged and productive while working from home.

For many workers, it’s their first extended experience with using video for business communications. It’s an immersive experiment with the potential to fundamentally change how video novices perceive – and ultimately use – the technology for years to come.

Simply put, the best predictor of future video use is past video use. And Wainhouse survey results suggest that video just might be the ultimate viral technology in the enterprise. Workers that use video extensively have the greatest interest in seeing their organization implement even more video capabilities. On the flip side, those who don’t use video for work really could care less about getting access to video capabilities.

The correlation in video adoption also extends to the different flavors of video used in the enterprise. As illustrated below, individuals who use video collaboration services like Cisco Webex on a frequent basis are the most likely to view one-to-many streaming webcasts, as well. Among those participating in PC-based video collaboration sessions on a daily basis, a cumulative 86% report that they also watch one-to-many streaming video at least weekly. And among the video laggards, those who never participate in PC-based video meetings, only 14% watch streaming video on a weekly basis.

These adoption trends are particularly meaningful when viewed through the prism of the current COVID-19 crisis. More people than ever before are developing substantial experience with using video collaboration solutions as they work from home.

History tells us that this experience in using video collaboration will manifest itself in the form of increased interest in using other forms of business video, such as one-to-many streaming. Information technology teams need to be aware of this new, percolating interest in business video and begin identifying the tools and solutions to address their co-workers’ emerging needs.

Wainhouse Research has recently published a white paper that discusses video’s role the shifting digital workplace and provides suggestions on how to prepare your organization for the changes ahead.

Click here to download a free copy of the report

Also, mark your calendars for a July 30 webinar featuring a discussion between myself and Vbrick CEO Shelly Heiden in which we will explore these themes of video digital workplace transformation in greater detail. Register for this free online event.

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