There are many measures governments are implementing because of the Covid pandemic. Social distancing, masks, quarantines, etc. have impacted everyone in some way. Companies are embracing a work-from-home business model in relation to their employees. For this reason, the popularity of secondary communication methods has soared lately. The early stages of the pandemic saw a huge amount of downloads of various video conferencing apps. These downloads ranged in tens of millions per week. We have all heard of the industry giants like Zoom. Other brands followed suit, designing their own video conferencing applications. These had their own perks and features that differentiated them from the competition. The business world benefited the most from the advent of video conferencing technologies. From internal meetings to customer-facing contact centres, there is nothing video conferencing cannot replace. Whether you are looking to invest or just utilize, let’s see how the video conferencing industry has exploded.
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1. Video conferencing brands
Zoom came out on top as the leading application during the pandemic. On the other hand, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and other industry leaders have all launched their equivalents to compete with it. And the market is getting more competitive by the day. Google will be releasing its premium video conferencing software for free so everyone can use it. Google Meet was previously kept behind a paywall. With it being free, all a user will need is a Google account. Facebook is also launching its portfolio. Messenger rooms tackle one of the most notable limitations of this service. Facebook calls are limited to eight participants. Messenger Rooms will make it possible for fifty people to conference into a video call. Lastly, Microsoft is looking into enhancing its video conferencing systems. Their angle is to make meetings more engaging. As we can see, every brand has its angle.
2. The investor’s angle
Video conferences have become a necessity in today’s economic climate. It is by no means a replacement for face-to-face communication, but it is the next best thing. It keeps the world spinning. Social distancing, travel restrictions, and other imposed measures, video conferencing is only going to expand even further. This type of communication has been beneficial for both professional live and private ones as well. Video conferencing also made its way into the classroom. Schools and universities were also forced to find a way to utilise this form of communication to teach remotely. The stock shares of video conferencing brands have increased substantially. Over the span of just under two years, some stocks have increased several times in value. Other companies like Facebook, Google, and Microsoft can attribute a substantial part of their growth to their video conferencing offerings. These seem like safe bets when it comes to investing.
3. The long-term prospects
The global pandemic we find ourselves in proved to be a testing ground for remote working. Most of the world has already adapted to the new home office environments. Studies show that people are largely very satisfied with the new working conditions, or lack thereof. The younger working generations put great emphasis on workplace flexibility. A good portion of these employees does not want to return to the office at all. And an even smaller percentage wants to return to the office full-time, just as before. This remote working experiment proved extraordinarily successful for some industries. These businesses are transitioning away from acquiring or renting large office spaces in cost-saving measures. This lack of immediate proximity between employees will result in a continuous increase in communication software. Video conferencing software will have to fill that gap. The workforce will have to remain connected at all times.
4. The impact on industries
As mentioned before, all industries and niches were impacted by this global event. As a response, everyone had to adjust to some extent. Healthcare, education, technology, and professional services sectors had to adopt remote collaboration methods in order to continue functioning. These trends are so favourable that they will most likely continue in the future, even when the global pandemic dies down eventually. In the healthcare industry, 67% of businesses agree that the company in question is considering a flexible remote working model. This will mostly be leveraged with the various available video conferencing solutions. Education saw a 350% increase in the use of these tools which is a no-brainer. When it comes to technology industries and professional services, all that can be delegated to a remote working environment has saved money, time, effort, and made the employees much safer. These surveys make the direction towards the future obvious.
5. Bringing remote teams together
The remote working environment we find ourselves in today required quality products and services. The reason is that the transition to this kind of environment needs to be as seamless as possible. It is not easy for supervisors and employees alike to thrive when working remotely. There needs to be a degree of communication and collaboration in order for a company to do business competitively. This is why we all need the right tools for the job. Remote staff also needs to be instructed and coached to achieve a required level of competency. As mentioned before, there has been an explosion of new video conferencing options to choose from. Each of these has its own unique feature set. It is up to us to explore all of these and figure out which will suit our industry and niche the best. Consider all the factors and make an educated decision.
6. The visual aspect
As companies and employees push for more sophisticated video conferencing tools, they will inevitably demand more appealing visuals. There are several technologies that allow for an intuitive and aesthetically sound video conferencing experience. Firstly, the advent of broadband Internet allows for high-definition video to be transferred from one point to another with ease. Mobile devices such as smartphones and stationary ones like PCs allow for a clear image. The infrastructure is ubiquitous and pretty much everyone owns a piece of it. It is up to the application developers to make the most use of what these technologies make possible. Developers are working on AI and algorithms which will drown the background noise of participants. This will result in a much better user experience when using microphones. Sound quality will no longer demand from the user to have studio-grade audio equipment. For personal settings, there are video filters and much more.
An atomized communication method
There will be many more trends that will arise from this form of secondary communication. Large-scale meetings that are tedious and boring are making way for smaller ones. These will include focused groups that will meet for shorter periods of time in a far less formal environment. The traditional board and meeting room will become obsolete. Some even foresee the coming of video conferencing, pods and booths. There is a high probability that these will replace the modern meeting room. If and when a portion of the workforce returns to the official workplace, these small spaces will act as a takeaway from a more informal, home-office setting. A smaller meeting space such as this will allow for more meetings to be conducted at any given time. Overall, communication will be more efficient and atomized. Save for those big, all-hands-on-deck meetings, that is.
Just a couple of years ago, no one could anticipate the impact a global pandemic can have on everyone’s lives. Building a pandemic-proof portfolio will not be easy. For those in the know, this shift in the market can prove to be a great investment opportunity. The world changes and so do the tools necessary for everyone to operate within it. With the right strategy, we can thrive in any personal and business environment. Inform yourself of the benefits, drawbacks, and responsibilities of remote communication methods.
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