Video conferencing

By Geff Harper on April 4, 2018

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The growing demand for visual communications among millennials is re-shaping the traditional workplace.  Video conferencing is forcing businesses to redefine their culture.

There is undoubtedly a generational divide, with a split between those who view digital visual communication as either impersonal or a novelty, and those who view it as essential, but time will take care of that.

Combined with the decrease in bandwidth costs and the ongoing and vast improvements to both hardware and software video quality, Video Conferencing (VC) is already in many cases a preference to face to face meetings.  

Saving time

I’ve had a career of meetings, and if the average face to face meeting takes an hour, then the travel around it at least doubles that time. Video conferencing means no more long and expensive flights, no more sitting in rush hour traffic polluting the world with carbon. What’s not to love?

The world is getting smaller every day. Global businesses have employees from all over the world. The ability to use video conferencing services to allow workers to meet and collaborate no matter where they are in the world, can have a huge impact on the productivity of a workforce.

Indeed, from Sydney, Australia, we are a truly global digital agency, with clients all over the world.

Video conferencing’s biggest hurdle

There is one final hurdle and it’s still quite a big one. One of the main reasons people still take their long and expensive flights and sit in rush hour traffic is that 93% of communication is nonverbal. If you can only see someone’s face, assuming you maintained eye contact with that person the entire time, VC might let you get half of that back, but you’re still missing a hell of a lot. Wait, did someone say VR?

That’s right folks, virtual reality, mixed reality or augmented reality, will be the last piece of the jigsaw that sees us lose the reliance on ever having to attend a meeting in person again. Through sitting in virtual meetings, participants will be able to experience different non-verbal cues through interacting with other hosts avatars. Cool, hey?  

I should just point out to the sceptics out there, and my Mum, that this does not indicate the demise of society as we know it. What I said was we would no longer HAVE to attend meetings in person. That doesn’t mean we won’t. We’re social creatures by nature and being in the same room with other people, generally, is fun. All this means is that we can choose between virtual or face-to-face, and whichever route we take, we will no longer be disadvantaged in any way by our choice.

Where to next?

The latest innovations in VC for now are around VCaaS, or ‘Video Conferencing as a Service’. New platforms not only allow virtually any company to connect in with their choice of meeting room system, they also allow users on mobiles or laptops to connect up with their choice of app. No more pesky downloading another 20 apps or plugins to get through your weekly video chats.

To look at some of the current contenders in the market, check out this useful comparison tool from pcmag: pcmag.com video conferencing reviews.

Video conferencing is here to stay. It’s not a gimmick or a novelty, but a glimpse at what the world of business is becoming and will become. Embrace it now, attract the millennial generation for whom it is already commonplace, or in ten years, you’ll be losing out on business opportunities to competitors who have never met and may never meet the client who used to pay most of your bills.

If you would like to have a video conference about your next digital project, or even just an old school face to face meeting, why not drop us a line.

Geff’s been in design for nearly 20 years, in digital for the last 10. Geff uses User-Centred Design principles to develop CX and UX that delivers for clients. He loves problem solving, leading design sprints and prototyping. Geff advocates strongly for user feedback and enjoys the challenge of creating solutions that positively impact user behaviour and interaction with technology.

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