- Video conferencing software is a digital tool that allows remote users to conduct face-to-face meetings.
- Find out which video conference features are trending and how they can improve your workflow so that you can keep your business up to date with the most efficient software.
- The most common solutions for video conferencing include Skype, Zoom, Google Hangouts, Microsoft Teams and Slack.
Technology is a bittersweet combination of innovation and obsolescence. On one hand, there's an ever-improving state of product development due to the rapid evolution of technology. On the other hand, the pace of technology requires constant updates, which can leave many business owners using outdated technology.
With video conferencing, none of the traditional communication issues – accessibility, different locations and time zones, and costs – are massive concerns anymore. The ease of access and its ability to facilitate communication make video conferencing an important technology for businesses today. However, keeping up with the software's newest trends is a must to ensure that your team has the video communication tools they need for a collaborative and efficient work environment.
What is video conferencing software?
Video conferencing software allows businesses to conduct face-to-face meetings, regardless of where everyone is located. Whether you're hosting online staff meetings, job training, one-on-one chats or simple brainstorming sessions, conducting an effective video conference call requires up-to-date software and a stable data connection.
"[Video conferencing software] is very beneficial for any organization because it saves time and the hassle associated with travel, cuts expenses, and increases productivity," said Ayushi Sharma, marketing manager for iFour Technolab Pvt. Ltd. "These solutions let users share their screens, remotely access one another's PCs, exchange documents, chat via text, communicate through digital whiteboards, and even broadcast conferences to large groups of viewers."
There are various ways to set up video conferencing software, such as with desktop computers, laptops, mobile devices like smartphones and tablets, or in-room equipment. Some video conferencing services offer a free plan, making it an affordable option for even very small businesses.
The most common solutions for video conferencing are Skype, Zoom, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams and Slack. The best software for your business depends on several factors, such as your number of employees, company budget and any specific features your team requires.
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What new video conferencing trends and technology are currently available?
Video conferencing technology is prioritizing mobile usage now more than ever. On-the-go access to video chat is a huge convenience for many businesses, whether online or in the office.
It's important to understand why certain trends are thriving – specifically, how they can improve your workflow – so that you can decide if you need to upgrade your software to keep your business up to date and running as efficiently as possible.
Below are the top four new trends in video conferencing technology, according to Rima Shah, a link-building analyst at Technostacks Infotech Pvt. Ltd.
- Productivity-enhancing features: New video conferencing technology has transcription, video-clipping, and file- and screen-sharing capabilities. It also integrates with other video apps.
- Live video editing: Some solutions, like Zoom and Skype, already offer features that support green screen and virtual backgrounds and are actively adding more live editing capabilities. In the future, more basic business video apps will support live video editing.
- Assistance of AI/ML: Tech leaders are creating machine learning programs that can transcribe audio, count video attendees and provide insights into attendee engagement. This can help you focus on the most impactful aspects of your meeting. AI can erase a lot of background noise in meetings, and machine learning algorithms will be able to discern which speaker should be active.
- Micro-LED displays: The demand for clearer, more vivid interfaces on both desktop and mobile screens has led to the development of new hardware and software that can smoothly project high-quality video conference rooms.
How has video conferencing evolved over the years?
Video conferencing has grown into a big industry as more and more companies embrace remote working arrangements for their teams. In the past, video conferencing was mainly a means of connecting friends and family, but the growing demand for video conferencing from the corporate sector has helped it evolve into an accessible, affordable communication tool for businesses of all sizes.
Shah said video conferencing has grown by leaps and bounds over the years. Here's a brief overview of its history.
- 1960s: The first video telephone device designed for the masses allowed a user to communicate by video with a person on the other end of the line for 10 minutes at a time.
- 1980s: The internet and video compression enabled more possibilities for video collaboration via desktop.
- 2000s: Video adoption and usage increased in the healthcare, military, and legal sectors. This is when video conferencing really began to take off within corporate enterprises that needed to reduce travel, increase product time to market and improve collaboration.
- Present: Wi-Fi and HD video camera technology in smartphones and laptops pushed video conferencing from corporate meeting rooms to the computers and mobile devices of workers from businesses of every size.
Now that video conferencing has a much wider user base, many developers are seeing a significant increase in revenue and already designing new features in hopes of keeping this new demographic for their long-term customer base.
Beyond the video conferencing technology timeline lies the evolving nature of its functionality, ease of use and cost. Shah named these ways that video conferencing technology has evolved:
- Hassle-free installation: There's no need to grapple with complicated hardware and confusing communication lines. Now, most video conferencing software uses the video camera and microphone built into your computer or mobile device, so all you need to do is download the application.
- Improved UI/UX: Conducting a conference shouldn't require an advanced degree in technology. New solutions offer intuitive interfaces to make operation simple.
- Scalability: Most legacy systems used hardware tied to one specific computer or built into the conference room itself, limiting the possibility of expansion and upgrades. This is no longer a concern with today's video conference solutions.
- Affordability: Modern systems don't carry the steep capital investment required by past video conferencing models. Today, many providers offer a basic, free service that you can use on devices you already own.
What are the key video conferencing market drivers?
Globally, video conferencing is witnessing considerable growth due to the increasing adoption of cloud-based video conferencing solutions and the growing demand for unified communication solutions across various industry verticals.
With the emergence of 3D technology, the video conferencing market is expected to show a compound annual growth rate of 8.4% between 2020 and 2027, according to the Transparency Market Research report. The video conferencing market was valued at more than $6 million in 2019.
Here are the three key video conferencing market drivers.
- Hosted video conferencing services: With the rise of cloud-based solutions, video conferencing is an easy and affordable communication tool. Since on-premises deployment is now generally used only on an as-needed basis, such as for large conference rooms, most users won't need to buy special hardware or pay for installation. Cloud-based software also offers convenience to users, as they can access conferencing solutions from laptops, tablets and cell phones.
- Remote work: Video conferencing solutions are primarily used for cost-effective, real-time and long-distance communication for teams based in different locations. As remote work becomes increasingly normal, video conference usage will continue to rise. Most businesses use video conferencing for meetings, webinars and companywide discussions.
- Telemedicine: Telemedicine is a rapidly growing component of healthcare that uses video conferencing technology. There are roughly 200 telemedicine networks with more than 3,500 service sites in the U.S. that offer video consultations to nearly 1 million Americans, according to the American Telemedicine Association.
How will video conferencing change business in the future?
Businesses that have recently been forced to switch to remote work may grow to prefer this working arrangement and wonder if they should continue paying to lease an office. A significant number of users may continue to rely on video conferencing solutions. As internet providers work relentlessly to offer faster broadband because of the COVID-19 pandemic, a better infrastructure for remote working and video conferencing is being created simultaneously.
In the years to come, video conferencing will help build a more collaborative remote work environment that helps keep your employees engaged. Shah said there are four key ways that video conferencing will change businesses in the future.
- Cost: Video conferencing solutions have huge financial benefits for businesses. The ability to meet face-to-face and collaborate using video calls reduces the need to travel, which means you can put your travel and accommodations budget to use elsewhere. Also, because the data generated from conference calls is stored in the cloud, you won't have to worry about managing and paying for data storage.
- Ease of HR processes: Virtual meetings, interviews, training and brainstorming sessions can be conducted for employees across multiple branches of your business, even those out of the country.
- Workplace structure: Video conferencing increases your team's flexibility and freedom. Remote work can improve your employees' work-life balance, which will increase your business's productivity, employee engagement and retention.