Video conferencing has continued to gain popularity and the industry has seen several advances over the last year. UCC firms like Cisco and others in the industry have breathed new life into the concept of telemedicine, adding functions that increased security (as well as) confidentiality.
Cisco's Webex offering even tapped augmented/virtual reality so doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals could better diagnose problems. With various variations of the Covid-19 virus still lingering - this is a trend we can expect to continue for those most susceptible to the virus - vital medical appointments held virtually.
Nonetheless, the Pandemic ensured UCC tech developers would introduce (a myriad of) advanced features for more enterprise use cases. That included automatic/real-time translation, end-to-end encryption (a feature introduced by providers like Zoom), and even large-scale event hosting capabilities.
Zoom Fatigue - Still a Thing
Today, the technology continues to fill out (so to speak), and the use cases appear near endless - especially as employees continue to demand the option for hybrid work. Video remains a pivotal component in that toolbox for remote workers looking to connect with global teams - although not all meetings require video.
According to Dialpad, roughly 83% of employees claim to spend a third of their week in meetings. Nearly that same amount of individuals believe while a popular tool - not all meetings require using video. And studies show that a phenomenon known as "Zoom fatigue" remains a top concern for employees and employers - making a case for balance when leveraging video conferencing tools.
There's a lot more to explore, so I will do that in the sections below as I look at the current state of video conferencing tools in 2024 and what you might expect this year.
Hybrid Work Expected to Persist
According to Gartner research, 86% of companies now conduct interviews online - leveraging video conferencing tools for a pivotal portion of the employee experience. Sixty-six percent of those individuals report; they prefer video conferencing to other communication tools during recruitment. According to Dialpad, 73% of hybrid workers enjoy the flexibility that the hybrid model offers and prefer to choose their own work schedule.
A survey conducted by "Conference Board" further found that hybrid work is here to stay, unearthing that 90% of employers surveyed say they will keep hybrid-working policies in place, meaning employees can mostly choose the number of days they come into a physical office, if at all.
It also found that 25 percent of employees want to work remotely for the rest of their careers, with 14 percent noting they want to work from the office on fixed days. Ten percent of American workers said they want to work from the office "all the time," implying that there will still be a hybrid presence for the foreseeable future.
All this will likely cause a reliance on video conferencing tools during that period.
Increased Reliance on Artificial Intelligence
IR put out a collaboration report and hosted a webinar in the beginning of 2024 addressing the importance of AI and ML in video conferencing and other collaboration tools going into 2024.
AI and ML is being used by companies to facilitate more meaningful interactions, collect better data to aid business decisions, and streamline employee management.
Generative AI models are starting to be used by video conferencing platforms to convert data from one form to another (such as text to image, video to text, or image to audio).
AI and NLP processors are also being used to transcribe and translate video meetings in real time.
Virtual Events - Not Going Anywhere
Virtual events seemed odd at first, but then they grew on me. I gained more time to do things I previously had less time to do as I would travel multiple days to attend a short few days for an event. Nonetheless, the widespread adoption of virtual events seems to have given me (and many others) much-needed freedom to do things that seemed out of the question.
Personal travel, for instance, has increased for many-while business travel decreased because meetings could suddenly get done from anywhere. Virtual events platform is an entire category, something most would not have imagined before the onset of the coronavirus.
And most every mainstream UCC provider has a feature or entirely built-out platform to facilitate such happenings - in most cases, for events for folks in the tens of thousands. And yes, this means Zoom, Webex, Microsoft Teams, and Google Meet.
Vigilance Needed, as Hackers Get Creative
Remember when Zoombombing was a thing? While hackers may not be looking to get into your Zoom meeting anymore, they could be eyeing other platforms. Platforms like Microsoft Teams as recently as 2022; experienced hacking.
Hackers circulated malware by breaking into Microsoft Teams meetings: which could have spelled trouble for organizations hoping to secure sensitive and proprietary company/customer data. Last year Cisco introduced a feature that might help trace the source of company leaks, adding an audio watermark feature that lets management know the origin of any potential internal leaks.
The takeaway is that hackers attempt to find an "in" for as long as these systems exist. It is the job of developers to make these platforms as close to hackproof as humanly possible - although there's always likely an "in" as hacking techniques grow evermore creative.
Video Conferencing is Constantly Evolving
There is so much to cover that it can be difficult to mention everything, but video platform users are always coming up with new and innovative ways to leverage said platforms to enhance how they work. In 2024, I don't expect that to change one bit.
There will likely be more artificial intelligence inserted into these platforms to make the process of working from anywhere more efficient.
There is much to learn about this great experiment of sending millions of folks to work from home (during a time) when going into an office proved more than unsafe. What we have learned thus far: is that these tools can enhance the experience many (if not all) people have whilst working from the comfort of anywhere.
2024 will likely be the year that video conferencing gains some of its most innovative functionalities and even wider adoption, for that matter. It is another thing that we will know in due time. As always - let us know your take on social media; and in the comments section below.