Video Conferences- before and after Covid19
1 November 2020
The Coronavirus era is certainly a challenging one. This is only natural, considering humanity experiencing one its greatest crises. However, every crisis sees an area go through drastic changes. This crisis has featured a technological advance and flourish in the field of video, specifically video conferences.
Video Conferences are a technology which enables users located in different locations to meet through video calls without physically gathering at a specific location.
Video conferences can be held via computer, designated conference rooms with an internet connection and a camera, and even by phone.
Of course, any conference requires a solid, stable internet infrastructure in order to maintain optimal conference settings and avoid any malfunction.
Covid19 has accelerated processes in this area. We would expect this area to therefore improve and be implemented in several environments over several months. However, due to the pandemic we are viewing an acceleration in many organizations and an extensive use of video conferencing.
A word about the past
The history of video conferences goes back to the 1960s, to the invention of the Picturephone video telephone. With time, its abilities and mainly cost led to a commercial failure. Over time, society became acquainted with the classic Skype, Google Hangout, etc. These tools and software provide solutions and the best opportunity for a 'face to face' conversation in which both sides can see one another in real time and converse as if sitting in the same room.
The world today
The number of companies making use of video conferencing is increasing. Organizations which have utilized this technology pre-Covid19 are now using it more extensively. Pre-Covid19, this solution has assisted organizations in reducing the amount of commercial flights, reducing costs and shifting to a 'greener' conduct. Now, in our new era, flexibility is encouraged regarding work outside of the workplace, working at home while meeting requirements and remaining available to meetings, events and lectures.
The internet's technological advancement and the speed of data transfer enables data, presentations, and videos to be displayed during conference calls.
Virtual conferences may include participants from all around the globe. Luckily, translation tools and complementary apps allow users to make the best out of these settings.
A field which has exceptionally broken the 'glass ceiling' is the health field, especially community health services. Treatment has become more innovative, available and comfortable. Patients no longer need to physically arrive at the clinic and can conduct the meetings via designated video conferencing apps. Covid19 has certainly accelerated the implementation process in health care systems which, in turn, are now adapting to the future.
Is it all positive?
Like any phenomena, there are less than positive aspects to video conferences. Some are apparent to an extent, yet some will be known to us only as time passes. One downside when implemented for health care purposes is the fear of fatigue and communication disruptions. Video conferences also require extending the already extensive static sitting time.
Figures in the world of business are reporting that it's tougher to make business and agree on contracts when meeting virtually. Everyone understands that physical meetings are irreplaceable. The world of video conferencing cannot provide the nuances that comprise an interpersonal meeting. For example, a negotiation meeting, even an intra-organizational one, can be totally ruined if communications are disrupted during a critical moment.
They say there is no second chance for first time impressions. This is ever so true when said impression is made virtually, since the other side can be impressed either positively or otherwise, expressing disbelief, with hardly any way to improve this impression. Alternatively, when meeting physically one can also alter the impression through conscience use of body language and behavior which set the mood on a better course.
There is also the data security issue. Despite large investments in this field, organizations trying to protect their assets from hackers and viruses (such as Trojan horses), we still hear of hacking and data theft from companies, including hacking into video conversations and stealing its content.
More video conferences and reducing the amount of flights will lead to reduced air pollution. Virtual meetings, which are usually more flexible in terms of time and date of meeting, suit a specific type of people and work. Video Conferences are useful, yet cannot replace interpersonal meetings. Of course, there is the health effect which will become more apparent in a matter of years.