What Do You Mean? / Web Conference vs. Video Conference
It seems like just yesterday we were told how electronic communication was going to transform the business world. The implication was that phone calls would morph into the norm and render “face time” a boring, old way of communicating.
X no. of years down the line, here and now, it seems as if inevitable growing pains have won out. The world at large has realized, mostly, that running businesses through text-based communications alone isn’t possible.
Unfortunately, there’s still an educational gap in the video communications industry. We see it often here at Videonor when our customers ask about the difference between web conferencing and video conferencing. It’s an interesting divide, and a good question to ask because — much like technology and software industries in general –it’s constantly evolving.
Why? Virtual Meetings is why.
Conference calls and phone calls are (not always, but often) impersonal. I know you’ve never put the phone down to peruse an email while the poor sap on the other line rambles on about a no slip iPhone cover, right? This is occasionally a reasonable practice, but one that’s also resulted in many a missed opportunity and just plain old rudeness.
Conversely, “Virtual Meetings” allow for (among other things) the clear communication of messages “x”, “y”, and “z” in a simple, time effective manner. It’s just tougher for someone to lose focus in a conversation while looking at other faces.
It’s a meeting, on the web.
Traditionally, web conferencing has been used for one-to-many communications like webinars, training modules, and company meetings. All one directional communication. This model stipulates (mostly) participants joining from their desktop/laptop in order to listen in. Again, an easy scenario for a participant to tune out, read, eat, snooze, whatever.
The web conferencing industry has, in recent years, upgraded video and feedback capabilities in an effort to improve user experience. The typical issue here is that users on the reception end of a one way call don’t have a need to enable a webcam because their part in the conversation is passive.
“If you want to push out a one way message, similar to an email blast, you might consider going the web conference way.”
This issue has been -in part- resolved by new recording capabilities that make it easy for people to review/listen to the conference at their discretion. While this is effective, (people are more likely to be engaged when they have some measure of control over how they’re taking in the information) it’s not a video first experience (less retaining of information), and is a stratified communication (ingesting of information at different times – something might change, etc.)
Seriously, let’s do video.
Historically, video conferencing isn’t a glorified extension of the business world. Everyone knows infamous stories about “lip-sync” issues, dropped calls and awful audio.
Also, camera fear.
The reality is that video is the future. Nothing is for everyone, obviously, but the video conferencing industry has taken leaps and bounds in recent years as far as fixing general issues in conducting these kinds of meetings is concerned.
Video has left exclusive boardrooms and is now available for the majority of employees.
Under this scenario, CEO’s still can have “telepresence” in meetings with shareholders abroad, the sales manager meets a dispersed team at the click of a button, and an HR manager pre-screens candidates to find out how they’ll react in a face to face interview.
Things get better with time, it’s safe to assume and to this note industry wide improvements have been made in standard video and audio quality. “Interoperability” between different systems (Skype, Join.Me, Cisco, Polycom) have been facilitated by video service providers like ours at Videonor. No shaky downloads, one platform only.
All this makes for quality conversation in real-time interaction between different teams and individuals — increasing efficiency and fostering long term, healthy relationships in the workplace both internally and externally.
“Video has left exclusive boardrooms and is now available for the majority of employees.”
If you want to push out a one way message, similar to an email blast, you might consider going the web conference way.
If legitimate interaction and feedback as a way to speed up communications in your business processes is of interest, we’d recommend a deeper look at video conferencing tools like Videonor.