How has COVID-19 Changed the Way We Look at Video Calling?
Video calling is not new. The technology has existed since 1964. Yes, you read that right. 1964. It is only recently that the technology has started to gain popularity. Web conferencing and screen sharing have been the go-to solution for conducting meetings and conversations with customers and colleagues for years. But the trend was changing, as more businesses adopted video conferencing technologies.
And then, the world as we knew it changed literally overnight. What was once optional became required to maintaining critical business operations. Face to face, boardroom meetings were not available. How was a business to maintain these critical business collaborations when they couldn’t have physical meetings? The answer was obviously video calling and conferencing.
Why Video Calling?
The official definition of human communication is “the production and reception of spoken, written, signed, or gestured information among human beings; involves the use of symbols known as language received through the auditory, tactile, proprioceptive, and visual systems and generated through voice and speech, writing, manual signs, and gestures; communication among humans may at times involve the vestibular, olfactory, and gustatory senses.” And boy is that a mouthful. In short, human communication is effectively the combination of words (sounds) and gestures (visible cues.)
Let’s think about it this way. How effective would your communication be if you could only see the person you were speaking with, but not hearing? It would be a struggle, right?
Or what about just written forms of communication, ex. E-mail. Can you tell the emotion behind a person’s words when reading the written word? No, not really. While phrasing can make a difference in interpretation, it’s not a concrete way of truly understanding the nuances behind the words. “Can you do this right now” could be both an order and a request.
While communication can occur if you can just hear the other person in the conversation, but not see, it can add another layer of understanding if you could see the person. The vocal inflections used and the facial expressions give you a better idea of the emotions behind what a person is really trying to communicate.
Three Ways COVID-19 is Changing Business Communications
Video calling was already gaining traction prior to the crisis of COVID-19, so how has this health crisis changed the way we view video calling? We see three key trends emerging as we begin to move towards the “new normal.”
COVID-19 has changed the culture around collaboration
Video calling is not new and has been a part of our business toolkit for many years. However, COVID-19 has resulted in businesses like Zoom seeing a 50% growth in daily users, indicating that businesses are seeing it in a different light. Now, collaboration is more than just gathering in a room with a whiteboard and bouncing ideas off of each other. Collaboration now includes group chats and video calls to move projects forward, not just in-person meetings. Video collaboration also is more efficient than the typical in-person meeting, largely due to the fact that there are fewer disruptions, and participants are more focused.
Video calling keeps the business going
Business continuity has been a very important discussion for years, and the cloud concept has widely been touted as an effective way to ensure your business remains connected in the event of a disruption. And businesses across the world saw this in action when the world stopped literally overnight. With a few clicks of the mouse, a business was able to transform its business strategy from an in-office strategy to a remote strategy. Not only that, but video calling enhanced those connections from pure voice to helping colleagues feel connected and communicate better.
Moving digital transformation forward
Digital transformation has been a buzz word in the tech industry for years. CIO Magazine defines digital transformation as “a foundational change in how businesses deliver value to their customers.” And digital transformation goes well beyond just replacing old technology with new, it’s a complete disruption in how business gets done. COVID-19 essentially forced many businesses to digitally transform overnight, and as many businesses have learned that not only can they accomplish it, but it actually could work better than the traditional methods of meeting their customer’s needs.
Video Calling Will Kill the Audio Call?
Ok. Maybe not, but the lyric is certainly catchy. The audio call will always have a place in business communications, but as businesses rethink the normal for the post-COVID recovery, video calling will play a pivotal role in many enterprises’ recovery. Have you given much thought to the role video calls will play in your business as you reopen? What role do you see video continuing to play in your future business strategy?