At one time, video conferencing was a luxury, something only large corporations were able to afford. Smaller businesses simply didn’t have the budget to allow for something like this. However, due to the pandemic, the world of video conferencing is rapidly transitioning.
You no longer need expensive, complex systems. There are now options available that allow video conferencing from anywhere in the world, right from your devices. This guide will explain why video conferencing is essential and some benefits and features/capabilities of video conferencing. We’ll also explain how you can learn more about how we can help your business get on track with making video conference calls.
Why is Video Conferencing So Important in the Business World?
During the height of the pandemic, video conferencing was critical. It allowed employees to transition to working remotely while also remaining connected to the office. Now that things are easing up with the pandemic, employers use video conferencing for a hybrid work environment hub.
A hybrid work environment is one in which employees work remotely a few days a week and from the office a few days a week. This idea has some different considerations than an all-remote work week. There is a constant, critical need for video conferencing platforms to remain reliable and available to be used as a communication and collaboration tool and an essential part of the workflow.
How Has Video Conferencing Evolved?
A video conference is a live, visual connection between multiple remote individuals over the internet. It is a face-to-face meeting without actually being physically present with each other. It is a critical piece of UC (unified communication) platforms and can be used as software, hardware, or software as a service (SaaS).
The history of video conferencing goes as far back as the 1870s. This is when Bell Labs discovered the idea of transmitting an image and audio over the wire. Fast-forward to the 1920s, when Bell Telephone Laboratories were able to broadcast a live, moving image. Fast-forward again to the 1990s, when consumer webcams gained popularity. In the early 2000s, with the availability of broadband, companies began to adopt video conferencing systems.
Today, companies are more reliant on web-based and software-as-a-service platforms for their video conferencing needs. They are also able to set up presentations and collaborations via video conferencing.
Companies are no longer concerned about whether or not people will be accepting of video conferencing. Instead, today’s concern is that people will grow weary of video conferencing since that seems to be the only way to go right now.
Video Conferencing Benefits for Businesses
There are many benefits of video conferencing for businesses. One of the major ones is increased productivity. In addition, video conferencing allows employees to reach out to each other to collaborate. While it’s true that it doesn’t exactly replace in-person connections, it is a lot better than a simple phone call or email exchange.
For businesses, video conferencing supports:
- Interpersonal communication
Some business tasks that are easily handled through a video conference are:
- Collaboration with customers
- Project management
- Sales presentations
Video Conferencing Features & Capabilities
Over the past few years, video conferencing has evolved to include the following features and capabilities:
- Virtual Backgrounds: this helps you avoid the distraction of your remote location, and companies can use it to create a branded background to give a video conference session a more professional look/feel.
- Screen-sharing: this helps participants present/explain what they are saying more understandably. Some platforms even offer the option of using the presentation as a background to feel more like an in-person meeting.
- Together-Mode: this is a mode that Microsoft released as an alternative to Gallery View. It allows participants to appear on a screen together instead of in separate boxes.
- Transcription Services: this gives a list of action items that can be checked off as you go and important notes for the session.
- Translation Services: this allows attendees to communicate in different languages and receive transcriptions in real-time.
- Gateway to other apps: this keeps users from having to launch/toggle through several different programs while in the video conference.
Some platforms offer these natively, and some do not. However, there is third-party software available to customize your sessions as you go. In addition, video conferencing can benefit from Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning.
Leaders in the information technology field are already taking to the capabilities of AI, including automated transcriptions, facial and voice recognition, and more.
Some researchers say that AI may handle issues that come up from hybrid work environments, where some are in a room, and others are working remotely. For example:
- AI can support the improvement of picture quality and active participant framing
- AI can use acoustic fencing an active noise cancellation to filter out any unnecessary background noise
- AI can use closed-captioning to bring real-time translation a step further
- AI can use facial recognition to identify presenters and provide information in real-time to the attendees
- AI can send out chatbots to schedule the next meeting based on the calendars of the attendees.
As you can see, video conferencing has come a long way since its inception and has several benefits in the business world. First, video conferencing is important because it keeps your employees connected, even in a remote-work or hybrid-work situation.