A new survey by Onepath, provider of managed technology services, found that AV tools are widely used by small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) and provide a range of benefits, but too often they don’t work as expected.
AV tools like video monitors, projectors, and recorders have a long history of providing value in the workplace. Among other things, they’re useful for presentations and connecting remote workers.
But, Onepath says, AV tools are also notoriously difficult to set up and maintain, and many companies lack the time and resources to handle this responsibility. Web-based AV tools have eliminated some of these problems by shifting maintenance needs to the vendors, but too many SMBs are still woefully unprepared. This point is supported by the results of the company's findings.
“The data in our report is consistent with what we’re hearing from our clients,” said Michael Lane, director of commercial interiors and audiovisual at Onepath. “Small- and medium-sized businesses continue to make heavy use of AV tools and they’re investing in these technologies as much as ever. But it doesn’t mean the tools are foolproof, and in most cases, significant resources are needed to support their use. As new tools emerge and more companies depend on remote staff, we expect use of AV technologies to increase, creating opportunities for experienced partners like Onepath.”
AV Tools are More Popular Than Ever and Offer a Wide Range of Benefits
Eighty-eight percent of IT pros responding to Onepath’s survey said AV tools are used by company employees weekly or daily, and 59 percent said they’re used by at least half the company’s staff. Web-based video tools are the most popular (77 percent), followed by video monitors (75 percent), projectors (68 percent), and web-based audio (64 percent).
Meanwhile, 76 percent of respondents said AV tools are being used to increase productivity, and 45 percent said they are used to eliminate employee travel. Seventy-eight percent of IT pros surveyed by Onepath said AV tools are being used to show presentations, and 77 perrcent said they’re being used to connect with remote workers.
Problems with AV Tools are Persistent and Costly
Sixty-one percent of respondents said employees experience problems with AV tools weekly or daily. Common problems include poor WiFi, web, cloud, or Bluetooth connectivity (48 percent); an inability to see or hear everyone on audio/video conferences (37 percent); and difficulties using or setting up tools (27 percent).
More troubling, however, is the perceived inability of companies to deal with these issues. Twenty-nine percent of respondents said their companies have too few people to help with AV problems, and 24 percent said IT lacks the expertise necessary to handle them. Meanwhile, 53 percent of survey respondents said at least six hours are wasted in company meetings every month due to AV challenges.
SMBs are Dedicating Significant Resources to Support AV Issues
Twenty-nine percent of survey respondents said their companies have at least eight people who are responsible for maintaining AV tools, and 62 percent of companies have at least four people.
Forty percent of respondents said their AV support staff is receiving at least 11 help requests per week, and 69 percent are fielding at least five requests every week. Forty-two percent said it’s taking at least half a day (four hours) to respond to typical AV support tickets, and 15 percent said one to two days is the average response time.
Experience with video systems (78 percent), web and cloud-based systems (76 percent), and audio systems (75 percent) scored about the same in terms of which skills are most important for maintaining AV technologies, and 58 percent said it was somewhat or very difficult to find workers with these skills.
Sixty-two percent of companies are spending at least $10,000 annually on AV tools and support, and 46 percent are getting help from an outside consultant.
The survey was conducted in January and taken by more than 100 IT decision-makers, managers, directors, and executives. To read the complete Onepath 2020 Audiovisual Trends for SMBs report, visit 1path.com/blog/audiovisual/avaas-av-trends/.