Recently Cisco commissioned a study with The Economist Intelligence Unit to survey 862 business leaders on their sentiments about the value of in-person meetings and the impact on more than 30 business processes including initial meetings, project kick-offs and contract renewals. Business leaders were virtually unanimous in agreeing that in-person communication is more effective, powerful and conducive to success; with 75 percent stating it is absolutely critical to the health of their organization. (For those of you who prefer infographics, here is one with the results).
However, our desire for closer, more synchronous communication is being challenged by globalization, distance, and increased pressure to reduce costs or “do more with less.” Telepresence is the most effective way to bridge the in-person gap, and as OJ Winge mentioned in a recent speech, it is helping to drive innovation and positive social change in all industries and businesses of all sizes.
But an interesting debate remains, while the majority of business leaders agree in-person is the most impactful communication, 60 percent of communications are not real-time. So what gives? Why do most organizations who claim to drive innovation and change still rely on technology that has far less impact? When many of us are using video technology to connect on a personal level with friends and family and “see” each other on a daily basis because it absolutely has more impact than picking up the phone, why are most businesses slow to adopt? Complexity? Cost? Lack of knowledge?
I am fortunate to work for an organization that not only manufacturers telepresence technology, but also embraces it across the organization. I can personally speak to the fact that it has changed the way I do business – the way I manage a remote team, the way I connect with my vendors and suppliers, and the way I connect back home when I have to travel. I rarely pick up the phone to talk to anyone, if I need a decision or quick input, telepresence is always my first choice.
If you believe in the Power of In-Person as much as I do and want to hear what the future looks like for companies who are making the in-person imperative jump, please vote for us to present at next year’s SXSW 2013.