“A smile is a smile”: why video conferencing is my number one productivity tool
I’m going to put this right out there: I love using video in my work day. Why? Body language. It’s happened to me too many times to count that I’ve accidentally offended someone over text or on the phone based on my word choice or tone of voice, when that was not my intention. Seeing the person with whom I’m talking takes away the ambiguity: a smile is a smile. But seeing that smile is key.
If body language is so important, why not have all my meetings in person? Realistically, that’s just not possible in a country the size of Canada. I am responsible for sales and operations for Eastern Canada and can’t effectively cover the region with only in-person meetings. To overcome the challenges of distance, I use video conferencing. For example, I have weekly forecasting meetings with my general managers in Halifax, Quebec City, and Ottawa on three screens. It is like we are all in the room together and once we are done, no one is getting in a car to drive 2-3 hours or, even worse, heading to the airport to spend the day getting home.
While most people use some sort of video calling in their personal lives, businesses aren’t leveraging video to the extent they should, in my opinion. Perhaps they don’t fully understand the return on investment (ROI) from adopting this technology and new way to work. ROI isn’t just about the money you spend on hardware or software. An equally good, maybe even better, ROI is increased productivity.
Video is an easy way to deliver this.
Look at the traffic on any highway between two major cities in Canada…Montreal and Quebec City for example. People make this trip daily, driving 500 km round trip for a 60-minute meeting. Even flying is a pain and eats into a productive day. Video removes the need to be there physically for an “in person” meeting. Think of it this way – instead of wasting the three hours following a meeting to drive home, you could go visit a customer or have another “in person” meeting … without leaving your office.
Video is much more than just a tool to increase productivity: it’s a way to humanize communication, to make it personal again. We have so many ways to be in touch with people – email, text, phones – but only video lets you see the other person. We already use video in our personal lives. It’s time to extend this into other areas.
Areas such as healthcare, which is a passion of mine. When I was 9, my uncle passed away from Muscular Dystrophy at age 27. At that time, I didn’t understand why he was in a wheelchair – maybe he had had an accident? – but it was nothing special. He was sick and in a wheelchair and I accepted it without question. Looking back, I realize now that my family was lucky to live in a city and have access to the care and support system that living with this disease requires.
Having three children of my own, I cannot imagine not being able to access needed resources for a reason as simple as distance.
It is crystal clear to me that if video were leveraged properly, with the right solution, it would improve productivity within our healthcare system drastically and with it, allow better patient care for all.
Patients in remote areas could connect with specialists in urban centers without travel. Hospitalized patients could stay connected with family on a more personal level. Family members could be part of meetings with the healthcare team, even if they weren’t able to travel to the hospital.
For video conferencing to work for you or your business or our healthcare system, it has to be the right solution. It has to deliver that promised productivity boost and human connection. It has to work so you can work.
So … why Cisco? There are two reasons I believe Cisco’s video conferencing solutions are the best on the market: open standards and a full portfolio.
We get it – every company uses a ton of https://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/products/conferencing/webex-meetings/index.html?dtid=oblgzzz000659&ccid=cc000149different products and apps and you need to be able to have them all work together. Open standards means our technology can integrate with the other business solutions you use, like Microsoft Office, Google, or Apple. Everyone is welcome in our sandbox.
We started talking about telepresence and video conferencing 15 years ago and the evolution of our solutions has been drastic. We have a full portfolio that takes you from A to Z and doesn’t require any third parties. Other solutions are not perfectly integrated – they might have the software, but you need to have a video unit and a bridge between the software and the video unit. As soon as you add these layers, you make it harder to operate. Each room ends up with a different way to start a meeting, let alone trying to join over mobile.
I was talking with a customer the other day who was complaining how video conferencing in their office was a nightmare. The first 10 – 15 minutes were spent just trying to start the video. Obviously they don’t have a Cisco solution. Yet.
Our solutions are designed to be easy – one button push to start, the same experience on mobile, powerful codecs so video quality remains strong no matter what the bandwidth. Because if it isn’t easy, how does it benefit you?