Dive into the future of video conferencing and virtual meetings
If you jump into the future and ask anyone about the work culture they had experienced in the last two years. Most of them would say hybrid working, COVID, remote jobs, and the zoom/video conferencing. Just for the record, virtual meetings or video conferencing is not a new concept as it dates back to 1964. Being an exclusive technology it was expensive as well i.e it cost $255 for a three-minute AT&T Picturebooth calls from NY to Chicago.
Technology has evolved for good, even before the pandemic virtual meeting was part of our daily life but hadn’t yet practically deployed in the company infrastructure. As per the Fortune report of business insights, the market of virtual meeting software in 2019 was $5.32 billion, and it’s estimated to grow to $10.92 billion by 2027. The tech was adopted by almost every field i.e education, offices, healthcare, finance, and insurance. Later in 2020, when the world went on temporary lockdown. Zoom along with other leading companies like slack, and Microsoft grabbed this golden opportunity.
They presented a user-friendly interface with support for up to 100 participants or more depending on the size of the company. It suddenly became the default place for work-related queries and social activities. Fast-forward to 2022 when most of us have returned to our respective workplaces.
The evolution of video conferencing
A new chapter in the pandemic has shown how video conferencing can be useful; not just valuable when you’re working remotely but also proves effective to boost the productivity and efficiency of teams. Having a hybrid working environment demands varied teammates like - Designers, engineers, marketers, product managers, technical managers, sales reps, client success managers, and IT support. It may have spread all over the world but can be gathered in one room due to the liberty of virtual meetings and video conferencing.
It also highlighted that with the advancement, companies are no longer limited to hiring local talent as they can onboard people from all across the globe. Moreover, lifelike avatars, metaverse, and whatnot are shaping the traditional dynamics of the workplace and converting them into virtual meeting rooms to collaborate as if we’re in the same room.
It has its perks like pinning ideas, dynamic content on the virtual wall, and sharing notes in real-time from any device like a phone or tablet. Digital objects become physical in the virtual room, you can scroll and select through them then throw them on the wall to explain your idea. Anyone can enter and exit these virtual meetings, they can contribute as they like. The whole concept is just like real-life meetings but in an entirely different environment. It might all feel like an ideation phase but some companies are already working on it to implement. The ideology of existing companies is to overcome the shortcomings in communication and collaboration. To reduce the barrier of distance to work together in a flourishing environment.
Types of Virtual Meetings and Conferences
To begin, there are three different types of virtual meetings and conferences. Let’s have a detailed look at them:
Teleconferencing and video conferencing
These are the two oldest and most popular forms of virtual meetings among companies. However, teleconferencing is the historic one that dates back to before the internet. Teleconferencing was easy for scattered people all over the world to connect over a phone call without having an internet connection. Yet, now it is used more frequently in cyberspace. Also, now most meeting platforms allow people to use cameras which makes them modern teleconferencing options.
With the widespread use of the internet, video conferencing has become more popular in recent years. Unlike teleconferencing, it allows users to see each other while talking and exchanging notes. Nowadays, many offices are converting to hybrid and remote working which makes it compulsory to connect via video conferencing on an average everyday basis.
In the wake of digitalization, web conferences have become popular and widely used. Unlike video conferencing, webinars are often conducted by a single person or a group inviting a large audience to attend. For instance, partnership meetings, quarterly roundups, and lunch or dinner events are usually conducted in this format. In this kind of, the host can connect to the audience by activating the camera or can use a ppt slide/presentation to support their topic of discussion.
Hybrid meetings are meetings that combine in-person and virtual attendance. This means that some participants attend the meeting in person, while others participate remotely through video conferencing or other virtual communication technology. Hybrid meetings require careful planning and preparation to ensure that both in-person and virtual participants have a positive experience. This includes choosing the right technology, setting up the meeting space, and providing clear instructions for participants on how to join and participate in the meeting.
