Study Finds PC's at Home and Work

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Multimedia computers have a life cycle both at work and at home.

A survey of 100 senior marketing, finance, information and operating executives found 59.3% have such computers at work and 57.6% also have multimedia capability on a PC at home.

An additional 25.9% said they planned to upgrade to multimedia capability at work within the next year. Multimedia PCs are capable of integrating interactive audio and visual communications.

John Faier, partner at Omnitech Consulting Group, the Chicago research company that conducted the May telephone poll, said the movement to multimedia PCs begins at home.

"When you have a multimedia PC at home, it creates an appetite for it in the office," he said. "The executives probably got into [multimedia] at home, got sold on what it can do and how it changes one's whole interface with the PC. Then, they brought it into the office."

Once multimedia is available in the office, the life cycle continues. Executives said they use multimedia primarily for training (74.6%), presentations (71.2%) and sales (67.8%). Later, the data indicate, usage of such PCs starts to branch out to other functions.

The survey suggests executives who use multimedia computers initially for presentations and training, for example, later add customer contact and business processes to their usage.

And those who don't currently use multimedia at work but plan to acquire the technology in the next year said they would use it for training, presentations and sales.

"The point of entry for all companies seems to be training, presentations and sales, then they identify new applications and become more creative with it as a business tool," Mr. Faier said.

The survey also found executives believe their customers are more intimidated by multimedia technology than are their employees.

Margin of error is 10 percentage points.

Richard Skews coordinates Technology Marketing.

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