Needless to deny it: the long-awaited revolution of interaction and collaboration brought about by video conferencing tools has actually happened!

It must be said, however, that the involuntary contribution of the pandemic to this phenomenon has not been indifferent at all, quite the contrary. The effective explosion of these tools, both licensed and free, in the professional world and in the private one, was driven by the urgent need for give continuity to interaction even from remote. This unexpected factor resulted useful, indeed fundamental, to actually reach the potential of technologies that already had been available for some time and were observing a constant growth in companies, albeit slow and not “breaking through” compared to expectations.

Indeed, if Skype (in its Skype4Business version), Cisco Webex, GoTo Meeting, TeamViewer and many other tools of typical of the business world had already taken hold in companies (to facilitate collaboration between colleagues from different offices, to organize webinars and online conferences and speed up remote contact with partners, customers and suppliers), it’s only with the pandemic that all these platforms and others have known how to be appreciated and become pervasive in all working environments.

Consider that if before the pandemic 1 out of 2 workers considered companies that used video conferencing systems to be innovative, now these systems have become public domain and in 3 out of 5 companies today, these tools are used daily. Not surprisingly, however, a third of these companies claim to have started working with these tools for the first time exactly during the pandemic. But that’s not all, to demonstrate the rapidly acquired flexibility and the ability to mutually adapt to the tools used by employees and customers, as many as 9 out of 10 companies declare that they now use more than one platform at the same time.

This sudden change in work and personal habits has represented a real “revolutionary” season for the technologies in this sector, which have therefore been able to benefit from an important boost to invest in evolutionary developments, both in terms of new features, and of improvement in efficiency/performance and user experience.

In this phase both the products already in the field, such as Zoom or Google Meet, and new products just launched such as Microsoft Teams and others (LifeSize, Lifestorm, Zoho Meetings, U Meetings, …) were able to grow, also improving their capabilities, driven by concrete needs, commercial opportunities and the mutual competition. For this reason, the stability of these tools, the use of bandwidth and the quality of audio and video have improved significantly, as well as the support for simultaneous connections (now the main products can support up to several hundreds of users connected simultaneously to a single videoconf) and the auxiliary functions offered (scheduling, invitation, registration, integration with other software tools, group division, rooms creation, etc.).

The fact is that today this situation bequeaths a new way of working and interacting, where these platforms have by now become tools for daily use, inside and outside the office, and are considered irreplaceable working instruments, also for being able to satisfy the by now consolidated possibility of user mobility and work flexibility.

It’s not just the individual employee who benefits, but all the company departments, so much so that practically all the companies declare benefits in terms of productivity and quality of work in the use of video conferencing tools. Furthermore, half of the companies also see them as ways to reduce travel costs that are no longer indispensable (but have a high impact), or even to recover and reorganize spaces (transforming large meeting rooms into new spaces, creating small isolated/soundproofed niches -called huddle rooms- , perhaps equipped with audio/video equipment, dedicated to individuals or small groups in video conference). Recent statistics (2022) report that over two-thirds of the people and companies questioned state that the use of video conferencing has made the improvement of interactions and collaboration possible respectively both with other colleagues and departments, and also with their customers and partners. Acquired good habits, therefore, have not been abandoned after the pandemic, and an identical percentage of respondents report both an increase in the number of meetings organized via video conferences, and an increase in involvement and collaboration on shared work thanks to the use of virtual tools.

This type of communication is now used for all kinds of work interactions, from direct interactions to group ones. Statistics show that it’s commonly used in 4 situations out of 5, both for one-to-one collaboration and for team meetings. Interactive solutions that have therefore brought many benefits, both in terms of effectiveness for companies, both functionality and work organization for end users.