In April, Zoom reported a record 300 million daily meeting participants and is by far the leading provider in cloud video meetings. Similarly, Microsoft Teams has seen a 70% jump in daily active users, from 40m to 75m, adding 30 million users in just one month. With a ban on face-to-face meetings and the 5km non-essential travel restriction, it‘s safe to say videoconferencing in 2020 has come to the rescue of businesses as a means to keep remote workers connected, teams aligned and projects moving. But what does this mean when things get back to normal? Will videoconferencing still play a major role? All indications look that way but many businesses will need to embrace virtual meetings, invest in their meeting spaces and be ready for when opportunities knock.
The Rise of Remote Working
The sheer speed of how things progressed in the early stages of the Covid-19 lockdown meant that most businesses struggled to get remote working off the ground. For others, they had already moved with digital technology and remote working and the transition was smoother. In today’s global economy the workforce is far more distributed than ever before. In 2018, a CSO survey found that 18% of respondents worked from home, mostly one or two days per week. Since the Covid-19 pandemic that number has increased significantly with nearly all businesses having a mix of people working at home, at the office or on the road. Remote working has been forced on us in some way shape or form and will be with us for the foreseeable.
Challenges with Videoconferencing in 2020
The main benefits of video conferencing are well established. It replaces face-to-face meetings with a far more efficient and cost-effective alternative while keeping dispersed workers connected and aligned. But having a videoconferencing set-up that works isn’t as easy as it sounds. By its nature videoconferencing is dependent on a number of IT and user variables and can be littered with frustrating problems. The most common issues include: poor audio, poor image resolution, dropping connections, software issues, not being able to join meetings, integration issues with your Office 365/Microsoft365, and these problems are unavoidable if you are a new or an infrequent user of videoconferencing. It can be something of a learning curve.
Zoom has had its fair share of security issues and has its own term “Zoom-bombing” called after the biggest one. A Zoom-bomb is a new kind of attack in which bad actors enter video meetings and shout slurs and to disrupt them. Since then Zoom has added some security features to avoid this happening. Microsoft Teams, as part of the Microsoft 365 (M365) service, follows all the security best practices and procedures such as 2FA (two-factor authentication), data encryption and data stored in SharePoint.
A Virtual Command Centre
For years the conference room has been central to business meetings, interviews and human relations. That’s not going to change. What’s changing is that face-to-face and group meetings may not be an option for a long time. Not just because of social distancing but because of the cultural shift to remote working that’s been happening for a while now. The need for social distancing has just accelerated this shift by a couple of years. That means webinars, sales or other team meetings, project meetings, interviews etc. will all be beamed into the conference room rather than in physical meetings. Some attendees will still be present and some will be remote. Meeting rooms will have to be upgraded to be prepared for these meetings. Think of your conference room as a modern-day “virtual command centre” that serves as a central hub to your business meetings, big or small. There is a raft of technology out there that serves the virtual meeting very well.
Basic hardware required for a conference room solution:
- Large Smart TV
- PC with video software or app
- Wi-Fi Connection
- Video Camera (1080p or above)
But like everything else, it must be right for your surroundings and configured so it all works together as one meeting room solution.
More demand for your meeting space will mean that having only one conference room is no longer enough for SMEs and another two or three smaller designated meeting spaces will be required. A meeting space scheduling app will also make life easier for people to book spaces and to avoid double bookings. You can assign a meeting room in the MS Teams app, integrate MS bookings with Teams or use a mailbox for each room in Outlook Calendar (needs configuration).
As we slowly return to some sense of normality, the next challenge is to integrate these tools into our everyday functions. Videoconferencing in 2020 is now a key part of most businesses’ communication tools and with face-to-face meetings put on ice for the foreseeable, it is now also a key tool for your sales team. As we know, the major problem with videoconferencing is the time wasted on the set-up and can make you look unprofessional to a potential client, employee or candidate. Here’s where Radius can help. Our Conference Room Solutions will seamlessly integrate with your video conference tools of choice, and allow for central management, easy setup and crystal clear video from your meeting rooms to the outside world.
Benefits of our Conference Room Solution:
- A turnkey bespoke solution that scales with you
- Seamlessly integrate with MS Teams / MS365 or Zoom
- Allow central management from one control unit
- One-click to activate meeting
- Crystal clear 4K video
- HD sound and voice detection
- Wireless speakers and microphones
With all the uncertainty going on, one thing is for sure, videoconferencing is an essential tool for every business. That’s not going to change anytime soon. Every area of the business (HR, Operations, Sales and Marketing) will need access to a professional conferencing solution. Now is the time to get to grips with your videoconferencing set-up so when the outside world comes calling you are ready to engage.