Young guns wanna see you

Cisco survey finds video becoming a key business tool for up-and-comers

Young executives see a vital role for business-class video in the workplace as a means to connect and communicate with virtually all constituencies - colleagues, suppliers, customers, prospects, and product development and services teams. This is the finding of a survey unveiled this week by Cisco.

Those on the fast track aged 34 and under say they will rely on video during the next five to 10 years to save on travel costs, attract top talent, enhance the experience of telecommuters, and even break down language barriers in global organizations. Eighty-seven percent of the 1,300 survey respondents say they would choose to work for a video-enabled organization vs. one without because they view it as an enterprise harnessing technology to fuel business growth.

[PUSHING IT HARD: Business video: Get ready for the surge]

Today, the young aspirants see video as a way to be virtually there without being there, to read visual cues and to share content in real-time. Tomorrow - when they are older, stodgier executives - they expect to be able to further customize and enhance the experience through the ability to quickly edit or cut a video recording from a meeting and share it via social media tools; and privately watch or listen to earlier meeting content if they arrive late.

One-fifth said they are interested in features like real-time language translation and pop-up bubbles providing background information on participants.

But it's got to be accessible and easy to use. If video were as simple and pervasive as other common communications tools, like phones, e-mail and instant messaging, 84% said they'd turn to video at least 25% of the time they are communicating remotely.

Over half said they would be "power users" who use video for almost all of their off-site interactions if the quality of the video was high. Twenty-five percent and fewer said "low quality" video - such as Internet-based videoconferencing - would be acceptable for internal meetings, ad hoc interactions, and interfacing with customers, suppliers, prospects and top management.

But none of this will matter unless participants are comfortable in front of the camera. The top five reasons they wouldn't be include a messy office, concerns about personal appearance, a penchant for multitasking, hunger, and a general uneasiness about participating in video interaction.

Cisco commissioned its 2013 Global Young Executives' Video Attitudes Survey to better understand the current and future attitudes young management-track professionals have about business-class video. The countries that participated in the survey, which was distributed by RedShift Research, were Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Norway, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States.

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