The pros and pros of video conferencing

By Anthony Caruana | June 11, 2013

Anyone who grew up watching The Jetsons or sci-fi knows that the era of video conferencing is meant to already be here. So, is it?

Every business with a computer, tablet or smartphone and an internet connection can get into video conferencing. There are no longer any technical impediments to seeing who's on the other end of the line. Our hardware is up to the task, the software is easy to use and network connectivity via the internet is ubiquitous.

Humans communicate in many different ways. Apart from talking, the way we gesture and move our bodies when we talk speaks volumes. Video conferencing creates a far more personal and rich connection between parties in conversation.

For frequent travellers, making video calls using Skype, FaceTime or other video-conferencing tools is a great way to keep in touch with the office and family. One of the things I do when I'm travelling is use my smartphone or tablet to take my family on a tour of my hotel room and the nearby facilities. Although it's not the same as being there, they can get a feel for where I am. I can also look at my children's' homework and continue to participate in home life, albeit in a limited way.

In business, we've all become dependent on phone and email. Those media are critical but they do have limitations. With email, many of the nuances we have in conversation are missed. For example, it's not easy to convey sarcasm or humour over email. Similarly, with telephones we can't convey facial expressions.

Video conferencing overcomes these challenges. All the people on the call - most video-conferencing systems allow you to have several parties on the line at the same time - can see each other. If you're a manager, it also helps to know who is actually paying attention during remotely conducted team meetings.

Are you using video conferencing regularly? If you're not, what's stopping you?


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