Video Meetings Are Now Mainstream: What’s Next?
With the shift to remote work, video meetings have skyrocketed as employees try to stay connected to each other while staying home. Organizations must now begin thinking about long-term ways to integrate video into their company culture to reap its full benefits.
We’ve finally turned on our web cams. Your friends are on it. Your kids are on it. And most importantly, your co-workers are on it.
But video conferencing (or web conferencing) isn’t new. It’s been around for decades despite it never quite getting over the proverbial “hump” of the adoption curve. Many organizations that were early adopters of video conferencing technology struggled to get employees to use it. Turning on your camera was considered optional and most employees simply didn’t see the need for it.
Then the pandemic hit.
COVID-19 rapidly accelerated the growth of existing trends like remote working, distance learning, the need for stronger bandwidth and the use of collaborative technologies. Established tools like Cisco Webex, Microsoft Teams and Zoom saw usage skyrocket almost immediately. In April, Cisco reported hosting more than 20 billion meeting minutes or more than double its February usage. Microsoft Teams added 31 million new users, totaling 75 million daily active users.
Suddenly, virtual face-to-face communication shifted from being “nice to have” to a “must-have.”
Realizing the value of video conferencing
Those of us in the industry have been preaching the benefits of video meetings from the beginning: decreased travel, increased human interaction, relationship building, etc. With video conferencing, body language and visual cues become much more powerful. For example, you can tell if a co-worker is having a bad day or if your virtual presentation isn’t hitting the mark. COVID-19 has helped expose this need even more.
At WWT, a core component of our culture is trust. It’s the baseline of everything we believe in. We’ve been a big proponent of video meetings for years due to our global nature and the fact that human connectivity and communication sits at the foundation of building trust. I’ve talked to many organizations that are just now realizing this. They might’ve had some tools in place for video meetings but struggled to get employees to adopt a video-first mindset. The companies that can embrace this new form of interaction and begin to leverage it in their culture and processes are the ones that will benefit the most. Microsoft recently published an article that explores its own use of Teams and how it’s providing new ways for managers to stay better connected to their employees.
So, where do we go from here?
Video meetings are easier to use and more available than ever before. Our team is already seeing enterprise solutions like Zoom and Webex integrate with consumer technologies including Facebook Portal and Amazon Echo Show. With 37 percent of employees wanting to continue full-time remote work after the pandemic, it’s important to make video ubiquitous at home as it can benefit remote workers in the short and long term.
The same is true when/if the workforce returns to the office. Many organizations enabled video conferencing before COVID-19 but it wasn’t pervasive. I’m always shocked by the number of customers that still use phones in their conference rooms. Even as many workers return to the office, a large portion of the workforce will remain remote, furthering the need for corporate-wide video. Whether it’s the board room, conference room, huddle space or manager’s office, the need for video has gone mainstream.
Choosing a strategic solution for your organization
There are many video conferencing vendors in the market, and each brings a unique set of strengths to the table. Before investing in these technologies, it’s crucial organizations understand the pros and cons of different solutions.
When planning large-scale transformative projects that involve end users, such as enterprise video communications, simplicity and consistency is key. The more intuitive and streamlined the experience, the easier it will be to train the end user. Providing a consistent experience for joining meetings across locations — conference room, home office, mobile — makes it easier to equip end users.
Bottom line: it’s all about building trust and enabling your end users so they can do their jobs effectively.
This year has shown us that things can change very quickly, yet communication and human interaction will always remain a must-have for keeping businesses running and fostering innovation. The organizations that understand this and equip their end users with the appropriate technology will be much more prepared and better suited during times of uncertainty. Our experience working with vendors such as Cisco, Microsoft, Zoom and Poly has given us years of experience in this space and has allowed us to help many customers across a variety of industries understand their end users, improve their digital employee experience, develop intuitive video solutions and increase end-user adoption.