What Your Business Needs to Know About Video Streaming

Staying up-to-date with changing technology and evolving employee demands is essential. To better understand how video streaming practices are tied to workplace productivity, IBM, in partnership with Morning Consult, conducted research on employee streaming behavior, device preferences, and priority features. Among the findings: mobile devices are video streaming platform leaders, buffering challenges still disrupt engagement, and closed captioning is a top priority for enterprise streaming.

As global workplaces become more agile, secure enterprise video streaming technology is paramount. IBM dives into the latest trends powering streaming behavior in the workplace in an effort to inform decision-making and help businesses understand how to better engage employees.

Mobile video streaming is a priority for employees

Today, 62% of employees stream work-related video — such as training and development, company events, and town hall meetings — on smartphones, more than doubling those using desktop (27%). With this divide in mind, it is important to create content that is compatible with and formatted for mobile devices.

One in five employees (20%) report the inability to watch videos on a mobile device was the most detrimental to workplace productivity — ranked behind buffering issues, which is a top complaint across mobile and desktop streaming.

As mobile devices continue to transform traditional enterprise video strategies, new opportunities arise for businesses to engage with employees. Given the chance, 46% of respondents state their interest in using a mobile app to share their own video content with wider audiences. Of those interested, 75% would be likely annotate or edit the footage before uploading it for others to view. 

Unstable internet connectivity is to blame for video buffering issues

Over half of employees (53%) report that video buffering is the largest detriment to workplace productivity, and lagging internet bandwidth is largely to blame. A vast majority of respondents (83%) connect to the internet via Wi-Fi to stream video, while only 12% are using 4G LTE, the wireless technology initially developed to bring deep web functionality to mobile devices.

Internet bandwidth is closely tied to video buffering speed. With that in mind, advancements in the next generation of wireless connectivity, 5G, will vastly increase browsing and streaming speeds as well as decrease buffering. It uses uniquely high and directional frequencies for a stronger internet connection, making the network well-suited for employees’ current smartphone streaming habits. 5G will make mobile video streaming 10x better not just for one individual, but for anyone streaming a video at the same time by creating a data super-highway. It will also impact fixed wireless connections throughout offices, for lightning fast browsing and streaming, as well as upload and download speeds.

Closed captioning boosts team engagement

Today, 68% of respondents use captions when video streaming — spanning reasons such as convenience, accessibility, and translation. To best capture the attention of employees, businesses should acknowledge the wide range of use-cases for closed captioning within the workplace.

While closed captioning is a must-have for companies aiming to create an accessible and inclusive workforce, only 5% of respondents cite a hearing impairment as a reason for utilizing the technology. There is value to be had from accurate and timely captioning beyond accessibility or even convenience. While 18% of respondents claim to use captions out of sheer convenience, other factors like language and audio play a role in leveraging the technology at work. In fact, 15% of respondents use closed captioning to view videos with low or no volume, while 13% use captions for translation purposes. 

Searchable video content is king

When asked which video feature they’re most interested in utilizing in the workplace, half of employees (50%) report craving increased searchability. Of these employees, 25% yearn to search for a keyword or phrase and 25% for a specific scene, object or person. In addition to searchability, the ability to download videos was the most desired feature for 34% of employees. 


When deployed thoughtfully, video streaming can be integral to employee engagement and success. Companies need to prioritize mobile compatibility, stay flexible as emerging technology like 5G becomes a reality, understand the applicability of closed captioning, and invest in new capabilities that enhance the viewing experience. By revitalizing their employees’ relationships with workplace video streaming, businesses can look forward to greater productivity and connectivity across teams.