Video communication has become the norm for most businesses, healthcare providers, educational institutions, and pretty much everyone during the coronavirus pandemic. Shelter-in-place orders have forced people into doing video-based happy hours, parties, and homework sessions, and many industries that never or rarely used video now have it as an essential tool. Simply put, video usage has seen a massive surge.
The Need for Programmable Video Communications
Vonage recently quantified their surge in video usage and found total video minutes in March 2020 increased by 232%, compared to February 2020. While those numbers are likely to plateau post-COVID-19, the crisis has revealed a necessity for more flexible, secure video conferencing solutions.
The market is saturated with off-the-shelf meeting solutions that are suitable for general meetings and virtual hangouts. However, organizations with more complex needs, such as telehealth and distance learning, require security and ease-of-use that can only be achieved by embedding video into an organization’s current platform. A meeting solution is great if I want to get together with Dave Michels
and Evan Kirstel to pontificate the future of collaboration, but it’s not sufficient for all applications.
When doctors are talking to patients, they are generally looking at one application for content and then having to flip back to a meeting solution. I understand they can share the application or desktop, but that’s still an extra step. Also, a lot of older clinicians might find the process confusing and be nervous about doing it. The same for distance learning, telejustice, and other similar use cases. There are also use cases where the person looking at the content needs to see it but doesn’t want to share it.
Programmable video is the answer for those industries that rely on the remote delivery of services that require an integrated experience. Vonage Nexmo offers video APIs, which organizations can use to integrate video into existing apps. This means doctors can virtually meet with patients and review their medical records during a video call while maintaining privacy and eye contact. Or, for example, teachers can have all their material in one place and focus on teaching a lesson without switching apps. A judge can look at a single screen and view private court records and continually see body language to make a better decision.
The Vonage Video API is built on WebRTC technology, designed for apps that require log-in and verification. Since WebRTC is a security feature included in most web browsers today, Vonage Video API can be used inside browser apps to create custom, secure, embedded video solutions, so it can be used by almost every application in every industry.
Organizations need more control over how video is used. The rapid growth of video communications is bringing that need to the forefront. Organizations are turning to programmable video solutions to stay connected during COVID-19, with minimal disruption to their operations.
Video Comms Soar, Vonage Reports
In their new report, “Video Communication Soars as Businesses and Service Providers Respond to Coronavirus
,” Vonage offered some insights into how organizations are using programmable video solutions to stay connected. Vonage video traffic for telehealth services increased by 727% between February and March. With one customer, Doxy.me reporting 139,000 new providers and 1.35 million patients using its telemedicine services in one week.
Educational institutions — which mostly transitioned to distance learning — saw a 36% increase in overall video minutes between February and March. While schools and universities appear to have lower growth than other sectors, their adoption of programmable video solutions is likely to increase. The initial numbers reflect a quick fix in the form of general-purpose video conferencing tools, not custom e-learning apps.
Meanwhile, business services and technology industries also experienced growth in video traffic during those months. Technology companies reported an increase of 287%. They are using programmable video for all types of purposes, including virtual workplaces, live video meetings within apps, and remote customer service.
It may come as no surprise that social media and messaging app traffic jumped by 271%. In this sector, Vonage found several key drivers for increased usage, such as offering users richer social sharing through video and meeting consumer expectations for modern apps. Video-enabled gaming and dating apps are most commonly used in isolation.
As for other industries, business service providers saw a 222% increase in month-over-month video traffic, financial services firms saw a 155% increase, and media companies saw a 120% increase.
All the industries examined in the Vonage report didn’t have to invest in new technology, as they had already embedded video capabilities into existing apps using the Vonage Video API. They responded to the pandemic’s disruption by scaling their apps to handle the surge in traffic. Most organizations also turned to analytics tools to track usage and quality of service during the surge.
If telehealth and educational institutions taught us anything in a time of crisis, it’s that video communication keeps people connected and operations running smoothly. The drivers, however, are different for every organization, and custom solutions can meet those industry-specific needs.
When Vonage acquired
Nexmo in 2016, some looked at CPaaS as being adjacent to but not core to its enterprise business. CEO Alan Masarek has maintained since then that Nexmo gives Vonage a unique competitive edge and based on the report and usage numbers, its ability to deliver video as a meeting or as a programmable interface is something customers not only want but also need to transform their business.