Virtual meeting best practices and rules
Meetings are all about sharing ideas, discussing topics, and instructing weekly goals. It helps them increase employee engagement, find solutions, and estimate employee growth. If you’re committed to remote workplace management - ensuring employee mental health would be of utmost priority. You also need to admit that virtual meetings are hard as compared to in-person meetings because you can evaluate a person’s body language and gestures.
It’s difficult to read body language online let alone discuss a difficult assignment. Company leaders need to evaluate all the shortcomings in virtual meetings as they can improve productivity and efficiency. Below are the best practices and rules to conduct virtual meetings:
Start and end times should be considerate
Remote working or not being professional is of paramount importance. Whether your half team is working from home or the office as long as they are working at their convenience work shouldn’t be compromised. Both parties should respect each other's time and ensure the meeting starts at the given time and all attendees are present.
If you start on time, there’ll be better chances to end it on time. Otherwise, you’ll end up occupying other people's time ahead of the scheduled time making it difficult for them to attend another meeting.
Use video conferencing
Video conferencing is an increasingly popular way to conduct business meetings, as it allows all participants to see and hear each other in real-time. In a video conference, each participant can see the others via a webcam, and they can all communicate with each other through audio. This type of meeting is often used when participants are in different locations, or when travel is not possible.
To get started with video conferencing, you'll need a computer with a webcam and an internet connection. You can use software like Skype or Zoom to make calls, or there are also dedicated hardware options available.
Create a meeting agenda
There’s no point in calling a meeting if you haven’t defined the meeting agenda. Your points must cover all the aspects that will be discussed in the meeting along with a list of attendees. If you’re using an enterprise video conferencing platform, you can distribute the agenda in the chat beforehand.
In short, agendas assist set expectations and allow people to ask questions on the topic. Of course, if you throw a question out of proportion, everyone would be surprised and startled. Therefore to avoid such circumstances, chart out an agenda so that everyone can brainstorm before.
Icebreakers are important
Let’s just admit the fact, most of us don't like icebreakers. Some people think that emotional intelligence is necessary for a workplace to help us connect to those who feel isolated. Icebreakers can set the tone for the meeting, research icebreaker questions; start with a game, activity, joke, or even a meme.
Choose the right technology and test it
To ensure the smooth conduct of meetings and minimal hiccups - the best software and best hardware are the efficient way. A robust tool such as a business collaboration tool can save your day as it provides instant communication and data exchange all from one platform. If you’re new in this market or thinking of trying one, go through the reviews and demos before making a choice.
Summarize the meeting
Before you end the meeting, it is important to summarize all the points, questions, and queries discussed. It can give a quick overview of all the points presented and everyone can be mindful of the agenda. You can also tell everyone if there’s a follow-up meeting and who needs to prepare for what.
Future of video conferencing
The future of video conferencing looks bright and is expected to continue growing and evolving in the years to come. Here are some potential trends and developments to keep an eye on:
- More advanced technology: Video conferencing technology is likely to become more advanced, with features such as augmented reality, virtual reality, and 3D imaging being incorporated to enhance the user experience.
- Increased integration with other tools: Video conferencing will continue to be integrated with other tools such as project management and collaboration software, making it easier for teams to communicate and collaborate remotely.
- Greater emphasis on security and privacy: As more sensitive information is shared through video conferencing, security, and privacy will become even more important. Video conferencing providers will need to implement more robust security measures to protect user data.
- Improved accessibility: With the rise of remote work and distributed teams, video conferencing will become more accessible and user-friendly for people with disabilities.
- More personalized experiences: Video conferencing providers will focus on creating more personalized experiences for users, with customizable backgrounds, avatars, and other features.
Overall, the future of virtual meetings is expected to be dynamic and ever-evolving, with advancements in technology and user needs driving its continued growth and development. Virtual meetings are impactful team drivers. Be vigilant and choose the best video conferencing tool that suits the best to your organizational infrastructure. Besides, it can be easy for you to deploy its features and avail of best practices to set successful interactions.