Chances are good you’ve used video conferencing in the past month – and you’re not alone. Your employees are using video conferencing as well. While you might not have given video much thought, the recent release of Workplace by Facebook should be enough to draw your attention to the fact that video has become the norm in the workplace – and you best approach it strategically.
In a study conducted by Wainhouse Research, a whopping 90% of respondents claimed to have used video conferencing in the prior month. Senior Analyst Andrew Davis writes, “[G]iven all the personal and cloud-based solutions out there, and given the consumerization of video calling, visual communications seems to have turned a corner.”
Still not convinced? Consider this: Facebook has officially launched its version of the social media network for the workplace. The standalone application, which is aptly named Workplace, looks very similar to the consumer version of Facebook. It includes features like News Feed, Reactions, Search and Trending posts. It also incorporates video calling.
This is a natural step in the evolution of corporate collaboration and communications. Sarah Lloyd, EMEA Communications Leader for Polycom, writes, “Social media has drastically changed the way we communicate and maintain relationships with one another in our personal lives, so it was inevitable that this style of interaction would eventually creep into our work lives too. We are now constantly connected and the pace of business is quickening, so it’s crucial for work teams to be agile. Any tool that improves communication across levels of seniority, departments, or even continents, is going to be beneficial to an organization.”
With video conferencing now ubiquitous, it’s easy to take for granted. But it behooves CEOs and senior leaders to consider the benefits of deploying an enterprise-grade solution. A quality video collaboration platform can keep remote employees connected, enhance customer experience, drive innovation, increase shareholder and investor trust – and that’s just the beginning.
Given the important role video plays in bringing together dispersed teams and enhancing collaboration, senior leaders need to take a strategic approach to choosing an enterprise-grade video solution. A solution like Workplace offers the benefit of familiarity. It stands to reason that user adoption will be successful because employees are already accustomed to the interface. However, there’s more to consider when choosing a video collaboration platform for the enterprise.
The Wainhouse Research study found that 60% of video calls in 2015 involved content sharing. The ability to easily push content to the screen enables participants to more effectively collaborate. It ensures that everyone is looking at the same document and improves productivity. There’s no need to pause the meeting while everyone repeatedly refreshes their email inbox and downloads the most recent presentation. And if the call goes in an unexpected direction, new content can be shared immediately.
An enterprise grade video conferencing solution also incorporates key features and capabilities to enhance the user experience – because a consumer-grade experience is not adequate when employees are talking to business partners, potential customers or shareholders. For example, webcams work fine on a personal device, but the image suffers when you get further than an arm’s length away from the camera. A conference or board room should be equipped with a pan-tilt-zoom camera that features presenter-tracking technology. Such a camera automatically detects and focuses on the person speaking, enabling remote participants to see the speaker’s facial expressions and hand gestures.
Senior leaders should also consider noise-blocking technology to reduce presence disparity. Acoustic Fence, for example, can block background noise on either end of a video call, such as a dog barking, participants murmuring in the back of the room or keyboard tapping. This helps ensure that participants remain productive and focus on the topic at hand rather than external distractions.
Finally, senior leaders should consider ease of use and their corporate culture when choosing a video solution. It should be intuitive but also contribute to a culture of professionalism. Especially when employees work flexible schedules, it is important that a video solution convey the appropriate tone for everyone involved. A corporate-looking interface can serve to remind users of the need to be professional regardless of where and when they’re working. It also serves to differentiate the solution – which may be a welcome reprieve for those employees who have stepped away from social media in their personal lives.