Videoconferencing (VC) has seen a huge growth in user numbers over the past couple of years. In no period has this shown to be the case more than the last 12 months, with some reports valuing the VC global market at anywhere between $6-9billion.
But this hasn’t always been the case. Videoconferencing has only recently seen such widespread adoption as Cloud services have become more accessible and internet speeds have increased. This, combined with the development of smaller, more lightweight endpoints, has cut costs and enabled easier distribution, installation and use.
Early iterations of what we might consider ‘modern videoconferencing’ came during the 1990s, with the likes of IBM’s PicTel, and Apple Macintosh’s CU-SeeMe. However, these earlier systems were very expensive and had limited functionality (compared to today’s examples), prohibiting small and medium sized businesses from utilising the technology; it would be two years before audio was even introduced to the CU-SeeMe, firstly being released as a video-only system, and therefore limiting user communication.
These solutions have come a long way since. Even to the point where artificial intelligence (AI) can track and recognise individual voices, and even begin a meeting simply by walking into a room.
So, with videoconferencing looking to become a mainstay in our working lives after a 535% increase in daily traffic in 2020, what are five of the biggest benefits businesses can expect from the increased adoption?
1. Reduced Time and Increased Simplicity
Conducting meetings through videoconferencing can reduce the hours spent preparing for meetings and limiting the amount of time wasted before and after.
Pre-Covid, a survey of 1,000 office workers across the UK suggests an average employee spent 10 hours and 42 minutes each week preparing for and attending 4.4 meetings, with 2.6 of those deemed unnecessary, costing the UK’s 5.4 million businesses about £191 billion a year.*
VC also removes time spent preparing meeting rooms. Smart huddle space solutions, and USB camera attachments allow users to create 4K quality pictures by simply attaching a small device to their laptop. One-touch join features also drastically simplify the engagement process when joining meetings.
The increase in the quality of videoconferencing and audio is quickly blurring the lines between the in-person and the virtual.
2. Improved Communication
Face-to-face meetings no longer have to be scheduled days or weeks in advance. Dialling a number, or clicking on a meeting link, now offers instant face-to-face communication.
Through videoconferencing we’re able to conduct these meetings from anywhere with anyone who has an internet connection, enabling instant long-distance communication with colleagues and customers.
According to a survey conducted by Lifesize, 98% of respondents also say that video strengthens their relationships both inside and outside the company.
VC offers the opportunity for geographically dispersed individuals to communicate in real-time with live expressions, clear voice intonations and less ambiguity.
We’ve all received an email and, due to the unclear nuance of written communication, had to ask the other person to clarify their meaning.
But thanks to being able to meet face-to-face instantly through video, projects are completed more quickly and effectively, productivity is enhanced, and relationships are built.
3. Increased Productivity and Flexibility
As videoconferencing has become the norm, employees are consistently reporting improvements in meeting productivity; Wainhouse Research found that 94% of businesses saw some form of productivity boost.
This could be, in part, due to the flexibility that VC affords. Meetings are scheduled with a fixed start and end time, and with many platforms these meetings alert the attendees as its end-time draws near.
This is helping prevent meetings running over, or at least giving the more polite attendees an excuse to hold their hands up and say, “Thank you for your time, but I need to be somewhere else”.
Not only that, but meeting platforms are also increasingly implementing monitoring and analysis features so organisers and attendees can make the most of each meeting interaction through AI voice tracking and recording.
Being able to receive automatic transcripts and being able to target specific topics once the meeting has concluded, allows knowledge to be recorded and preserved for future use. This prevents needing to take additional time out of someone’s day to cover topics that have already been discussed.
4. Reduced Costs
Face-to-face meetings can be invaluable. They’re a great tool for establishing rapport in an early business relationship or maintaining an old one, turning distant acquaintances into lasting, close partnerships.
But the cost to the business can add up quite considerably if conducted on a regular basis.
Businesses that take advantage of the wealth of videoconferencing software and hardware available could save an average of $33k a year on business trips according to LyteSpark research.
This isn’t just a direct monetary saving either, but the time spent travelling between destinations can now be distributed elsewhere into the business, compounding the cost saving benefits.
5. The Environmental
And finally, we have the positive impact videoconferencing can have on the environment.
A reduction in business travel has an obviously positive direct impact on greenhouse emissions; less travel equals less pollution.
This may seem obvious, but it isn’t as black and white as it first may appear.
One study that highlighted this more than most was that conducted by the University of Michigan’s Grant Faber. He compared the environmental impact of in-person and virtual conferences.
His study found that, despite 6 hours of video meetings generating around 1,300KG of carbon emissions, this was in stark contrast to traditional conferences which typically generates over 66 times this amount.
Of course, this is but a snapshot study with a multitude of factors that may vary depending on the size and location of the conference.
But this does bring to light the disparity between the physical and the digital where the environment is concerned.
So as we’ve seen, videoconferencing has many benefits as we move into a new era of hybrid working.
Not only is it helping us stay closely connected, when working has never seemed so distant, it’s also enabling workers to take back control of their meetings and really understand where their time could be best placed.
VC is also helping people feel less isolated while remote working with 87% of remote team members claiming that they feel more connected with their team.
Here at Nuvias UC we’re helping make the transition to hybrid working as easy as possible for the Channel.
Whether your customers are looking for a remote working USB device, perfect for plug-and-play quick use. Or our new Zoom+ all-in-one room bundles, integrating Zoom licenses with some of the world’s leading video hardware vendors with optional maintenance packages, our portfolio of videoconferencing vendors is sure to have something to support your customers’ requirements.