Large global corporations are using video communication between their main sites on a large scale today to cut back on global travel. Meetings that would have required a four-day between the US and Sweden just five years ago can today by conducted over a two-to-three-hour video conference. So what can we predict about our near future learning from teams that are using video conferencing between “executive phone booths” every day?
Phone conferences still play a vital business role, but the value decreases with the number of participants. A video conference is far superior for connecting two management teams. Both teams stay more alert, and can address a large number of topics in a 60-minute window. Face-to-face meetings previously conducted on a quarterly basis can now be held every month via video conferences, speeding up business progress. Innovations allowing more than two sites to be connected and the ability in multiscreen setups to dedicate one screen to shared material have proven valuable.
As video communication expands from expensive executive video rooms into regular conference rooms, so do the use cases. Use shifts from pure business review meetings to include small and mid-size team collaborations, mirroring the way we meet in real life. The video communication screen is becoming the alternative collaboration board. Seeing all team members’ contributions and sketches as well as seeing each other’s faces are both important to high-quality collaborations. The simultaneous deployment of social media and collaboration tools is pushing us all towards a more collaborative organization.
Just a few years ago we had a vision of taking this video evolution into every room and to every employee’s desk but things might turn out differently. The move towards flexible work environments and mobile devices is likely to turn tablets and phablets into the new personal-video communication/collaboration workhorses.
My predictions for the future of video communication and collaboration:
- ● Big rooms and large-team video communications remain in use for brief business progress meetings.
- ● Small rooms and small-team video collaborations become commonplace for business innovation meetings.
- ● Zero support and high availability are essential factors for expansion beyond one supported room per site. Session initialization needs to be as easy as with phone conference calls.
- ● All whiteboards can and will be replaced by “communication and collaboration boards” in all types of meeting rooms.
- ● “Executive phone booths” for video communication save time and reduce costs. Video collaboration solutions are the primary infrastructure for inter/intra-company, innovative value-creation efforts.