Communications Blog • 7 MIN READ

Overcoming the Growing Pains of Video Conferencing

Skip Chilcott

Written by Skip Chilcott

Video conferencing adoption continues to grow in the workplace year on year. Yet the user experience might not always be as easy as picking up a phone and dialing a number or clicking a link in a calendar invite.  

You don't have to look too far to see the benefits of video conferencing; replacing costly face-to-face meetings proving a significant driver. The growth of global workspaces, remote working, improved technology and increase of knowledge retention from using multiple media are all propelling the increased usage of video conferencing. But what's stopping us from fully embracing video conference calls? And how can we overcome the growing pains of video conferencing? Let's look at the biggest culprits and start to pick off solutions.  

Video Conferencing not working at all 

Everyday IT departments get calls like “it's just not working – we've tried everything, you may have a look”. End users will find an alternative that does “work” and may be reluctant to rely on video conferencing in future if it's proven troublesome in the past. Nobody wants to waste the first 5-10 minutes of a person's time by messing about with technology.  

How to overcome:  
Make sure the main elements are working properly every day and the same problems aren't recurring. Educate end users on basic troubleshooting but most importantly be on top of issues by having a monitoring system in place so you can respond to complaints comprehensively. Remember, keeping your end users onside is important for adoption and if it's user-based error communication is the key for overcoming this challenge.  

Is the Video Conferencing being used? Utilization & Adoption Reports 

Administrators, UC managers, CTOs and the finance department all have vested interests in knowing whether video conferencing endpoints are being utilized. Video equipment can be expensive to deploy and organizations will want to know what is being used and what not. Especially when it comes to upgrade or renewal time. They may want to identify the most frequently and infrequently used equipment, are they easy to use, are there indications of faultiness; whatever the motivation - utilization reports are a common challenge.  

How to overcome: 
Use a platform that can monitor all the video conferencing environment and deliver said utilization and adoption reports.   

Poor quality - video and/or audio 

If the general communication flow of a meeting is disrupted due to substandard quality of the audio or video people aren't happy and rightly so – what's the point in using video conferencing if you can't communicate properly?  

How to overcome: 

Audio or video quality can be poor for a number of issues. Have visibility on your entire UC ecosystem to understand the causes of poor performance. QoS statistics must be readily available for jitter, latency, packet loss, frame rate, etc. You need to be able to view every call and see these stats and then be able to drill into each stat and see what is causing it to be low. Deep, rich and connected visibility is required. By connected I mean having all elements of the ecosystem connected in one place – multiple vendors, SBCs, network, endpoints, hardware and software. A comprehensive proactive UC monitoring and troubleshooting platform is required for this job, not siloed monitoring tools looking at individual elements. 

Not reaching ROI: because it is not used enough (adoption/utilisation) 

The business impact of not realizing return on investment on video conferencing can hinder future investment in IT. The main reason video conference investments don't see a return is due to low adoption. Low adoption can result from poor performance of the technology as described above, a resistance to change which is more of a culture issue or not getting the right people on board to influence the flock. If only a few adopt the technology but there's no tipping point it's will be difficult to gain a return.   

How to overcome: 
For poor performing technology follow the prescriptions already given, for a culture shift you must embark on an education initiative. Lastly to gain a tipping point you need to identify the small group of influencers in your organization that will be knowledgeable on the technology, those that will communicate why its important and those who are well connected and will spread the word.  

Video Conferencing Cables Disconnected  

End user error at its finest. Checking cables can never be overlooked because it's so common. A person at Enterprise Connect asked us if Prognosis could set up an alert notification when the HDMI cable is disconnected and yes it can! 

How to overcome: 
Set up alerts, like with Prognosis, that notify IT when cables are disconnected. Place signage reminders for end users to check cables if they are experiencing a problem. It's also a good idea to include a labelled diagram of the cables and plugs to avoid confusion.  

Distinguishing where the problem lies 

No, finding the root cause of where a video conferencing problem lies is not a dark art! And don't believe information that says otherwise. You can find the answer, you can fix the problem, you can have a video conferencing success story. You just need the right tools and expertise. The challenge might be better phrased as finding where a problem lies quickly.  

How to overcome: 
Like any IT troubleshooting you need to know where to start, you need the tools and you need to know there's a problem! Proactive alerting (like the HDMI cable disconnection notification) can help alleviate many video conferencing problems and help your IT team stay on top of issues and in staffers' good books. 

Encryption Concerns 

With new technology comes new security concerns. People need reassurance their data is protected. Video conferences not only share audio and visual footage of the people on the call they can also include file sharing and screensharing of confidential information. With so many ways information is flowing back and forth it's not unreasonable for concern to exist, especially when used by senior management.  

How to overcome: 
Using technology that is compliant with security regulations and always up to date on encryption. Ensure security personnel are consulted when implementing and upgrading video conferencing technology.  

When you start the pain might seem worse, after a while most of the problems tend to go away. And, things don't always go to plan for face to face meetings either; mix up in times, places, traffic delays, etc. albeit these are usually not related to technology. But one has to have a certain level of flexibility – we don't live in a perfect world but we can ensure we have the best video conferencing experience possible when we have the right measures in place.  

Topics: Communications

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