Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses scrambled to find video conferencing software that would allow them to keep their operations going remotely. Before long, the dust settled. Skype for Business, though it should have been the leading video conferencing platform given its ubiquity on PCs, was relegated to a distant 4th place as other tools took over. Today, Zoom is king. Google Meet and Cisco WebEx trail closely behind. Even Microsoft Teams has taken a bite out of Skype’s lunch.
So, what is the state of video conferencing in late 2021? Where do we expect it to go from here? Will we still be on video calls and working from our bedrooms in 2022? While companies are currently battling with employees to determine exactly how things will work going forward, we’d like to make a case for why you should lean into video conferencing for the future of your communication. And the market suggests that many companies will do just that.
Video Conferencing Is on the Rise: Benefits for Businesses and Employees
The State of Video Conferencing
The state of video conferencing in this final quarter of 2021 is strong. By now, most people have likely figured out how to use the various features on the top video conferencing platforms. Their designers have placed so much emphasis on ease of use to make it easier for older workers and less tech-savvy individuals to use their systems. Sales are still strong, although growth has declined. Zoom’s most recent financial report is revealing.
Although their sales growth has slowed down considerably as more people are vaccinated in the United States and businesses are returning to their physical offices, they still expect growth next year and beyond. Clearly, there’s a large segment of the population that wants to keep working remotely. Businesses are still figuring out to what degree that will happen. With that in mind, let’s look at the most popular platforms available today, and whether users are ready for an all-virtual experience.
Today’s Top Video Conferencing Platforms
Zoom leads the pack. It’s basically the gold standard: When Zoom adds a new feature, so does everyone else. They mastered screen sharing, deliver high quality audio and video, and their breakout room feature can actually be used to provide rooms for everyone in your organization while only paying for a single account. Google Meet takes some market share because it’s free to use for an hour. It’s also very cheap, free if you have a paid Google account.
Beyond those two, there are many different video conferencing options. Cisco WebEx captured a lot of enterprise customers as they had a firm presence in the big business market. But Cisco WebEx has seen a drop in total users. In general, we’d recommend you go with the market leader. It’s frustrating for your meeting participants to download yet another piece of video conferencing software. Mostly everyone has Zoom, so it makes it easier to team up and connect faster.
Users Have the Technology They Need
Early last year, many people were caught off-guard. They lacked the technology to reliably connect to video conferences. Whether it was due to a lack of quality internet at home, multiple people needing to use one computer, or simply having an old PC that struggled to run Zoom, it was tough sledding early on. However, most users have upgraded their home and their technology to accommodate remote work. Companies can support lagging employees by lending laptops.
Online meetings were a bit awkward, but now most participants are used to it. Collaboration online is no longer a strange phenomenon. So, not only do users have the tools they need, but they have the right attitude. Video conferencing is a viable way forward for most companies. However, many businesses think it’s time to return to the office and go back to in-person collaboration. While that might be the right choice for your business, we’d urge companies to reconsider.
Is Remote Working Right for Your Business?
Here’s the big question: Can your business thrive using video conferencing? If so, to what extent? We’ll readily admit that there are some situations where remote workers aren’t an option. If you’re an industrial business, you need people to come into the factory and operate machines. There’s no video conferencing solution for that. However, office work can most likely be handled remotely. If all your teams do is come in to sit at a computer, let them stay home.
The state of video conferencing is such that this is not only possible, but it’s actually the most beneficial arrangement for your company and your employees. When everyone saves time, the quality of work improves. The best companies are giving remote workers flexibility, and the best employees are demanding it. The tools you need are mature and ready to go. There’s really no excuse anymore. When you consider the benefits of video conferencing technology, it only makes sense.
Benefits of Relying on Remote Employees
The benefits for remote workers are rather obvious, which sometimes leads companies to believe that the deal is rather one-sided. Why should employees get all the benefits? Well, the truth is that your company gets a lot of perks as well when you opt for remote work. In our experience, companies rarely regret making the switch. While it might have been unexpected one year ago, it’s the best way forward for next year and beyond.
Here are some of the different benefits you can expect to gain from an all-in remote work approach.
Video conferencing can position your company as a leader in environmentalism. This is a growing concern for many people today, many of whom will be your customers. Remote workers don’t burn gas to go to work. Companies can spend less on electricity. Since remote staff use their own devices, you don’t need a different computer for work and home. Fewer devices equal less e-waste and more ease of use. When users use devices they like, they tend to work better.
The state of video conferencing is likely to continue to improve in quality and features. It’s only logical at this point that the future is virtual. Early adopters will get a significant PR boost. Your team will like it.
Save on Infrastructure
In terms of your bottom line, using video conferencing can save you heaps. Instead of a physical conference room, you can just use video meetings. Instead of building a new office, make a virtual office by giving each person a breakout room under a single Zoom meeting. You can do the same with Cisco WebEx or Microsoft Teams. Communication won’t be hindered by audio or video quality since these platforms deliver solid performance.
Spend Less on Salaries Using Video Conferencing Software
Many employees have indicated that they would be willing to take a pay cut to remain as remote employees. The remote work experience has shown users that the time they save more than makes up for the reduction in salary. They likely have found other ways to make money with the extra time they gain by staying home. Video calls and video meetings are good enough for collaboration and employees know it. It’s the right solution: Your team will like it.
This is especially true when you’re based in an expensive area. California, where the average cost of a home has soared, has found remote working to be the best solution to this problem.
A Much Broader Talent Pool
Another major benefit of using video conferencing is that you can hire employees from anywhere. Instead of building a team out of individuals in the local area, you can use technology to connect with employees from the whole world. You might find employees in a market outside the United States where labor is more affordable. Having a video conferencing platform makes this possible.
Disadvantages of Remote Workers
We must admit that video conferencing isn’t a perfect solution. You will need to overcome a couple of difficulties. However, these disadvantages pale in comparison to the pros of using video conferencing software for your team collaboration needs. No solution is perfect, but it’s the best one we have.
Less Control Over Workers
Managers are often hesitant to trust video conferencing entirely. There’s an element of control that is lost. How do you know your workers are actually working at home if you can’t hover over their shoulders? This attitude is antiquated and has to go. Focus on the output. If your team delivers results, who cares how they get it done?
Besides, the top video conferencing platforms give you data analytics so you can track meeting activity, making it easy to see if a particular user isn’t using the platform enough.
Video Conferencing Software Isn’t Free
The initial cost of switching to a video conferencing platform for your whole team can seem excessive. Nevertheless, the savings we mentioned before will pay for it entirely. Instead of using a physical office with a room or cubicle for each worker, you pay for video conferencing software. Need to rent a large conference room for an event? Just use video conferencing software. See where this is going?
It’s the best alternative in terms of price and time savings. And top video conferencing software makes the price cheaper for each user you add, so enterprises will find that the price becomes more affordable as you scale up.
Meeting participants may complain about meeting fatigue. Spending too much time in front of the screen in meetings does take a toll on your team. One way to solve this is to set a time limit for meetings each day. Make meetings more pleasant by not requiring cameras to be on all the time. Encourage meeting participants to take breaks or designate hours where they won’t be available for meetings and will just focus on their tasks.
The State of Video Conferencing Is Strong
Video conferencing isn’t going away in the near future. We expect the state of video conferencing to continue to improve as tools receive new updates that replace our conference rooms forever. Get the top video conferencing software platform by checking out our in-depth reviews.