Who hasn’t gone on the occasional rant about work? Video conferencing has come a long way, but despite that progress, there has been a time or two when we all wanted to pull our hair out – from IT managers to end users. Here are some of our favorite video conferencing rants or “gifts from the internet”.
The Big Misconception
This first rant takes the cake in terms of making video conferencing out to be the bad guy in an article titled “The Dark Side of Video Conferencing“. Here are a couple of highlights from the perspective of one very convicted end user:
“It’s not a replacement for face-to-face meetings”
The common misconception about video conferencing is that one of video’s main value propositions is the ability to replace face-to-face meetings. If you haven’t tried video communication yet, take it from me – this myth was busted a long time ago.
In the opening paragraph of this rant, the author talks about the importance of first impressions and the frequent technical difficulties (jitter and poor call quality) that can hinder one’s ability to make a good first impression. He’s not wrong about that (the call quality) but, I personally don’t think that a first impression via video meeting was ever intended to replace your first impression in real life. A face-to-face meeting is invaluable for business, but video collaboration has it’s own benefits for collaborative meetings.
People who use video internally for team meetings on a daily basis as well as externally for meetings with sales opportunities etc. have been able to foster better business relationships with collaboration. There will always be technical difficulties to overcome with any new technology and judging by where video is at now, it’s safe to say that over 90% of the time video works flawlessly. That’s a solid 9 out of 10 and if it does happen to be a rough 10% day, thankfully the 21st century has provided us with multiple options for communication and collaboration to make up for that ugly first impression.
Why Video Conferencing Sucks
This rant is going to be more entertaining for the average end user. In the article titled “Why Video Conferencing Sucks” the author makes it very clear that he is simply against video.
“The reason we aren’t doing video conferencing calls regularly is partially because these systems don’t interoperate, but it is mostly because these systems don’t embrace the way we actually like to communicate.”
Let’s explore this rant a bit further. The author’s central thesis (highlighted above) is backed by a few issues that have to do with the way humans like to interact.
People don’t like to stare at each other for long periods of time.
People working remotely don’t want to “be the presentation” in a large conference room of co-workers.
Desktop users worry that executives are using desktop video systems to watch them in secret.
Ladies don’t like people to look at them before they’ve had a chance to check their makeup.
That last one is not a joke, it’s actually in the article.
Sure there are some people that generally aren’t comfortable with video at first, but people learn new forms of communication outside their comfort zones all the time (social media is a big example). Audio conference calls, public speaking and video will probably make someone in the room anxious, but that’s not a technology thing – that’s a people thing that are also essential parts of working effectively.
You Can’t Have It Both Ways
“Even though we’re spending all of this money on high-end video conferencing systems, we’re not getting systems that work flawlessly 90% of the time”
In this podcast rant, the speaker discusses the idea of that ever thinning line between what consumers want with video, and what professionals want. More specifically he asks the question – Can there ever be a hybrid in video conferencing where professionals and users get the simplicity of tools like Skype, Google Hangouts and Face Time, as well as the quality of a complex high-end video conferencing system?
Rather than a rant, I actually think this is a great point. Aside from your biases, do you truly think there is a solution out there that combines the simplicity that allows the user to connect with anyone from the touch of a button with high-quality video that works flawlessly >90% of the time?
The real rant can be found embedded within this discussion. Interoperability is the issue that everyone in the video conferencing world faces, from IT managers to end users of all shapes and sizes. As the workforce continues to grow in diversity, so do video services and technologies. Users inside and out of your organization want to connect with mobile phones, desktop, personal endpoints, immersive systems, data, voice, and video.
Add in the complexity of a part on-premise / part cloud environment, and an IT manager’s resignation will soon follow. The worst part is that users get a bad experience, and IT managers get an even worse experience.
With half of your users going with Cisco on-premise infrastructure and the other half using something mobile or desktop based like Microsoft Lync, IT departments have no choice but to make them play nicely together. There are ways of getting around these headaches, but we’ll save multi-vendor video collaboration analytics for another discussion.
What are some of your biggest problems with video conferencing? Do you have any rants from your users you want to share? Drop us a comment to join the conversation!