Some of our survey respondents gave their views on ‘What's stopping you from doing more video conferencing in your job today?’

We are a physically dispersed research house – and we are all using Macs – so the built-in desktop cappability of the Macs facilitates desktop videoconferencing.  No preparation is done, no special rooms required.  We meet, when needed, on demand.  When?  Usually when other communications modes fail the test – whether IM or voice.  IM, which we use constantly, is great for info imparting, but does a poor job on emotions.  And tempers can escalate, curiously, with IM, for more than with either voice or video conferencing.  Ad-hoc videoconferencing is not, of course, anything like the new Cisco collaboration tools, and nor is it like the specialixed conference suited of 20 years ago which also sported dedicated rooms and shared video space ideas- (indeed first heard that term at Bell Northern Research in the late 70's).  Informal vs. formal, no set-up – audio chat, up to 10 stations, and video chat up to 4 stations (you conceivably could use it for 8+ people), bandwith?  Even DSl lite will work.  What is stopping us using it more?  We use it for exceptional circumstance, not typical interaction.  Alfthough it is free, it does intrude in workspace and workflow.  Usual interaction is done with IM.  Investment?  Well, iChat, the Mac implementation is free – no investment required.  We understand that next generation will also add document review – but we can get that now with Acrobat Pro and just distributing docs through IM or email.  Do not see need for formal conferencing suites in out business, but can see the need in larger comapnies, complex project management, or any  area where emotionmay play a part.

Lain Grant, Seaboard Group, Canada

Related study: The Perfect Storm: Why Video Conferencing will Dominate Business Communications

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