Over the course of the last year, the world has changed in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic. We’ve all had to adjust to the world of social distancing, public health guidelines, and official orders enacted at state and federal levels mandating the shutdown of non-essential businesses and placing capacity restrictions on social venues. Not only has this put a damper on how most people lead their personal and social lives, but professionals and students have been among the most affected by these sweeping changes.
Many companies have transitioned their workforce to remote teams and closed offices in an effort to help slow the spread of Covid-19. Educational institutions have also changed the way they offer courses to their students, limiting their capacity to on-campus courses, and instead opting to offer online courses. With more and more people working from home, there is a growing trend in the use of video communication software on their smart devices as a way to stay in contact with colleagues, employers and friends through the use of video meetings, webinars, and even operator-led conference calls.
In 2020, video conference app downloads hit a record breaking 62 million downloads between March 14-21, and the use of video conference services are expected to grow by 20 percent annually through 2022. It’s safe to say that video meetings are going to remain a part of this “new normal” for the foreseeable future.
The transition towards an increasingly remote workforce has proved how valuable video conferencing software can be for keeping in touch with the people in our networks, and for collaborating over vast geographical distances. It has also proven effective in improving productivity across various industries.
With the ability to connect, it means that all sorts of professionals, such as designers, engineers, marketers, and even healthcare providers, can be separated by great distances and still come together to collaborate in a virtual room. This not only reduces the need to travel, but also minimizes costs in terms of time and expense associated with commuting. A lesser need to commute also means fewer cars on the road, which leads to a reduction in carbon emissions from the combustion of fossil fuels. Companies that were once limited to a hiring pool of local talents are now able to recruit from further afield.
The world is moving towards cloud-based technologies more and more each day, and video conferencing is no exception. Whether scheduling a call with colleagues, inviting customers to a demo, or just connecting to chat with friends, you can access cloud-based video conferencing solutions using any smart device with an enabled camera and microphone.
The transition to cloud-based conferencing also facilitates easy screen sharing, which makes collaboration over distances as effective as being in the same room with other team members and collaborators.
The implementation of VR and AR into teleconferencing has the potential to transform the space around us into virtual meeting rooms and allow us to collaborate as if we’re all together in the same room.
Advancements in graphics processing and 3D modeling could give rise to what could be termed as a “massively multiplayer VR work environment.” Imagine putting on your VR headset, connecting to a conference call, and entering a digital meeting space for a virtual meeting with visually realistic avatars of other attendees.
The integration of video conferencing, cloud-based collaboration tools, and Virtual Reality could completely revolutionize life in the coming decades. While the idea of people “commuting to work” by firing up their VR headset and connecting to a virtual office environment, or connecting to VR hangouts to socialize with other people may not be so far off, it won’t do away with the need for face-to-face interactions. In a digital world, there’s still no replacement for an in-person conversation and a good old fashioned handshake.