Finding a modern business that doesn't regularly use videoconferencing (VC) is hard. And while the requirements of social distancing substantially boosted the use of videoconferencing during the pandemic, its increased use has continued because it is practical and makes good business sense.
This article examines the current state of videoconferencing in the business world and how it has become an integral part of most businesses today. We also take a peek into what the future holds for this technology.
Gone are the days of grainy webcams with a low-quality sound that cuts in and out. For a videoconferencing system to be considered a viable alternative to face-to-face communication, the quality of the conversation must be impeccable. We don't just mean HD video or CD-quality sound, either; we're talking about an experience that accurately emulates real, face-to-face interaction.
Some of a videoconferencing system's most important performance metrics involve the quality of interpersonal engagement during a meeting. The factors affecting this include the following:
- Video quality: Clearly capturing body language, physical gestures, and facial expressions is of utmost importance.
- Sound quality: Generating a faithful reproduction of participants' voices and conversations is necessary for clear communication to occur.
- Full duplex quality: Often, one of the most challenging things for videoconferencing systems to deal with is when participants speak at the same time. High-quality, full-duplex capabilities are required to capture, transmit, and reproduce voices simultaneously, ensuring that every word is captured and successfully conveyed.
Supplemental capabilities of today's systems
Quality is obviously of utmost importance, but it's really just "table stakes" in the modern business environment. A great videoconferencing system also must bring with it supplemental capabilities and functions that add utility to the communications platform as a whole. These essential features enrich human interaction and enhance productivity.
As videoconferencing systems have become more advanced, they have grown in usefulness and evolved into a much more attractive alternative to expensive travel. The abilities outlined below help enable this.
Features like the following increase participant comfort while saving time and making the videoconference more like an in-person meeting:
- AI-driven speaker framing: This feature automatically zooms into the current speaker in a group setting while maintaining high video quality.
- AI assistants: These types of features enable the automation of specific tasks, such as managing meeting room schedules, sending out pre-meeting emails and post-meeting reports, on-the-fly translation, facial recognition, preparing summary notes, and automatically preparing and sharing recorded videos and transcripts of meetings.
- Traditional whiteboard capture: This capability allows the recording and transmission of a conventional whiteboard so that it is clear to remote participants.
Additional interaction channels
Extra ways of interaction during a meeting help make videoconferencing more dynamic while enhancing the user experience:
- Interactive screen sharing: The meaningful conveyance of information and collaboration via a shared interface is an essential part of many meetings. Specific features in this area include remote control, sharing only part of your screen and avoiding the distracting appearance of personal messages that may pop up during sharing.
- Collaborative apps: Specialized apps allow users to engage more closely during meetings, including facilitating the asking of questions, answering polls, and even collaborating on project management milestones.
- File and content sharing: Many presentations and meetings require that participants be provided with materials of various types.
The future of VC
In 2021, Frost & Sullivan published a report concluding that by 2025, the number of videoconferencing devices worldwide — including room-based endpoints and personal communications devices — would reach over 12.5 million, compared with just 2 million in 2020.
The report also predicts a tripling of videoconferencing revenue from an estimated $2.5 billion in 2020 to $7.71 billion in 2025.
We are now in 2023, and we have already seen some of these predictions come true. The report talks about "the tipping point for video adoption" arriving, and we are witnessing inklings of that today.
Indeed, the factors affecting this tipping point included the increase in remote and hybrid work, the advancement of AI-based companion tools, and a "video-first" mentality: the tendency for people to often prefer meeting via videoconferencing even when a face-to-face meeting is a viable option.
The benefits of today's VC systems
The trends discussed above have influenced and empowered VC manufacturers to advance their product lines more quickly and effectively. Yealink's series of enterprise meeting solutions is an excellent example of a highly capable VC system series that includes a wide range of cameras, collaboration bars, and headsets. This high-quality equipment delivers seamless integration as well as high security.
Jabra is another outstanding example of a highly innovative VC product and equipment manufacturer. This can be seen especially in the newest PanaCast video bar, with its high-quality microphone array and innovative, three-lens, 4K, true 180° panoramic camera.
This device incorporates an advanced AI capability called Virtual Director that leverages both audio and video feeds in conjunction with intelligent algorithms to automatically reframe the scene based on meeting activities. The hardware and software work together to adeptly identify and zoom in on active speakers, promoting a fully interactive and immersive remote meeting experience.
Similarly, Grandstream's extensive array of videoconferencing systems and accessories delivers many of the most innovative features and capabilities of the advanced VC market. Add to that the company's IPVideoTalk web meeting and collaboration platform, and you have a company that can meet the videoconferencing needs of virtually all types of enterprises.
The advancements in videoconferencing technology over the past few years have revolutionized the way we communicate and conduct meetings. This has been accelerated by a variety of factors, initially by an unexpected global health crisis and later by the vastly improved VC quality and innovative tools and functions these systems and platforms provide.
Today, videoconferencing is not just an alternative. It has become an integral part of the best practices of many businesses, educational institutions and other organizations.
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