It’s not unusual for users to have a love/hate relationship with video conferencing. We love what it promises: better collaboration, the ability to work from anywhere while staying connected. But when the technology isn’t right we get dropped calls, endless plug-ins to download, poor audio or video—issues that leave users seething about their experience. And, let’s face it, if users don’t love the solution you provide, video conferencing adoption suffers.
Nearly three-quarters of the organizations that Nemertes Research works with are deploying or planning to deploy a video conferencing solution. But deploying just any solution won’t guarantee adoption.
Although video conferencing technology has come a long way, not every solution is created equal—particularly when it comes to the user experience. “So many video conferencing services have complicated and difficult to understand user interfaces,” explains Peter Bean, Vice President of Channels and Partnerships for Pragmatic. “The next thing they want to do is hidden in too many buttons or menus. It amazes me how hard it is for software companies to develop an easy-to-understand UI.”
When it comes to the successful adoption of a video conferencing solution, the user experience is, in Bean’s words, “the only thing that really matters!” He added: “One thing I always look for from a new technology is how long the initial end user training is. If it can’t be learned in 10 minutes or under, you should be asking why.”
In fact, Bean advises giving a trial to your non-technical people. “See how they fair with ZERO instructions on what to do. This will be telling,” he said.
During a trial of video conferencing solutions, pay close attention to the amount of effort required from users. “The best technology requires little-to-no user interaction,” Bean said. “For example, a Polycom Group Series with an Eagle Eye Producer creates an almost interaction-free experience. The user schedules a meeting using Outlook and invites the room, as they always do when they need a room. When they walk into that room the camera and TV immediately wake up… They sit down and see their meeting on the touch panel in front of them; they click the meeting and it just connects. Then the camera auto-focuses on them, setting up the perfect shot. The video meeting begins.”
“Now think about that experience for a moment,” Bean suggests, “the user touched a handle to open the door, and clicked a touch panel with a meeting listed on it. That’s it. The technology takes care of everything else for them.”
Making video conferencing capabilities ubiquitous also facilitates adoption. That’s where cloud delivery of video collaboration can make widespread availability of video not only feasible, but scalable and cost-effective for organizations of all sizes. Bean said, “In the past, video was only available on endpoints or in rooms using special systems. Now we can connect from any device, anywhere, making video something people can truly use when they need it on-demand—not just for special circumstances.”
What’s more, Bean added, “with cloud, capacities are much higher. Go ahead and have that large meeting with everyone, and don’t worry about whether you have enough connections in your room.”
When the user experience isn’t part of the evaluation process of new technology, no one feels the hate more than IT. To keep those seething helpdesk tickets out of your inbox, choose a video conferencing solution that users don’t have to worry about—regardless of where they are or what device they’re on—and you have a match made in heaven.