The advantages and disadvantages of video conferencing

immanuel vinikas headshot
Immanuel Vinikas
Updated October 21 2021
advantages and disadvantages of video conferencing
immanuel vinikas headshot
Immanuel Vinikas
Updated October 21 2021

Video conferencing has become an indispensable daily business tool for most of us. Looking back, it feels like it happened almost overnight. Time to do a quick state of video conferencing in 2021-2022, along with the advantages and disadvantages of video conferencing, and how to overcome some of these challenges.

 

 

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Video Conferencing in 2021-2022

The whole world switched to video conferencing in the first quarter of 2020. But web and video conferencing were already marking a 48% increase in use in the years leading up to the pandemic. Of course, there’s no denying that CoVID-19 was a key accelerator in the worldwide adoption of video conferencing as a coping technology, with the market showing significant year-over-year growth of 8.1% compared to the period of 2017-2019.

 

And the projections for the next few years don’t show any signs of slowing down, with the Video Conferencing As A Service (VCAAS) market expected to grow from $6.28 Bn in 2021 to $13 Bn in 2028, taking into account the expectation that demand and growth will return to pre-pandemic levels, once the pandemic is over.

 

According to a PWC report, 83% of employers and 71 percent of employees find that remote work during CoVID-19 has been a success. The corporate world has embraced remote work with 87% of employers preparing to accommodate a hybrid workplace, post-pandemic. Video conferencing takes a central role in facilitating these hybrid workplaces.

 

advantages and disadvantages of video conferencing

 

With this kind of forecast, it’s no wonder tech giants are investing in technological innovations in video conferencing. Let’s look at some recent advancements, and what’s to come in 2022:

 

  • Service providers are reducing users’ digital weight through cloud computing and storage. The reason they emphasize this is to reduce the dependency on users’ tech infrastructure. Most video conferencing is now fully web-based with no need for any applications or add-ons to be downloaded. Video recordings of meetings are now saved in the cloud, which not only saves space on the user’s computer but also facilitates sharing.

 

  • Video conferencing platforms are increasingly accessible through SSO authentication. SSO stands for Single Sign-On and, as the name implies, enables the users to access a company’s business applications easily and securely from their phone or computer with a single login profile.

 

  • We all had a good laugh with YouTube videos showing background fails and many of us were the butt of the joke ourselves at some point. So, service providers came up with a small but very welcome innovation introducing meeting backgrounds and blurred backgrounds.

 

  • Active Speaker Focus is another great feature that was developed to conduct better and more productive meetings. The software tracks the current speaker and places him or her in the main video frame while highlighting the thumbnail of the speaker.

 

  • Innovations in video conferencing: The main concern of software providers remains to deliver a smoother and more reliable HD stream with minimal bandwidth and tech requirements, all delivered in a simple and user-friendly package.

 

But of course, many providers are developing more eye-catching features, like VR and AR hardware to make virtual conferences more immersive. AI innovations include facial recognition to identify the speaker and change the camera angle to keep them centered.

 

We also heard of computer manufacturers working on improved webcams and audio capture. Amazon and other companies are developing video conferencing integrations into their OTT devices.

 

And then you have the visionary projects, like Google’s Starline, a 3D conferencing experience that gives the attendants a hyper-realistic impression of being in the same space.

 

 

Now that we’ve established that video conferencing will keep on growing and evolving in the coming years, let’s look at the advantages and disadvantages of video conferencing. It will help you understand how to get the most out of your video conferencing solution and what challenges you might be facing.

 

 

What Are the Advantages of Video Conferencing?

 

Video conferencing is a time and money-saver

The most obvious advantage of video conferencing is that you take your meetings from your computer or mobile phone, no matter where the other meeting attendees are located. No more wasting time or money traveling to meet your colleagues, clients, or business partners. According to a survey of more than 1,300 business professionals, 47% have reduced their travel costs.

 

Video conferencing improves collaboration and communication

The convenience of setting up a meeting, along with the possibility to share screens, send files, and use digital whiteboards supports teamwork and communication. Since everyone on the meeting is sitting behind their computer, collaboration on shared documents and processes is easier in video conferencing than in an office setting.

 

Video conferencing improves productivity

This one is closely tied with the previous advantages. All the time saved on traveling to meetings can now be invested more productively. Virtual meetings are easily organized ad hoc to discuss work and solve issues without delay. The convenience of video conferencing has helped companies take down silos and foster communication between teams and departments. According to a Cisco survey, video conferencing results in savings for 90% of respondents, as projects are finished faster, thanks to more efficient collaboration.

