A recent survey of 401 business professionals and IT decision-makers provided some surprising numbers about the future of conferencing.
The findings, based on a survey commissioned by Shure with Illuminas, a technology industry market research firm, included insights in the following categories:
- Benefits of audio
- Perception gaps between executives and staff
- Employee frustrations
- Impact on productivity and IT resources
- Future technology investment to support virtual meetings
- Importance of audio vs. video
One of the most interesting findings is that only 36 percent of the business professionals surveyed believe that their organizations currently have the right technology to support virtual meetings. Three out of five felt their employers had the basic technology in place but need to make improvements.
“With the continued growth of global business and remote employees, virtual meetings are more important than ever,” said Chris Merrick, director, marketing global systems at Shure. “As we continuously try to learn more about the needs of the industry, this survey provides great insight about how today’s companies are looking to prepare for tomorrow’s business needs.”
The survey included feedback from IT and business professionals in a wide range of industries including healthcare, banking, financial services, manufacturing, retail, technology, transportation, energy, agriculture, and real estate.
The findings paint a picture of the importance of technology—especially audio—in providing effective virtual meetings:
- 87 percent of IT and business professionals surveyed said that virtual meetings were critical and/or very important;
- 86 percent confirm that virtual meetings are growing in importance;
- Three out of four IT professionals said their businesses plan to allocate bigger budgets in the next year to better accommodate virtual meetings.
“Not having the right equipment can negatively impact several factors for businesses: workplace efficiency, cost savings, and even morale,” said Merrick.
Respondents said that technical difficulties during virtual meetings caused several issues for the workforce. The top problems listed include the need to reschedule meetings, miscommunication resulting in reworking projects, and decreased employee satisfaction.
Even when virtual meetings are able to take place without technical issues, the in-room sound technology can be a factor. Among the top frustrations, respondents listed background noise, echoes, only hearing partial pieces of speech, and side conversations. Overall, poor audio quality is a leading cause of meeting room problems based on the findings.
When technical issues occur, it means IT staff, already stretched in many businesses, is called upon to respond quickly. The survey found that 68 percent of executives elevate meeting room issues to IT at least weekly. Overall, 82 percent of business professionals surveyed have experienced a negative impact of poor audio quality, with lost time and productivity leading the list.
According to business professionals, the biggest factor in improving virtual meetings is providing flawless audio, with a whopping 81 percent saying this is the main culprit. They believe that these improvements would lead to better productivity (65 percent), less time spent in meetings (61 percent), and higher employee engagement (56 percent).
Shure has recently launched a new campaign with a dedicated web site to help businesses improve their conferencing capabilities. At Effortless.Shure.com, visitors can access resources and tips for effective conference room setups, white papers on building the best audio, and overviews of products.
“Shure audio equipment has a distinguished history of being trusted on the biggest stages for world leaders and for music legends,” said Jim Schanz, vice president of global integrated systems sales at Shure. “We are bringing that quality to boardrooms and meeting rooms in a way that makes it seamless for users to operate and effortless for IT staff to set up and manage.”