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Remote work is here to stay, and the adoption of video conferencing software will likely not slow down anytime soon.
As vendors roll out features to video conference software such as Teams, Zoom and Webex, the costs are now justified due to the many benefits they bring to companies and their employees. But video conferencing software does not come without some strings attached. Implementing many of the new features will add a new set of challenges that can certainly force some IT leaders and content managers to question the push for a full adoption of these products.
Business benefits of video conferencing software
Video conferencing software has evolved to become more than just applications that connect two or more users via audio and video in real time. There are plenty of free options that can provide video support for users, such as FaceTime, Skype and Facebook Messenger, but unfortunately the free tools cannot deliver on all end users' communication requirements that include screen sharing, chat, file sharing, co-authoring and more in-depth security and content control. This reduces the number of software options to choose from, but a few popular products include Microsoft, Zoom, Cisco, GoToMeeting, Slack and a few others.
When selecting unified communications software, companies can easily see how a paid subscription product can go beyond the traditional video conferencing software and deliver capabilities and features that offer more than just video and audio conferencing.
Video conferencing software can benefit businesses in the following ways:
- Meeting transcription services
When conducting virtual meetings like sales presentations of products, review of current financial performance, contract negotiations or even employee reviews, these interactions generally result in action items and next steps. Action items could be generating a quote to send to the client, or an employee agreeing to make some adjustments to the contracts. The takeaways are generally handwritten notes or digital notes in the computer. But as virtual meetings increase in frequency due to more employees working from home, it becomes more challenging for employees to capture this information, especially with more attendees in the meetings.
Many video conferencing platforms, including GoToMeeting, Zoom and Microsoft Teams, offer a meeting transcription feature to prevent these issues. This feature transcribes spoken word into text and makes it available to the meeting attendees. Not only does this feature eliminate the need for an administrative assistant or one of the attendees to take notes, but it also adds a neutral party to capture the information.
- Translation services for multilingual meetings
Some business meetings require folks across international borders to get together and interact virtually. In some cases, these meetings have interactions between individuals who may not speak a common language, which creates challenges when discussions arise. Organizations could hire a translator -- which adds cost and complexity -- or risk misinterpreting some of the translation.
There are plenty of options to choose from when it comes to supporting multilingual meetings. Microsoft Teams and Skype provide the ability for anyone communicating over text to receive text translations on them. When conducting virtual face-to-face meetings this is simply not adequate, however. A second option is to use Azure Speech Translation services with Microsoft Teams during video and audio meetings. This feature transcribes spoken words and then translates them in real time for attendees to view or hear. This enables multilingual communications in meetings, along with the support for more than 30 languages.
- Screen-sharing ability
Modern video conferencing software also offers the ability to share content and the screen with one or more attendees of the meeting. This is becoming a major need as employees do require remote assistance at times from their team members. Another use case is the need to present content as part of a presentation, which requires users to display the files or data to the attendees of the meeting.
- One-stop shop and the gateway to other apps
It may be hard to see the value of having access to applications within a video conferencing application, but that's exactly what Microsoft did with its Teams platform. By providing support to other tools from within the unified communications platform, users don't have to leave the application to connect to tools such as a CRM, SharePoint or Planner.
This approach is appealing to users who want to reduce switching between applications and have quick and easy access to apps and services from within the video conferencing tool.
Challenges of video conferencing software
Despite the many benefits that these communication tools offer, they still pose some challenges to companies, especially for content managers and compliance officers.
Video conferencing software raises the following concerns:
- Securing meetings
Hackers are taking advantage of the boost in video conferencing usage by increasing their attempts to infiltrate meetings to disrupt and create chaos. This was especially the case in 2020, when Zoom faced scrutiny for having several publicized disruptions to zoom meetings by internet trolls. Many IT executives worried about the security of their internal meetings.
Fortunately, many of these video conferencing applications do have safeguards in place that can ensure only the intended attendees can join the private business meetings, such as the use of passwords to access meetings and the ability to not automatically allow guests without the approval of the organizers. These features have helped address some of these security concerns.
- Complying with laws and regulations
Another concern is around compliance and access to the recordings. From a compliance perspective, companies worry that due to the different state laws recording some meetings can be considered illegal without the approval of all attendees. To help address that, Microsoft Teams offers an audible announcement to confirm that the meeting is being recorded, but this functionality is configurable.
Organizations must also contend with the issue of storing and archiving the recorded content. Healthcare organizations, for example, are required to store data that relates to a patient anywhere from seven to 12 years, depending on the patient's gender. Healthcare organizations must also store that data in a way that complies with HIPAA regulations.
- Organizing the newly created data
The newly generated content from recorded meetings introduces a new set of challenges when it comes to organizing and classifying the information that is now available to users. Some of the videos can be a part of training content, others can be project reviews and others can be team huddles.
No matter the type of content, content managers must plan and define data governance to ensure the information is secure and easily accessible when employees need it.
- Creating policies
Content managers must plan around these new content types and sources. Content managers should create a new set of policies and apply and implement those policies on the newly created video, audio and text files from the meetings.