Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the world has witnessed increased adoption of video calls for both, personal and professional reasons. Video call platforms have enabled business continuity and allowed families to stay connected in a geographically agnostic manner.
According to a report by Research and Markets, the Video Conferencing Market in Asia Pacific alone is projected to reach US$ 3,432.4 million by 2027 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 11.4% from 2020 to 2027. This means that, video conversations are here to stay.
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 with 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 towards 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. In fact, it is observed that more and more consumers are willing to conduct video calls whenever deemed necessary to resolve issues quicker or to get better deals.
Engaging in a video conversation, however, requires much more focus than a face-to-face interaction. This is because our minds need to work harder and consume more energy to process non-verbal cues such as facial expressions, tone, pitch of the voice, and body language.
According to a Consumer Survey on Video Conversations: Trends, Fails & Wins; three-fourths of Indian consumers are spending significantly more time on video conversations as compared to what they were in the years prior to COVID-19.
Respondents also admitted to doing a wide range of non-professional activities such as multitasking and conducting personal tasks while on calls. More than half of the respondents tend to either watch YouTube or stream shows online during video calls. Some of the respondents also shop and order meals online and take bathroom visits.
People felt conscious when it comes to video calls. About one-third of Indians dislike the idea of having to get ready, seeing themselves on camera, and find video calls exhaustive. Nearly half of the respondents felt other people on the call were focused on their looks. Other challenges include not being able to tell if others on the call were engaged and some found themselves unheard.
While people understand the benefits of video conversations, it is necessary to find ways to minimize frustration levels to effectively enable better understanding, engagement, and empathy.
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. This 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. This 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, as well as provide on-screen transcription to help reduce a speaker's accent during calls or presentations. This will help in developing deeper connections with customers or clients and aid in closing sales or business deals.
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.
This article is written by Ravi Saraogi, Co-Founder and President of Uniphore APAC