 

 

Video conferencing reduces your carbon footprint

In 2019, Americans took a staggering 464 million domestic business trips. Knowing that a single roundtrip from NYC to San Francisco amounts to 1.16 tons of CO2 per person, you can imagine the combined carbon footprint that business travel leaves. Video conferencing is an easy contribution to your company’s sustainability goals. Kaltura’s Strategic Business Development Manager, Phebe Bay, wrote a very interesting blog post about this topic (from a virtual events angle).

 

Video conferencing facilitates global business

Whether for small companies trying to compete internationally or multinational enterprises managing several locations around the globe, video conferencing has made the world much smaller and more manageable. Having an immediate audiovisual connection from your office desk with a client or partner at the other end of the world, with the possibility to share documents and screens is a game-changer for global business.

 

Video conferencing makes for happier employees

According to a CNBC Workplace Happiness Survey, 44% of Americans are happier with their job since they started working remotely (49% feel the same). It saves them the mood-crushing commute and allows them to better balance work and life. HR departments know this very well and have made remote work a part of their employee retention and hiring strategy. Video conferencing is the main enabler of remote work.

 

advantages and disadvantages of video conferencing

 

What Are the Disadvantages of Video Conferencing?

 

Video Conferencing feels less personal and human

The lack of real-life interaction is perhaps the biggest drawback of video conferencing. Having all your communications with clients and colleagues through video conferencing can become isolating. That’s why we’re big proponents of the hybrid workplace. Working remotely but coming into the office on a weekly basis makes for a healthier balance.

 

Video Conferencing relies on technology

… and technology can suffer from malfunctions. Between software, hardware, and internet connections, there’s a lot that can go wrong. And not everyone has the tech-savviness to deal with these issues. For remotely operating companies, tech support to remote employees with IT issues is an absolute must. To put things in perspective, people would face far more potential issues in the absence of video conferencing, not in the least commute-related issues like traffic jams or strikes.

 

advantages and disadvantages of video conferencing

 

Video Conferencing can be problematic between certain time zones

Traveling to a meeting overseas, meant moving into the same time zone as your meeting partners. No issue there. But with video conferencing, you need to compromise and work at less comfortable hours to enable the meeting. However, this is still a minor inconvenience compared to the hassle of traveling to your meeting.

 

Video Conferencing can cause fatigue

This issue has been highly publicized. It can get tiring staring at your thumbnail and talking to a screen. Setting up a video conference is so easy that many overdo it and hold unnecessary meetings that could have easily been an email.

 

High initial setup cost (???)

During our research on this topic, most articles that we came across mentioned the high initial setup cost of video conferencing. We found that quite odd. The cost of video conferencing software per host per month, combined with the one-time purchase of meeting room hardware is only a fraction of a company’s yearly budget in business travel and accommodation. The average business trip costs 1,293 USD and that amount increases every year. That’s 1,293 USD for a meeting, roughly speaking.

 

advantages and disadvantages of video conferencing

 

How to Overcome the Disadvantages of Video Conferencing

Pretty much anything under the sun has its advantages and disadvantages. Video conferencing is no exception. And that’s ok. With all the benefits we get from video conferencing, we accept the disadvantages with a smile. But a few best practices will help minimize those disadvantages.

 

We touched on some of them, like adopting a hybrid workplace rather than a fully remote one, to maintain a healthy company culture and avoid alienation. Employee training and an IT helpdesk that’s geared to service remote workstations will help minimize tech issues. And of course, keeping the number of meetings to a necessary and constructive minimum will keep employees sane and productive.

 

For issues like corporate information security, lagging and downtime, available features, compatibility and interoperability, et cetera, the solution boils down to the video conferencing platform your company is using.

 

For such a crucial tool to the daily operations of an enterprise, only a robust and reliable video conferencing solution should be considered.

Check out Kaltura Meetings:

  • Fully browser-based. No installations or downloads required
  • Persistent and branded meeting spaces
  • Powerful collaboration tools like screen sharing, whiteboards, notes, playlists, …
  • High interoperability with other systems
  • Automatic transcription, editing, session analytics, …
  • HD video playback
  • Cloud recording
  • … and so much more.

 

You can read more about Kaltura’s video conferencing solution, but why waste time reading if you can spend it testing the platform yourself, with a free trial account!

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