Lockdown or not, video calls are here to stay

Published November 26, 2021, 6:01 AM

by MB Technews

By Ravi Saraogi, Co-Founder and President of Uniphore APAC

Video conferencing platforms have made remote work possible during the global COVID-19 pandemic globally today. For the Philippines, which is said to have the most extended and strictest lockdowns, video conferencing allows businesses to continue operating and enables consumers to stay connected despite being physically apart. We have witnessed this widespread adoption of video conversations around the globe. 

Powering Collaboration, Connection, and Continuity

We have all experienced firsthand how video conversations can help us stay connected during the pandemic. On a personal level, we are constantly looking for ways to stay engaged while confined to our homes, away from colleagues, friends, and family. On a professional level, businesses, corporations, and educational institutions across the region are forced to take their operations online due to tightened measures and restrictions implemented.

Specific industries have also adapted well to video conversations. The education sector, for example, has contributed towards the trend of upskilling, re-skilling, and e-learning with the physical closure of educational institutions globally. The customer experience (CX) sector is also moving in      a similar direction. With constant changes in travel restrictions, vaccine queries, healthcare issues, online shopping, and more, the industry continues to receive an overwhelming influx of calls – both audio and video – from consumers. It is observed that more and more consumers are willing to conduct video calls whenever deemed necessary to resolve issues quicker or get better deals.

Overcoming Video Fatigue and Other Challenges

Engaging in a video conversation, however, requires much more focus than      face-to-face interaction. It      is because our minds need to work harder and consume more energy to process non-verbal cues such as facial expressions, tone, the pitch of the voice, and body language. 

According to a Consumer Survey on Video Conversations: Trends, Fails & Wins, Filipinos are self-conscious about video calls, with one in three respondents (35%) cited being misinterpreted for their facial expressions. The survey also revealed that Filipinos disliked the idea of having to be “camera-ready” all the time, seeing themselves on camera, and getting ready for video calls. Other challenges include not telling if others on the call were engaged, and finding it hard to feel heard during calls. 

Multitasking and distractions are also rising, shining more light on the dark side of video calls. Top activities Filipinos      tend to do during a virtual meeting include watching or streaming shows online, going for bathroom breaks, cleaning the house, and online shopping.      

Embracing Change with Artificial Intelligence 

While people understand the benefits of video conversations, it is necessary to find ways to minimiz     e frustration levels to allow better understanding, engagement, and empathy effectively. 

One solution is to incorporate artificial intelligence, or AI, to help identify emotion and engagement levels in real-time, enhance communication, and ultimately drive better business results. It will not be limited to regular video conferencing, but it also opens new use cases, affecting CX, sales, marketing, human resources, and other critical areas of the business. 

Video conversations powered by AI can help employers and employees stay connected in a time where remote working and social distancing have become part of our lives. It can be done by using advanced facial emotion recognition and eye-tracking technology to capture and analyze interactions over video in real-time to enhance engagement between people. The technology can be relied on to pick up on cues people may have missed and share tips to better engage audiences by detecting facial and eye movement, facial expressions of emotion, attention span, and essential demographics, allowing people to feel heard during video calls. Automation can also resolve customer service issues quicker, especially when dealing with more technical matters such as installation and provide on-screen transcription to help reduce a speaker’s accent during calls or presentations. It will help develop deeper connections with customers or clients and aid in closing sales or business deals. 

We still have a long way to go to make virtual interactions as seamless and effective as in-person conversations – but we are getting there. This powerful combination of voice and video analytics will drive new waves of transformation by helping users feel more understood, conveying non-verbal communication accurately, preventing distractions during calls, and maintaining motivation and engagement. 

Collectively, we can turn the use of video calls into an enjoyable experience for all by addressing frustrations and communication challenges, all with the help of additional tools to enhance higher degrees of people-to-people understanding.