Online meetings are becoming the preferred style for US companies regardless of industry or size, according to research group IDC, meaning that European firms may have to adapt to communicate with American partners.
According to a survey of 573 companies in the US, the use of conferencing is set to rocket, especially in the telecoms, business and retail sectors where between 77 and 100 per cent of respondents said they anticipated greater conferencing use in the next six months.
"Businesses are using conferencing applications more than ever, in part because it is a way to cut travel costs," said Robert Mahowald, senior research analyst at IDC.
"But the real story is in how business users are growing to accept online meetings as a replacement for most meeting types," he added. "The current and future usage patterns suggested by this survey indicate that conferencing applications have arrived as core business collaboration assets."
IDC said that convenience and security were the chief drivers behind considering conferencing applications.
Many US companies are still reluctant to send executives by air since the recent terrorist activities, despite the fact that more Americans are killed on the road every three months than have died in the entire history of commercial aviation.
Mahowald predicts that conferencing will become a stable feature as vendors build easy-to-use applications and services and the technology becomes an accepted part of modern business practice.
"Conferencing vendors must develop clear, actionable strategies for successfully designing, positioning, and marketing their conferencing software and services," he said.
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