It’s no surprise that video calling statistics have rocketed since the coronavirus outbreak began. Thousands of people around the world have quickly adjusted to using video conferencing and collaboration tools as a way to maintain more meaningful communication with their colleagues, friends and families, as they adjust abruptly to social distancing.
But is this a temporary change in communication, or has the current climate paved the way for a permanent shift towards visual communications, both in our personal and professional lives?
As the pandemic changes the way we live, work and interact, it could be creating a new normal for video communications that will last long after social distancing restrictions have been lifted.
When customer services are weak, and your workforce is struggling to remain professional due to dropped signal, productivity dips. The retention of customers and attracting a new audience then become a challenge, resulting in a decline of business growth and ROI.
Surge in demand for video – and security problems
In March, emergency measures in various countries caused a surge in adoption of video calling software. Webex hosted 50 million virtual meetings from 1st – 26th March, Zoom reported a 535% rise in global daily traffic, and Microsoft Teams recorded a 775% increase in Teams calling over a one-month period of Italy’s lockdown. In the UK alone, research by EY found that 18% of people surveyed had tried video calling for the first time since social distancing began.
Yet in the rush to onboard video conferencing and collaboration, security concerns have been shifted to the back burner – which could prove catastrophic if they are not addressed soon. Arvind Narayanan, an associate computer science professor at Princeton University, went as far as to say that Zoom’s security flaws made it as bad as malicious software. A lack of end-to-end encryption on the platform raises risks of data breaches, hacking and confidential information leaks, which is particularly worrying given Zoom’s sudden burst of popularity with individuals, businesses and government departments alike.
But this does not need to be a barrier for businesses looking to embrace video capabilities as a key part of their communication, now or in the future. Unlike Zoom, Webex features end-to-end encryption that makes the platform – and the conversations that take place on it – secure. And with cloud capabilities, it can easily and quickly be adopted by remote-working teams.
Future expectations for face-to-face
Video conferencing has been lauded as a game-changer for several years, but has always faced a slight reticence from users. In many offices, video calls have until now been reserved for important long-distance meetings, or specific group meetings, as opposed to being used as an everyday tool to chat to clients, suppliers or remote colleagues. At home, while younger generations have embraced video-based communications through apps like Snapchat and TikTok, others have restricted it’s use to reaching out to far-flung friends and relations.
Yet this period of remote working appears to have given video conferencing the nudge it needed to get over this hurdle. With people confined to their homes, video has become a valuable way to integrate with the world – and that slight awkwardness associated with the software has quickly evaporated in a time of need.
This could dramatically change expectations for business communications in the future – and open doors for companies in both the B2B and B2C space.
A study by Michigan University, back in 2017, found video calling the second-best method of communication to build trust, second only to in-person contact. With video calling now more widely embraced across various sectors of society, demand for face-to-face customer service and account management is likely to rise – providing businesses with an opportunity to build relationships and improve trust scores.
EY’s research also found respondents more ready to engage digitally with service providers, rather than through traditional telephone correspondence, since the outbreak began. Interesting use-cases of existing video customer services include Google’s Helpouts, Durham County Council’s Durham Talk and Schuh’s Live Help feature. It will be interesting to see how many businesses launch their own video services to respond to increased demand – and what those services will look like.
Predicting the future of video
It’s impossible to know how long remote working and social distancing will continue, but what we do know is that video conferencing is an invaluable tool both in the here and now, and for the future of communications.
To find a secure video platform that suits your business needs – whether you need internal communications or customer facing applications – please get in touch – firstname.lastname@example.org. We can help you find the platform for you – and with cloud capabilities available, we’re able to get your collaboration tools up and running immediately while your teams work from home.