Netviewer has issued the results of a survey into the current and future use of web conferencing technologies by European business. The research, which questioned 332 enterprise IT managers across the UK, France and Germany, shows that time and cost savings are still believed to be major benefits of web conferencing (cited by 82 per cent of respondents) but that the ability to reduce travel requirements thereby cutting carbon emissions is largely overlooked. The UK led on recognition of environmental benefits of web conferencing with 54 percent of respondents citing it as a benefit as opposed to only 37 per cent across Europe as a whole.
The data indicates that web conferencing is increasingly likely to be used for external rather than internal communications, predicting a 42 per cent growth in its use for web based customer support. It indicates however that companies could miss out on associated benefits because of a perceived failure to address basic IT challenges.
After the need for adequate security, the biggest perceived IT barriers are the need of many web conferencing solutions to install software on participants' PCs and the time taken to guide those participants through increasingly complex use scenarios.
Rachel Lane, Managing Director of Netviewer UK, said, "These results validate our view that as organisations realise the customer service benefits of direct virtual contact, future uses of web conferencing are likely to continue growing beyond the boundaries of the company firewall and the traditional reach of the IT department.
The results also highlight that, especially in these user support scenarios, we must continue our emphasis on ease of use for participants and ease of deployment and support for the IT department".
Gary Taylor, Managing Director of sustainworld.com comments, "Primarily we use Netviewer as it makes good business sense for us, over just the last three months we have saved a huge amount of otherwise unproductive travel time.
In addition to that direct benefit, Netviewer helps us 'walk the talk' from an environmental point of view - we advise on sustainable construction and being able to minimise our own carbon footprint in such a cost effective way is a strong plus. Web conferencing and remote meetings are a simple way in which most businesses can improve their environmental performance."
Other areas in which the use of web conferencing is predicted to grow include its use for online training. This is particularly true of the financial services sector where companies are recognising the need to provide a growing number of independent service providers with accurate product information.
There is also an anticipated growth in the use of web conferencing for information sharing with both employees and investors - primarily in the retail and financial services sectors, where this usage type is expected to rise by 57 per cent and 124 per cent respectively.