Video poised to surpass audio-only conferences

To meet the challenges of this new communications landscape, enterprises will need to upgrade Wi-Fi networks, ensure that conference rooms include video capabilities and complete a thorough security checkup on their conferencing infrastructure.

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While audio has dominated workplace communications for the better half of the past century, a variety of factors are poised to take video to new heights this year, with the potential to surpass audio-only communications.

A key factor driving this transition is the relative cost of videoconferencing versus audio-only communications. According to the CRTC, the price of bandwidth dropped from $86 to $81 for high-usage customers. At the same time, service areas and speeds are increasing at a consistent rate, and cheaper Internet access means that video communication is often more cost-effective than long-distance phone calls and approximately 30 per cent more cost-effective than travel.

Plus, the proliferation of mobile devices, desktops and laptops with built-in cameras means that equipment is readily available at no additional cost.

With remote workers on the rise, there’s now greater physical distance between employees and head offices, which is why 87 per cent of remote workers reported feeling more connected to their colleagues when using desktop videoconferencing.

Studies have also found that participants are more attentive while videoconferencing, holding their attention spans for 35 minutes while on video compared to 23 minutes on the phone. Perhaps that’s because much of human communication, up to 93 per cent, is non-verbal.

Among senior managers, 75 per cent believe videoconferencing will replace conference calls, and experts project the enterprise video market will reach US$36.84 billion by 2020, up from US$16.98 billion in 2015.

To meet the challenges of this new communications landscape, enterprises will need to upgrade Wi-Fi networks and ensure that conference rooms include video capabilities as opposed to just speakerphones.

Like all changes to enterprise tech, the move to videoconferencing as a primary source of communication is not without security threats, which must be considered by network admins throughout the transition process. Those with preexisting videoconferencing capabilities should ensure they’re completing a thorough security checkup on their conferencing infrastructure on a regular basis.

“Be sure that your platform uses strong SSL encryption, which is critical for ensuring transmission security for web conferencing applications,” wrote Larry Dorie, CEO of RHUB Communications, in a recent blog post.

“Use a combination of proprietary encryption as well as SSL encryption, so that your organization can transmit meeting IDs and passwords in an encrypted and secure way. In addition, see if your videoconference platform allows you to operate it behind your own firewall, like an on-premise solution. This will allow you to restrict access to internal meetings through your private cloud.”

This transition will also require an investment in more than webcams and clients, suggested Dave Michels, an independent enterprise communications analyst, in a recent blog post. “Take a look at many of the new low-cost huddle room solutions,” he said. “Plan to work with facilities management to improve lighting and with human resources regarding policies and best-practices training.”

Image courtesy of Free Digital Photos

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