If a picture is worth a thousand words, video is probably worth a million. In today’s world, as so many of us work from home, practice social distancing, and limit outdoor hours video is the key to human connection and communication.
It’s no surprise that nearly every report confirms the rise of video in the workplace. More than 9 in 10 businesses have used video conferencing in the last few months, finds a survey in India. In a US report, 76% of employees said that they are using video conferencing as part of their daily work. An IDC study found that IT decision-makers are willing to spend more on video applications that enable employees to “do people things.”
So, as we look forward to the continued rise of video over the next few quarters, slowly becoming entrenched in workflows even after the pandemic, here are five things that you should know.
In several industries, video isn’t just helping people to communicate. It is central to the core job, for example in healthcare or for courtrooms. UK National Health Service (NHS) is turning to video conferencing solutions in a big way for connecting patients to medical professionals, especially in non-acute and outpatient scenarios. Courts around the world are allowing e-petitions, where the entire case proceeds through video conferencing.
The rapid rise of video means that the barriers to entry are breaking down. Several technology giants view this as an opportunity to increase market penetration for their video tools, as well as positively contribute to society. Microsoft, Google, and Zoom have taken the bull by its horns, making premium features free for use.
A crop of new players is emerging that offers stiff competition to video collaboration incumbents. Specifically, developing markets are coming up with their own, indigenous alternatives to recognised leaders. For example, India has seen the rise of at least three videoconferencing startups – Jio Meet (backed by carrier Jio), an unnamed product in the works by carrier Bharti Airtel, and Lauk by a former journalist.
According to psychologists, users could experience video call fatigue due to the pressures of every day conferencing schedules. “Our minds are together when our bodies feel we’re not. That dissonance, which causes people to have conflicting feelings, is exhausting. You cannot relax into the conversation naturally,” says Gianpiero Petriglieri, an expert on workplace learning at INSEAD business school.
The rise of video has been in the making for a while. For several years now, we have seen headlines suggesting that video is here to stay and could soon become as ubiquitous as chat, email, and other forms of asynchronous (non-real-time) communication. But a few factors held back video from reaching its potential – inconsistent network quality in different geographies, poor integration, minor to major inconveniences, and the sheer lack of need.
After all, why go onto the trouble of scheduling a video conference when you could knock on a colleague’s cubicle or call them telephonically?
The pandemic has revealed another (probably the most critical) dimension of video: it’s as close we can get to face-to-face interactions via digital channels. Experts around the world are vocal about the benefits and undeniable need for video in the workplace today. But remember to offset this by conscious scheduling, proper video etiquette, and an unwavering focus on the work.