Why video conversations are here to stay

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Why video conversations are here to stay
Despite the various benefits, engaging in a video conversation can be exhausting, as it requires much more focus than a face-to-face interaction.
Photo by Surface on Unsplash

The silver lining in a world of video calls.

Video conferencing platforms have not just enabled remote work during the global COVID-19 pandemic, they’ve allowed consumers to secure better solutions from businesses, improved telehealth capabilities, and allowed friends and family to stay connected when forced apart. Through these applications and more, we have witnessed the widespread adoption of video conversations around the globe.

According to a recent report by Research and Markets, the Video Conferencing Market in Asia Pacific alone is projected to reach US$3.43 billion by 2027 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 11.4% from 2020 to 2027. This means that – love it or hate it – video conversations are here to stay.

Enabling Connection, Powering Collaboration

The pandemic has reminded us of the importance of human connection, and video conversations have enabled us to stay in contact with friends, family, and colleagues while in lockdown. On a personal level, we are constantly looking for ways to stay engaged while confined to our homes. On a professional level, businesses, corporations, and educational institutions across Australia have been forced to take their operations online due to tightened measures and changing restrictions.

Specific industries have also adapted well with video conversations. The education sector, for example, has contributed towards the trend of upskilling, re-skilling, and e-learning with the physical closure of educational institutions globally. The customer experience (CX) sector is also moving in a similar direction. With constant changes in travel restrictions, vaccine queries, healthcare issues, online shopping and more, the industry continues to receive an overwhelming influx of calls – both audio and video – from consumers. In fact, it is observed that more and more consumers are willing to conduct video calls whenever deemed necessary to resolve issues quicker or to get better deals.

Confronting Video Fatigue and Other Hurdles

Despite the various benefits, engaging in a video conversation can be exhausting, as it requires much more focus than a face-to-face interaction. This is because our minds need to work harder and consume more energy to process non-verbal cues such as facial expressions, tone, pitch of the voice, and body language.

According to a Australians are self-conscious when it comes to video calls, with 53 per cent disliking seeing themselves on camera, while 37 per cent struggle to tell if others are engaged. The survey also revealed that Australians dislike having to be “camera-ready” all the time, and would prefer to multitask while meeting. Other challenges include misinterpreting facial expressions and finding it hard to feel energised and motivated during and after video calls.

Non-professional multitasking and distractions are also on the rise – shining more light on the dark side of video calls. Top activities during virtual meetings include reading social media or online news, cleaning the house, online shopping, and going to the bathroom.

Embracing Better Calls with Artificial Intelligence

While people understand the benefits of video conversations, it is necessary to find ways to minimise frustration levels to effectively enable better understanding, engagement, and empathy.

One solution is to incorporate artificial intelligence (AI) to help identify emotion and engagement levels in real-time, enhance communication and ultimately drive better business results. This will not be limited to regular video conferencing, but it also opens new use cases, affecting CX, sales, marketing, human resources, and other critical business operations.

Video conversations powered by AI can help co-workers stay connected in a time where remote working and social distancing have become part of our lives. This can be done by using advanced facial emotion recognition and eye tracking technology to capture and analyse interactions over video in real-time to enhance engagement between people. The technology can be relied on to pick up on cues people may have missed and share tips to better engage audiences by detecting facial and eye movement, facial expressions of emotion, attention span and essential demographics, allowing people to feel heard during video calls. Automation can also resolve customer service issues quicker, especially when dealing with more technical matters such as installation, as well as provide on-screen transcription to help reduce a speaker's accent during calls or presentations. This will help develop deeper connections with customers or clients and aid in closing sales or business deals.

We still have a long way to go to make virtual interactions as seamless and effective as in-person conversations – but we are getting there. This powerful combination of voice and video analytics will drive new waves of transformation by helping users feel more understood, conveying non-verbal communication accurately, preventing distractions during calls and maintaining motivation and engagement.

Collectively, we can turn the use of video calls into an enjoyable experience for all by addressing frustrations and communication challenges, all with the help of additional tools to enhance higher degrees of people-to-people understanding.

Ravi Saraogi is Co-founder and President of Uniphore APAC.

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