Video Conferencing and Reduced Business Travel ... Your results may vary
Today I was doing a search on Video Conferencing, looking at the latest news and headlines from my (our) industry, and I ran across a research study about the affect video conferencing has had on business travel. Since it is one of the "benefits" often touted for video conferencing I decided to take a look.
The report is true (primary) market research. It has lots of statistical model language in it - and is not an analyst written report (which usually helps separate the numbers and present the results in words we can understand). Regardless, there are several gems of info hidden between the jargon - but I'm going to give you the punchline right now …
There are people who travel, and there are people who use video conferencing - and those two types of people are not the same. Also, from an overall business standpoint - there may be a correlation between video conferencing and reduced travel costs, but it's probably not because those employees that travel, will travel less.
So what does that say? Does video conferencing reduce my business travel or not? In reality, business travel may not be the best benefit to show the cost effectiveness of video conferencing. It may benefit those teams that need to meet often, but are dispersed. Potentially, with video conferencing, they can meet more often face-to-face and have better teams meetings. Does that mean the team doesn't need to meet physically? No. They probably still do - but with video conferencing, they can have the "feeling" of getting together more.
For business travelers, it appears the true Road Warrior is still doing the traveling thing - and not leveraging video conferencing as much. Some of that is the belief that meeting physically is a better alternative, but that's just a thought after reading the report.
Personally, I think there are better justifications for video conferencing. The first is the ease of use and the lower cost of entry. It's just easy to enable your conference rooms and meeting spaces. Even if they are only used internally, it can save lots of miscommunications, and provide a much more effective way to communicate. If you extend that to your "partners" such as vendors or service providers, it makes sense. Sometimes just the ability to get everyone in a single location is difficult - and it's much easier to get them on a video call.
Beside communications, it's just much more pleasant to have conversations with someone you can see. Almost all our business calls are via Zoom, regardless of the other person is using their camera or not.
If you're interested in seeing the report, here's the link. Be prepared to read about the structure of the research, but the info is in there, I promise.
From Research Gate:
Videoconferencing and business air travel: Do new technologies produce new interaction patterns?
Here is another report I ran across today, It's more about the overall market (which includes the codec platforms also).
From Frost and Sullivan
Global Video Conferencing Market Research Report