Modern offices are changing. Rather than everyone working in the same location, businesses are instead relying upon employees in different states or entirely different countries. How can everyone stay in touch?
The answer is video conferencing. Video conferencing makes it possible for employees to communicate as though they’re in the exact same room regardless of where they are physically. However, there are some challenges to adoption that businesses need to address.
The Advantages of Video Conferencing
Through video conferencing, employees can easily communicate in a natural, organic way. While text chat and phone calls may be available, they don’t allow employees to use non-verbal communication or visual media. Through video, employees can easily view slide shows, demonstrations and presentations. Many people find video conferences a more comfortable method of communication. With high-quality video, the experience can be identical to being in the same room with someone else.
As technology has advanced, it’s become possible to video conference with an entire team at once. This can easily take the place of face-to-face meetings, especially when the team is split into multiple offices. Even within the same office, a video conference is a fast, easy way to communicate without having to pull everyone away from their desks.
The Best in Video-Conferencing Tools
- Skype is likely the most popular tool for video conferences. In fact, its major advantage is adoption: most businesses have Skype installed, and most employees know how to use it. However, there is one disadvantage: Skype for Business is about to become deprecated. Skype was acquired by Microsoft — and Microsoft is primarily focusing on MS Teams. That doesn’t mean that Skype doesn’t still work fantastically well. It’s an intuitive, affordable tool. Moving forward, though, it may not have as many functions available as other platforms.
- MS Teams is integrated into the Microsoft Office platform. Operating both natively and through the web, MS Teams is a communication and collaboration tool that allows text chat, phone calls and video conferences. Video conferences can either be held one-on-one or with large numbers of people at once. Microsoft is devoting a lot of time into improving the MS Teams platform, providing integration with additional third-party services and ensuring that the system is reliable and scalable. However, much of its technology is very similar to Skype — and more employees are used to Skype.
- TeamViewer is a different type of conferencing solution, primarily meant to stream video from desktop computers, smartphones and tablets. However, it has robust web-conferencing features which complement its screen-sharing abilities. TeamViewer is used by many businesses that put conferencing at the forefront of their collaborative strategies. It’s a more advanced solution than many others and is primarily helpful when conferences need to include technical information or directions.
- There was a time when GoToMeeting was the dominant solution for large-scale video conferencing. While today there are more options available, GoToMeeting remains one of the most versatile tools. With both desktop sharing and conferencing features, this platform is frequently used by companies that need to collaborate office-to-office. Meetings can be easily set up and joined online without having to install software. GoToMeeting is owned by LogMeIn, which is a remote work and collaboration tool.
Challenges in Video Conferencing
With video conferencing being as useful as it is, why are some businesses lagging behind in adoption? Streaming video requires that a business have high-speed, reliable internet access. When internet access is slow, video conferences are almost impossible to use. Many of the complaints people have with video conferences are related to the underlying internet technology. Jerky, low-speed conferences can feel unnatural and awkward, making communication more difficult.
In the future, most meetings will likely be conducted through video conferencing. Companies that have yet to adopt video-conference technology will need to push toward deployment. Not only does it make it easier for multiple offices to communicate, but it also makes it possible to leverage the distributed, scalable and cost-effective infrastructure of the modern office. For more information about the benefits of high-speed internet, contact PS LIGHTWAVE.