The use of video in a web meeting: When video is a good time for your web meeting.

Its seems each day we hear more and more cries for video. We speak with companies wanting to integrate Drum into their existing service, but not without video. There doesn’t seem to be a standard or single requirement for how video may function. Each organisation seemingly wants a slightly different type of video functionality. There are the simpler requests of one on one compared with the more complex style of a fully tiled approach for a 40+ video streams. As always, we explore the possibilities and elaborate on the current offering at Drum and schedule a method in which we can make the Drum API work for each integration.

Visually understanding video within a web meeting

However, we always ask: Why do you want video? The answers we receive and their rationale are perfectly viable, but sometimes it doesn’t seem like there is a true reason. The reasoning is either because Skype provides video or they want video for the purpose of ticking the feature list box. So we keep asking ourselves, as avid users of audio only here, why everyone keeps asking for video and what is the true value video adds to your service? Are there specific scenarios where video should work? Is it the consumer pull of a vendor push?

We tend to do our research of the meeting attendees prior to the meeting but LinkedIn pictures and Gmail photos only provide us with a limited view. With the rise of modern technology, a large proportion of our face to face meetings are similar to a blind date. We find ourselves second guessing who we are meeting.

The first in person meet usually follows this trend:

‘Hi, are you Steve from Drum?’

The man replies:

‘Sorry, I am James, head of IT”

And so this replicates itself until you meet the person you have been talking over video with. Whilst video may seemed like the perfect solution to this. Are we likely to get a much better understanding of how the person appears. You are still viewing this person through a digital interpretation of their appearance.

The facial expressions within a business proposal meeting helps us understand visual feedback or when teaching within a webinar. Video is priceless within these scenarios. There is no debate in these situations a video aspect of the meeting is useful. But do you really need to see the other person you are speaking with to understand. These can still be overcome by the meeting presenter or the tutor probing with the correct types of questions.

Does this not add more pressure to your interaction? Knowing you are on view for the entire meeting seems to place more pressure on the meeting attendee. We don’t truly know what is unappealing about being on video. Quite possibly, it is knowing your small square within the meeting is focused upon you. You can not leave the shot, nor can you move around too much. So this asks the question:

How confident are you when being on video?

Only the most confident of speakers are happy being seen on video. Even then, they seem resilient to appear on camera. There seems to be something about being on camera which affects our confidence. We are happy to attend meetings in person. But the word ‘video’ sends shudders through web meeting attendees. You know for the entire meeting length you will be pigeon holed into a square. Meeting attendees commonly suffer from Scopophobia, the fear of drawing attention to oneself. A video feed does exactly that. The video feed draws attention directly to you. Need help with your video fears? Why not read on to find out how to best overcome the video conferencing fears.

However, there are most certainly scenarios where video is an essential part of any meeting. Where the meeting attendee will have no qualms to utilise video. We are by no means suggesting video has no benefit to a meeting. There are circumstances which require the facial interaction. Such as completing large purchases online or working on finalising a business deal. In these scenarios however, users still have the tendency to meet in person rather than completing this online.

In addition, video is changing the way in which the healthcare industry is functioning. Simple click to call provides the patient with access to a doctor almost instantly. Patients can visually demonstrate the health concern on camera. Telehealth will change how we, as patients, are treated by doctors. Appointments can be attended within your home or in the office. You won’t have to commute or wait within the surgery. This is quite possibly the only vertical we see a customer pull rather than a vendor push. There are alternative verticals such as insurance companies and real estate. These are less significant are do not provide the instant enhancement video does with the healthcare industry.

So you have decided video is still required within your web meeting. Now its time for you to overcome the ever present hurdle that is the bandwidth and latency issue. Almost the dark side to any web meeting causing confusion and connectivity issues. Bandwidth, well the lack of, causes the user experience to be disjointed. Disconnecting and reconnecting time and time again. Sluggish video feeds falling behind the meeting audio. Video demands significant computer usage and bandwidth. Whilst VP9, released by Google, is set out to help overcome these issues they do not eradicate the problems we face with video feeds inside web meetings. But this will not be the cure for all latency issues. There will be times where either yours or your guests bandwidth is simply not up to the task, leading to a delay of the meeting video.

Something even the most bulletproof web meeting solution cannot prevent. Ultimately, super fast broadband just isn’t available to every user on a dedicated line. We can have our super fast business broadband at 100Mbps but these are heavily shared within the office. So with this in mind, do you want to risk your web meeting experiencing, presenting documents with HD audio, by sharing your video stream?

Video seemingly appears to be, for the majority of use cases, a nice to have function and a fall back feature rather than a primary option. Real-time communication has been changing the ways in which we communicate. The evolution of communication continues to change the way in which we communicate with people locally and globally. Is video at the core of this for you?

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