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Video Communication Must Improve, Even as It Hits Its Stride

Usage of video conferencing for work is growing at a rapid clip, but it still has a way to go to reach the ideal meeting experience. That’s the main takeaway I gleaned from a recent survey we conducted of more than 1,300 U.S. business professionals across industry, age group, and regional demographics about their video communication habits and how they perceive video affecting not only their own day-to-day work but the companies that use the technology. We present the comprehensive data we gathered in our “2019 Impact of Video Conferencing Report,” which reveals some of the good, bad, and just plain intriguing about the current state of the video communication space.
First and foremost, we found that 48% of business professionals use video conferencing more frequently for work than they did two years ago. A range of reasons contribute to that overall increase, with respondents using video conferencing to: work effectively from remote locations/home (43%), improve team productivity when in different locations (43%), more easily share documents or collaborate in real time (38%), and more easily connect with customers, clients, or partners (31%). Additionally, 47% have seen some reduction in business travel due to video. Video communication is truly evolving from a business advantage to a business necessity, and video-first culture is becoming a very real thing.
Increasingly, younger generations’ first experiences with video conferencing for work is through a flexible cloud-based enterprise video communication solution rather than a rigid system from a legacy vendor – that’s an encouraging sign. Also promising are the findings that 31% of workers use mobile phones and 34% use dedicated conference room equipment for video conferencing at work, affording them flexibility and choice in their preferred devices and workspaces.
But what’s distressing is the fact that respondents report some of the same old detractors to video call experience: technical difficulties like equipment not working and missing adapters (48%), poor audio quality or echo effect (46%), poor video quality or clarity (40%), and requirements to download or install extra software or apps as well as other difficulties starting or joining a meeting (41%). Furthermore, only 20% of professionals believe that video communication is very secure, while a combined 40% believe it isn’t very secure, is not at all secure, don’t know whether it’s secure or not, or haven’t even thought about it.
There’s clearly work to be done by the overall segment in making video conferencing a universally reliable, high-quality, seamless experience. Part of that can be achieved through making video conferencing a native browser-based experience that provides ultimate simplicity by leaning on the features, functionality, security mechanisms, and standards (WebRTC, for example) that increasingly underpin those browser platforms. That method also eliminates the bothersome app downloads and software installs that respondents called out as pain points. Seamlessness and ease of use can be further ensured by avoiding proprietary technologies in favor of interoperability – the latter approach prevents the complexity and financial burden assessed by some vendors when you try to make their service work with another platform. And as I’ve written previously, it’s incumbent upon all vendors to help educate customers and end users about security criteria and the safety nets they’ve set up.
Companies, teams, and individual users now regularly count on video communication to get mission-critical work done, be more productive, and increase engagement of everyday interactions both internally and externally. For all those customers relying on the technology, video conferencing just needs to be better.
To get a full picture of the video communication trends, impact, and conclusions drawn from the data we collected, we’d welcome you to download the complimentary report.