It’s been a crazy year – the new abnormal! And one of the many sectors strongly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic has been the video conferencing industry. But along with so much upheaval, there’s been an incredible amount of innovation. So let’s look ahead and explore how the video-conferencing landscape could play out in 2021 and beyond.
Video-Conferencing is not going anywhere…yet
While there is light at the end of this tunnel that is the pandemic, we are not quite there yet and so remote working is still very much in play going into 2021. And with that, video conferencing is a key tool for connecting internal teams, for facilitating comms between buyers with sellers and generally for keeping the wheels of industry turning, albeit virtually!
So, what’s going to happen when we are at the other side of the pandemic? When we get to the time that we can more or less do everything that we were doing before, in the same way. Will Video conferencing still be as prevalent as before in that scenario?
If you ask Bill Gates – he predicts that Microsoft Teams and Zoom will replace business travel to a large degree. He suggests that 50% of business travel and over 30% of days in the office will be history in the post Coronavirus world.
It makes sense… that meeting that you had to drive 2 hours to get to or when you did a cross-atlantic flight wasting hours offline on the basis of connecting with customers – all of this can be achieved more efficiently through remote working. Would you go back? The pandemic has forced people to break out of old habits and embrace the ‘new normal’. It saves time, expense and over-all it improves quality of life. And there are many environmental benefits on top of that. While there has been some friction along the way… video-conferencing has been a game-changer on many different levels.
That said, the counter argument is that you can’t beat real human interaction. And some businesses will require the “in person” touch more than others..
So in summary, our bet is that video conferencing is certainly not going anywhere. As things get back to normal – it may be dialled down slightly in certain sectors…but for many, there is no going back. The advantages of working remotely are just too appealing, given the many benefits to video conferencing.
The Tech will only get better – Better UX
On top of the general appeal of remote working, as more and more people use technology – it is also going to get easier to use, with ongoing improvements in UX. Although this can be said about technology in general in our everyday life – the pandemic has really driven a snowball effect, with radical leaps forward.
For example, the use of tailored room software which allows for a hybrid approach to meetings will become increasingly popular. The adoption of Zoom Rooms and Microsoft Teams Rooms for instance not just becoming more and more popular but they are also easier to use today, than they were just 11 short months ago, at the start of the Covid pandemic. Using a simplified app to run meetings is now an expectation, not just an aspiration. This drive towards simplicity and ease of use in video conferencing is set to drive innovation forward – at speed.
Offices will evolve.
If more and more of the workforce are either working remotely on a full-time basis or using a hybrid approach, then the traditional ‘office’ will also evolve. And with that, the tools that will empower employees to work from anywhere will be adopted widely. This will range from using devices and apps more extensively to the adaptation of physical meeting rooms. If people are coming and going day-in-day-out, we can expect to see a wider adoption of hot-desking hubs rolled out across businesses and communities.
These collaboration centric environments will allow for the development of more huddle spaces and specific room set ups using both physical and virtual tools like GoConnect, Zoom Rooms and Microsoft Teams Rooms.
This mixed approach will require the right video conferencing setup for offices.
Business & Events
The pandemic has profoundly altered the way in which we do business and the increase in virtual events instead of real-life conferences and exhibitions is another example of how we adapted commercial behaviour to literally survive through this period. The interesting question from a VC point of view is – will these events remain virtual in a post-Covid world?
For some, the business model has changed radically with many businesses now looking at a broader market that had previously been limited by geography. Video Conferencing can tear down these barriers. Therefore the adoption of virtual show-rooms and online events to target an international audience will not disappear. However many international show organisers, who offer the opportunity to “press the flesh” and meet global audiences in person – where language barriers can impede VC comms – will be keen to get back to “real-world” events. But similar to office set-ups – the new situation is likely to offer both in-person and virtual tickets so these events are literally changed forever.
AI is developing all the time. One of the big stumbling blocks with video conferencing has been the lack of that human feeling and touch. However as AI is at the point where it can use facial recognition to follow those who are speaking and change the camera angles to capture them uniquely within the frame.
Collaboration systems that can integrate natural language processing can copy calls or even translate speech into other languages in real time.
Therefore AI will continue to adapt and play a major role in video conferencing of the future.
Enhanced Security & Privacy
As Video conferencing is adopted widely, security becomes an ever more important consideration. This is particularly true in sectors such as healthcare and law. We will most likely see innovative solutions to protect users data & communications against any fraud or hacks.
This will be necessary as with wide scale use, the possibility of criminal and suspicious activity will increase also.
Gamification & Video Conferencing.
We can see already on platforms such as Zoom – the use of emojis. This trend will only continue as companies and the platforms themselves look to use more game like design elements in meetings. With the opportunity to reward productivity and boost employee engagement, video conferencing could become a lot more game like in its presentation.
Final Words on Video Conferencing
In short, video conferencing is not going anywhere. Its value both personally and professionally is major. While the year 2020 certainly brought it more into the spotlight – it had been growing long before that point.
Depending on your room, scope, budget and video platform presence we have many tailored effective solutions for your VC setup.