While email is still alive and well as the primary means of communications in the professional world, businesses are embracing video conferencing for online collaboration. It is quickly becoming a communications standard as audio and video quality improves, higher connectivity speeds are the norm and technology costs continue to fall.
Used for everything from replacing in-person staff meetings and brainstorming to check-ins with teams, connecting employees in multiple office and workers who telecommute from home, phone and video conferencing is a huge benefit to businesses. It offers an alternative to costly travel expenses and improves productivity and the collaboration experience.
An industry survey of business decision-makers recently found that more than three quarters of respondents are using video conferencing at work with 56 per cent of video users saying they take part in video calls at least once a week. Video conferencing continues to see continuous growth as technology advances with bigger screens and online collaboration software enables real-time collaboration making it easier and cheaper for businesses to utilize.
Here are six recent trends affecting phone and video conferencing to watch for this year:
1.Room-based video conferencing
Unlike video conferencing typically intended for individual-to-individual communication, room-based video conferencing is designed for whole room meetings. This is made possible with high-resolution wide-angle cameras that can cover every angle of space, computing software and sensitive microphones so you can speak naturally. The result is a comfortable conferencing experience that feels just like being in a typical in-person meeting.
2. Everything on, and connected to, the cloud
Imagine all the benefits of video conferencing technology without all the investment in hardware, infrastructure and network of a large-scale deployment. That’s cloud-based integration which connects your video conferencing solution with collaboration software, but on multiple devices. This means offsite team members can participate in the call with their device of choice from their smartphone and tablet to laptop or PC.
Join a group chat, send and edit shared documents and log into a video conference on the go without the barriers of location, device and platform. With cloud services, you can take video and unified communications (UC) solutions from simply boardroom tools to a means for your distributed enterprise to link remote employees and partners.
3. Intercompany video conferencing is growing
Even just a few years ago, companies mostly used video conferencing as an internal tool for colleagues on the same IP network. Now, the technology is adapting to meet new customer demands and has transformed from a standalone technology tool in a room to an integral personal communications software on desktop and mobile devices. Business-wise, video call traffic is going outside the network to external users or sites in instances such as job interviewing candidates, collaborating with remote experts and calling a client or customer.
4. Real-time web communication through browser-based video conferencing
WebRTC is a free open source technology that enables super easy video calling from your web browser without downloads and plug-ins. This type of video conferencing makes it possible to do direct voice calls, video chat and data share without desktop or mobile apps, plug-ins and add-ons. Some services offer instant access to WebRTC functionality and enable users to join and share a video conference right away. This trend is another reason why video conferencing is set to increase and outpace regular audio conference calls in the next few years.
5. Unified Communications integration
Integrating video conferencing with unified communications allows users to initiate video connections through presence technology, in much the same way as instant messaging. This seamless interoperability allows you to link to your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system so employees can send data and documents related to accounts. On a video call, the conference window view is side-by-side to a live chat and the single application can handle voice, video, chat, text, presence status and file sharing and calendar applications, all helping to optimize productivity and enhance communications.
6. Technology is getting more pervasive and democratized
As the modern workforce evolves and demands greater mobility and flexibility in how and where they work and what tools they use for specific tasks, video conferencing is no longer relegated to senior executives and upper management. It’s now being used by managers, business directors and human