Video Becomes “Camera-Ready” Amid Pandemic

To most of us, video capability at the desktop is not a new thing. It was that dusty button that most people ignored during web-based conference calls. If we were working from home, we were even less likely to use it. Perhaps we hadn’t shaved. Perhaps it was a bad hair day. Or maybe that sweatshirt with the sports logo failed to meet our personal standard for professional appearance. Whatever the circumstance, we knew video was available and we liked having the option. We just weren’t going to use that option very much. And when we chose not to use it, nobody really cared.

Who would have thought that a global pandemic, with all of its fearsome effects, would actually change that? Now hang on, before you jump on me. I don’t think anyone is surprised that web-based conference calls would go through the roof. But, personally, I AM surprised that we are using cameras more frequently than ever before.

According to Fuze, a cloud communications and collaboration company based in Boston, the use of video in meetings was up nearly 600 percent for the month of March. Meanwhile, the use of online meetings was up more than 260%, given that much of the industry is sheltering in place, either voluntarily or by state/local mandate.

Meanwhile, Reuters reports that Cisco’s WebEx platform “registered a record 324 million attendees in March, with usage more than doubling in the Americas, as the Coronavirus-led lockdowns forced businesses to have employees work from home.”

I guess it’s fair to say that we’re looking at video in a different way now. For many of us, the people we see on video may be our nearest form of social interaction, aside from the loved ones with whom we live. And for those of us who live alone, I imagine the situation is even more isolating.

My personal prediction is that this is a sea change that will continue to impact how we communicate long after the Coronavirus becomes a distant memory – which, hopefully, will be soon. Our patterns will be re-set. Expectations will be different, and the new emphasis on remote productivity will be far more elevated than it was just a few months ago.

I posed this question on LinkedIn last week:

“Your thoughts please.  Six months ago, we had video conferencing, but we rarely turned on the cameras. Now, while sheltering in place, we turn on the cameras most of the time. Do you guys see it the same way or am I mistaken? If so, why?

A number of folks responded. Here are some samples.

What are your thoughts? Catch up with me on LinkedIn?