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What are the benefits and disadvantages of video conferencing today?

The advantages and disadvantages of video conferencing have evolved as video has become more accessible and affordable. Cultural changes have also influenced video adoption.

The balance between the advantages and disadvantages of video conferencing has changed dramatically over the last 10 years. The advantages have remained consistent. Teams that use video have shorter, more productive meetings. Presentations over video have more impact and the information is more memorable than over audio. Video also supports today's remote work-life balance.

Whether you're considering worker lifestyles and happiness or focusing on bottom-line stats, such as time to market, the benefits of video conferencing are apparent and measurable. These advantages were predicted more than 20 years ago when the technology was new. Now, we're finally seeing the proof as video is used more widely in the workplace.

On the other hand, the traditional disadvantages of business video conferencing have changed significantly over the last 10 years. If we made a list of the old disadvantages of video conferencing, we would see that video vendors have improved their offerings to address these pain points. The disadvantages included high costs, complexity, lack of interoperability, inconsistent quality and reliability issues.

Business video is now affordable and no longer a boardroom luxury. Video can be found in huddle rooms or common areas for workers at all levels. And it's no longer hard to start a meeting. Features like push-to-start and voice commands help streamline meeting startup. The quality and reliability are also impressive these days.

Most importantly, today's platforms understand workflow needs. Video is not limited to one meeting room calling another meeting room. We've now blended the worlds of desktop, mobile and meeting rooms to enable workflows where the meeting is in the cloud and workers' physical locations are irrelevant.

Changing culture embraces video conferencing advantages

Perhaps the most dramatic change affecting video in the workplace has been the growth of video culture outside the workplace.

In this video, learn how the cloud has emboldened video conferencing.

We were an audio culture 10 years ago, in and out of the workplace. We called our business contacts, friends, families and clients, and we sat in on endless audio conferences. In and out of the office, we spent hours each day talking with people on the phone. Presenters or people who were good on camera made up the majority of video users.

Today, we are a video culture. People of all ages are sharing every aspect of their lives on YouTube and live streaming social media sites. When we get to the office, we expect the same level of human connectivity with our colleagues and clients. In other words, the technology of business video is ready for mainstream adoption, and we're culturally ready.

Challenges of deploying video today

The only remaining disadvantage of video conferencing applies to any collaboration technology. If video is not implemented in a way that respects employee workflow, it won't get used and the organization will not achieve ROI.

In the old days, the CTO of a big firm would see the value in a new collaboration technology, spend millions of dollars to implement it, and force employees to change their workflows to use the new system. This had mixed results. Today's working teams have different expectations and far too many consumer options. If they don't like the tools you give them, they won't use them.

When implementing video, or any collaboration technology, you must start by studying your working teams. Understand how they like to share information, meet and collaborate. Purchase the correct tools, including video, and implement them in a way to support, not mandate, employee workflows. If you do this successfully, you may find there are no lingering disadvantages to implement video in your workplace.

This was last published in April 2019

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How does your organization approach the challenges of deploying video conferencing?
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In our organization, we are in the transition to absorb the new cloud applications like Google and Microsoft. Half of the associates are older than 40s, so we are trying to define the best way to let them see how new technologies can help them to be more productive.
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