Video prejudice

Do you like video conferencing?  I’m not sure that I do.  I’ve used it a few times but have always felt that a simple telephone call is good enough.  It is not clear to me what the picture of someone’s face adds, especially if the movement is slightly out of sync.  They can end up looking like a BBC war correspondent.  Perhaps there will be a market for fake backgrounds and improved avatars to make you look presentable.  What do you wear for a video conference?

It’s come back to the fore as we are looking at a product that can federate our VC client.  What we have works well enough within our own network but doesn’t allow discussions across the great internet divide.  I’m not sure there is need for such a thing yet every so often it is something that we are asked for.  It could be useful for those who wish to join more remotely from their phones and it may be useful for regional or national meetings to avoid a lot of travel.  We’ve heard these arguments before and it is fair to say that I will not get rich soon on the proceeds from our current video or voice conferencing usage.  It is something that just isn’t done in any meaningful volumes where I work.

This no doubt is more of a cultural thing than a technical one.  There are small pockets of maverick’s who are trying it out.  Su uses it to have one to ones with her more remote (physically) people.  She might find it useful to communicate better with neighbouring authorities which is a significant part of her role.

Without the technology we will never know if it works and so we need to take a punt and run a pilot.  There are plenty of people around who could be persuaded to give it a go.  Video may be one of those things that it takes a while to get used to.  It is in widespread use in the home market yet is taking time, in my opinion, to cross over into the business market.

I should give it another go.  Just like social media, if you don’t try it you will never understand it.  There is no substitute for face to face communication. I get that yet we have many meetings where video would be good enough by giving a sense of the nuance that meetings in-person give but at a fraction of the cost.

I need to park my video conferencing prejudices.

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