Videoconferencing has come of age. Put to the test in the COVID-19 pandemic with millions of people working from home, its value as a business and learning enabler has soared. Indeed, the implementation of videoconferencing technologies has helped many organizations to survive this difficult time.
Jim Schanz, Shure’s Vice President of Global Sales, Integrated Systems, has no doubt about this: “If there’s one thing recent events have proven, it’s that videoconferencing is very, very important in keeping the lights on in your enterprise and keeping communication going – maybe more so than a lot of companies really considered before.”
That more organizations now appreciate the value of audio visual (AV) collaboration is borne out in a recent survey by AVIXA™, the Audiovisual and Integrated Experience Association. In its Impact Survey of 22 May, 2020, AVIXA reported that 40% of AV providers had seen an increase in incoming enquiries.
Initially, due to the speed at which people suddenly had to work from home, videoconferences were largely facilitated by ad hoc solutions based on products more typically used in social scenarios. Think Zoom, for example. But all of us experienced problems with audio quality. People talking over each other and inconsistent speech levels between soft-spoken participants and those with booming voices are just two issues with which we have become familiar.
Now, as lockdown restrictions continue to ease, we believe that this will prompt a new strategic focus on investing in more professional AV solutions. It’s clear that videoconferencing will play a crucial role going forward, no matter how and when people return to work, and no matter where in the world they’re located. But looking ahead, the requirement will be for more reliable, higher quality solutions that minimize the disparity between home and office set-ups, and which ensure every voice can be heard.
Having had the chance to see how people work remotely and the tools they need, IT and AV/videoconferencing managers now have a mandate to create a strategy for effortless communications that will stand the test of time. That means investing in the right technology, such as array microphones, enable remote participants to clearly hear what’s being said by teams in the workplace. With enhanced clarity.
Technology choices like this are important, especially now that videoconferencing has become a core component of the modern workplace. Even before the coronavirus lockdown forced a massive shift to remote working, a survey conducted on behalf of Shure found that 81% of virtual meeting attendees felt flawless audio was a key requirement to holding successful meetings. Enough said.
One aspect of videoconferencing that is often overlooked is the need for the system to be intuitive and easy to use for participants and simple to manage for AV/IT technicians and administrators. This makes it essential for the audio, video, room control, and network platform portions of the system to integrate seamlessly. Components that are certified to work well together are the ideal since no trial and error is necessary to discover the settings that work best. This includes not only the audio and video signals but also control commands like muting, volume adjustment, etc. When the AV system works as people expect it to work, productivity and satisfaction are maximized for users and troubleshooting time is minimized for technicians and administrators. Whether on site, remote, or both.
Videoconferencing isn’t new. What is new, however, is the realization that the right AV solution can, effectively, be a business savior. Looking ahead, videoconferencing technology will continue to mature – and flawless audio will be integral to this.