Your Best Business Tool Is You
How virtual meetings keep us connected and productive
Recently released reports show stale growth among video conferencing tools. In fact, Enterprise Networking Planet dubbed the market as going "flat." But with so many devices capable of capturing and streaming content available, how could that be the case?
A deeper look into the report revealed a shift in trends from the sale of hardware to software. This makes sense -- video conferencing as both a personal and enterprise tool is very much democratized today. Conference rooms are no longer siloed to an executive wing, and with the proliferation of BYOD, most mobile devices for personal and work use are capable of connecting to video conferencing tools without device restriction. As opposed to video conferencing of decades past, the consumer -- not the device -- is now the end point, and opportunities for collaboration are ubiquitous (see Marching Toward Communications Ubiquity).
With a capable device and a reliable Internet connection, participants are able to start and hold meetings from nearly anywhere around the globe with tools like jamvee. With a cloud-based service, users are also alleviated from setting up and deploying hardware, and can use the service at their own discretion without set up, maintenance or worry for accessibility.
But benefits of video conferencing extend beyond usability. Compared to audio calls, where telepresence battles for attention with continuous social media feeds and viral videos on mute, video conferencing is inherently more personable and requires user attention. Seeing a smile or eyes glaze over during conversation is much more telling than a simple "yes" or "no," as is being welcomed into a personal space. When you see someone relaxed in their favorite chair or catch a glimpse of the family dog in the frame, interaction comes freely and ideas aren't stifled by formality. Collectively, these non-verbal cues create a level of human interaction necessary for a relaxed and collaborative environment -- regardless of a user's location.
Of course, understanding how video would affect your office culture and network are key considerations before deployment. The next five years could see as much as 40 to 50 percent of businesses using video as a major collaboration tool. Opportunities for growth are much easier to obtain based on personal relationships, and while travel may be costly, a friendly video call can be just as effective.
Anthony Bartolo is president of unified communications and mobility at Tata Communications.