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Video Conferencing: Is This the Answer to Everything?

April 28, 2020

With the whole nation finally adjusted to working from home, it calls into question the “new normal”. At the turn of the decade, we would not have thought twice about travelling on public transport, nor meeting up with crowds of large people. Now, we’re adapting to alternatives, and it seems video calls are the tool of choice.

From client collaboration to quizzing

Before lockdown, the only people using Zoom were likely already remote workers, collaborating with freelancers and clients. Now, it’s not just the domain of the office worker – it’s the staple of all social interaction. 

In fact, Zoom has seen an exponential rise in the number of users. More of us signed up in Q1 2020 than the whole of 2019. It’s best for professionals, with up to 500 users at once. But for those who want to use it for free, calls are limited to 40 minutes and just 100 people. Not bad for a Friday night quiz.

The events world goes digital

We’re right in the midst of conference season, before most of the commerce world takes a summer break. The key difference is, nobody can attend large-scale trade shows in person. While some have been postponed or cancelled, others are taking an alternative approach. 

In a moment of panic, Google cancelled its world-famous IO event in March. However, since then it has published guidelines on how to livestream virtual gatherings, allowing conference attendees to communicate and learn remotely. 

It’s not just tech events either. The Virtual Design Festival, the first of its kind, is taking place from now until the end of June. Theatres are livestreaming performances in a bid to keep viewers interested, with the National Theatre offering a full, free service. Even fashion shows are coming to us from behind a screen, suggesting we don’t really need to be present to be present.

Many of these “events” also take a webinar format. As businesses adjust their marketing to meet our current needs, more and more are offering free online guides as webinars – great for promotion and serving clients during downtime. 

E-learning comes to the fore

Many parents have turned teachers overnight as schools continue to distribute the curriculum online. While children’s education is made easier with apps like MarvellousMe, adults are also furthering their learning. 

Our very own technical director Simon is even taking to CPD qualifications over Zoom, while others are learning for fun with apps like DuoLingo. With more access to e-learning resources than ever, video conferencing could spell the end of classroom learning for adults.

Business travel takes a backseat 

The controversial high-speed rail network HS2 was put on hold in March as the government turned its attentions towards tackling coronavirus. Now, it seems, business travel could no longer be needed at all. 

Even as far back as September 2019, before the crisis took hold, experts were noting the benefits of video conferencing. It was revealed that 33 per cent of workers said video calling reduced their travel, while 40 per cent said it made them feel more engaged. There’s also the sustainability element to consider, not to mention the mental health benefits of improving our work/life balance. 

Keeping us connected

While coronavirus has accelerated the pace of change in the workplace, it’s also shifted our social focus. Video calls won’t just help us to balance our family life and stay in the know. They also keep us entertained, from apps like HouseParty to Facebook video chat. We’re becoming a generation of content creators, turning to apps like Instagram to livestream our talents, whether they’re cooking, dancing or just saying hello. 

If nothing else, this global crisis has taught us the benefits of staying in touch, and making the most of our home space. To make the most of your video calls, make sure you:

  • Sit in a well-lit space, ideally with automated lighting to change dynamically with the sun
  • Have a reliable wireless internet connection
  • Set boundaries with other members in your household – particularly children
  • Make more allowances for you and other participants to have “unwelcome distractions”
  • Schedule calls in advance and sign in 15 minutes prior to avoid teething problems.

For more tips on turning your home into the ideal living and working space, contact us today