Video conferencing has seen many lives, but it has probably never been more widespread. The advances made in terms of networks, equipment, as well as the spectacular improvement of collaborative tools and the visual quality of communications, allowing this technology to represent a new challenge within companies.
This development coincides with a general public use that has become more widespread in recent years. The users, familiar with the tool, expect to be able to benefit from it in the context of work that is increasingly practiced outside the office.
Here are some thoughts present the present and future of professional video conferencing, as well as practical keys to successful meetings.
Telecommuting Reinforces the Need for Video Conferencing
Thanks to the favorable technological context that we know today, video conferencing attracts a growing number of leaders. In a study published in 2013, Forrester Research stated that 51% wanted to deploy this technology for their employees. Until recently, employees had to go to their workplace to benefit from the online collaboration tools provided by their employer.
Access to the cloud and the many terminals they have now allow them to work from home with the same level of comfort as in the office. In addition, the widespread use of smartphones and mobile broadband enhances the ability to work anytime and anywhere, provided the environment and sound level are suitable.
Remote work thus becomes an attractive alternative for both the employee and the company, both of whom gain in terms of flexibility and constraints related to premises and transport. No wonder telecommuting has increased considerably in France: 16.7% of French employees telecommute in effect at least eight hours per month in 2014 according to an official report quoted by entreprendre.fr. In parallel with these evolutions of work, video conferencing becomes the ideal tool to connect the employee to the company.
The Tangible Benefits of Video Conferencing
Video conferencing also makes it possible to collaborate within the company, as well as with customers. Being able to engage in conversation instantly with one’s face-to-face interlocutor avoids unnecessary travel, which brings many benefits:
Saving time: The use of video conferencing makes it possible to optimize the time of the employees, the latter can devote the hours that they would have lost in transport to more productive activities.
Saving money: Every trip entails a cost for the company (transport, accommodation and catering).
A less restrictive organization: Video conferencing makes it possible to alleviate the constraints inherent to any physical appointment: meeting place, access …
A reduction in the carbon footprint: This subject, at the dawn of the organization of the COP21 in Paris now occupies an important place in the decisions of any responsible company.
In addition to optimizing employees’ agenda and bringing more productivity to the company, video conferencing also makes it easier for employees to meet and exchange ideas.
Video conferencing seems to be oriented towards a more immersive collaboration, where the virtual becomes more and more real. There are two tendencies that particularly attract my attention. They are expected to evolve significantly in the coming years:
Augmented reality: Witnessed by the acquisition of Occulus Rift by Facebook and the presentation in great pomp of the Hololens by Microsoft, augmented reality interests the giants of the Net. Its broad possibilities encourage massive investment in this technology.
Robotics: The idea of robots used remotely seemed little reserved for Hollywood writers, but it becomes reality thanks to Ub-Y, small automatons able to move at a distance, and equipped with a screen on which the user’s face, filmed by a webcam, appears.
Until these innovations become part of our daily lives, today’s video conferencing is indeed in this period of technological maturity.