Sunday, December 23, 2007

why does business need to videoconference?

I can see the usefulness of videoconferencing for family and friends. But I'm not really sure it's needed in business.

How important is it to see the expression on someone's face when you're talking to them in a business or selling situation? Would it make or break the sale? As a boss, would you be more inclined to promote someone if you could see their demeanor (and acne) rather than all the ticks in the right boxes on their CV? I think that business video calling is hugely overrated, and its general uselessness could be part of the problem for videoconferencing not taking off as quickly as predicted.

Recruitment and executive placement will possibly promote the business need, but it is only a very small part of the business landscape.

But connecting visually with family and friends is really where the future of videoconferencing is, whether from the desktop, or a commercial service like Amigo Live (pictured above). There's a huge advantage in seeing familiar people on a regular basis, especially when they're overseas or a great distance away.

Everyone knows the advantage of seeing family they haven't talked to for a while. This morning my mother-in-law - the same 93-year-old I've talked about in an earlier post - Skyped my mother in Britain, half the world away. By all accounts it was a tremendous bonding experience, since my mother-in-law hadn't seen her since visiting the year before. That's the real value of videoconferencing, and it's where the most gain will be made.

I can see that in another decade all the dedicated high definition and expensive business videoconferencing rooms will be lying unused, while video calls will carry on from desktop to desktop. Email and telephoning will rule, as usual.

No comments: