For Business and Government
One positive that has come out of the COVID-19 lockdown is our recognition that physical meetings aren’t as essential in conducting business as we’ve always thought. No doubt millennials and gen-y knew that long ago, but finally the boomers have caught on! and post COVID-19 (whenever that is) we can expect that travel will be significantly reduced – both the daily commute and business travel in general, local and more distant. This will be due not only to the very real predicted economic effects of the pandemic, but will also be a result of the new understanding that video is more than adequate for the greater proportion of business engagement.
Aside from the commercial use-cases for video conferencing – the day-to-day business of meetings and presentations – another area that has seen a critical uptake of video conferencing is the health sector. Ever since the dangers of the current virus were recognised, telehealth has been offered by as many health providers who can feasibly incorporate the technology into their services, i.e., those who don’t need to deliver literal hands-on care, and who have the technical expertise, or got onto it fast enough to get in IT services. Appointments can be face-to-face, providers can watch while patients explain and demonstrate trouble-spots of the body, and they can guide them remotely through a self-examination. For acute cases, the video appointment can serve as triage. The recognised success of this, along with the safety where contagion is a risk, and the convenience for elderly or infirm, or those with transport restrictions, are drivers for the continued use of the video conferencing tool into the future.
One of the areas strongly impacted by the current widely publicised concern over video conferencing security is education. Primary, secondary and tertiary institutions, and even pre-primary, have embraced video as an obvious means of connecting with students with the aim of both teaching and supporting them in their learning. Sports bodies also are working to engage through the medium to provide coaching and maintain fitness. Obviously, while any security breach is undesirable, the safety of underage participants is absolutely paramount, so tools that jeopardise this MUST be avoided. However, if security can be assured, this is an area that can also feasibly see a use for video in the future. The tool is already in use for providing remote tutelage, usually one-one-one, but now that educators have acquired the experience and students (and parents) have seen and believed, there will certainly be more uses for this ongoing to support groups as well as remote, incapacitated, or contagious students in their education, not forgetting the insurance of a backup plan in case of emergency.
For Internal Collaboration
Organisations with distributed staff, whether working remotely or at different office locations, should be educated around the value of video collaboration over other media. Chat is better than email, audio is an improvement on chat – but video beats them all when a physical face-to-face is not feasible for any reason. If employees are to remain collaborative and committed, remote environments should preserve the human element, at the same time empowering an engaged workforce. Group video conferencing solutions recreate the tone and feel of a board meeting or an informal team catch-up even when participants are dialling in from their lounge or kitchen.
Businesses should understand the value of team communication, implementing regular catch-up meetings. Team managers or leaders will have an even more important role to play in helping teams meet schedules when they cannot walk through the office to follow up with staff.
The Critical Need for Security
High-quality video communications must be the end goal but should be delivered as part of a broader remote access strategy. It is critical that businesses and their employees are cognisant of the need for tight security. Organisations and their staff need to get their internet connection and security sorted. Hackers and fraudsters are seeing inexperienced home workers as a prime target. To keep information secure, many businesses use a virtual private network (VPN). But when working from home, staff will still need to be certain that their home broadband provider allows them to connect to a VPN. Sometimes this varies between areas, packages and providers.
In addition to this, you need to be confident of the level of security your video conferencing tool itself offers. The following security features are a great place to start:
- User authentication/login
- Segregated management
- Password protection
- Signalling and media encryption
- Secure firewall traversal
- No login information retained on the client (or shared!)
Enghouse Interactive is currently offering a free trial on its video conferencing solution, visit Vidyo.com to sign up.