I have worked in technology for longer than I care to admit (I used to be the young guy in the room, not sure when that changed). In about 2007 I made a switch in my career and ended up in the Voice and Collaboration Systems revolution. I sold them, installed them and endorsed their ROI and other factors.
That being said I never really used video conferencing. Short of an annual meeting or a sales demo, video conferencing was not really a reality for me. The last two years that has changed. With the improvement in mobility and the adoption of Skype and FaceTime, video conferencing became part of my personal life to talk to remote relatives and enjoy these interactions.
This year, due to market drivers and the business we are in, caused us to move to Microsoft Lync as a communication platform. It was hard to get working (The VXPulse module in our VXSuite toolset helps with this) but it was as easy to use as Skype and FaceTime. Now you should know that the majority of the employees in my company are remote. Interactions with them are only in person once or twice a quarter. I started video calling them because it was the same click as an audio call. I found an amazing thing happening. The conversations were more effective. We communicated better. We left the calls more aligned. The employees starting make the switch too. It gave a remote worker a feeling of being in the office, which is something most people actually crave. Suddenly I realized that when video wasn’t available I missed it. Video conferencing made me a better manager. It makes us a better company. We see both frustration and positive responses – and when we fight, we fight better. Only 30 percent of communication is made audibly, the rest is facial expression and body language, etc. Using video conferencing for our conversations gives us the 70% back. Why didn’t I use it before? The same reason email wasn’t always a part of my life. Technology needs to fade into the background to be truly effective. Remember when you used to check email by logging into a web site? Or you had to constantly refresh? Now it just shows up automatically. That is the same transformation that has occurred with video in our organization. It has become the norm and has faded in the background. It is very useful. We are better for it. And we rely on it better. Check out this youtube video on about conference calls and I think my point will be reinforced.
I find video at the top of the list of technologies I couldn’t do without.
Huh – interesting….