According to Quentin Gallivan, CEO at meeting platform vendor BlueJeans, live video is set to become the fabric for modern enterprise collaboration, help solve the productivity puzzle and combat workplace loneliness. That’s a big ask so we asked their VP of International Sales Paul Scholey how that is going to happen.
Comms Business Magazine (CBM): What’s the background to your belief that live video is going to have such a tremendous impact this year?
Paul Scholey (PS): Collaborative technologies have become such a major part of our working lives. They’ve not only reshaped the way we conduct meetings, but also how do business and interact with colleagues. What was once seen as a ‘nice to have’ in terms of integrating video into enterprise communications is now becoming a priority for CIOs globally, and because of that, it’s such an exciting time to be working in the video collaboration industry.
CBM: Your CEO is predicting an increasing pop-up meeting culture
PS: Pop-up retailing grew in popularity around the late 2000s as a reaction to mass store closures after the global recession. Open plan, short-term hubs enabled shoppers quick and easy access to services, while retailers saw reduced costs and fees. The UK‘s pop-up industry is now estimated to be worth £2.3 billion.
Fast forward a few years and the modern office looks to be heading the same way. Open plan, short-term serviced offices, with their increased productivity and health benefits, are becoming increasingly popular. ‘Huddle rooms’ – small pop-up meeting areas – are increasingly becoming favoured over formal boardroom-style meetings. We can expect 2019 to see further developments for the pop-up meeting as video conferencing technology adapts to the changes in the ways we host meetings.
CBM: Likewise your company is heralding smarter meeting productivity – is that due to artificial intelligence?
PS: As more of us begin to embrace AI in our consumer lives we can only expect that in the workplace AI will continue to grow in popularity. Digital assistants capable of taking notes, creating action items and providing instant transcripts will become a workplace norm in the coming months. The main aim of these technologies, such as our Eva product, will be to automate the before and after meeting tasks, freeing up employees to focus on the more important elements of a meeting such as problem solving and brain storming.
According to Gov.UK, 92% of generation Y employees in the UK now cite flexible working as a priority when choosing a workplace. Furthermore, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics, the number of self-employed workers has increased by over 1.5 million since 2001. Some reports now claim that up to two million Brits are working in the freelance space alone, with tech giants like Google and ASOS now recruiting 50 percent of their staff as freelancers.
As less employees work the normal nine-to-five business hours, or even consistently out of a official company office, the need for better collaboration technologies—such as live video—will continue to grow.
CBM: So how do we solve the productivity puzzle through live video?
PS: The amount of work produced per hour in the UK is decreasing—it’s true. The Financial Times even called it a crisis. To combat these low levels of productivity, we can expect to see more businesses turn to collaborative technologies to help turn this downward trend around. One of the issues with flexible working, when implemented poorly, is the downturn in productivity it can lead to. Also, People often don’t fully switch off after hours, affecting their stress levels and sleep. There’s a great opportunity therefore to turn to a live video solution which can help solve the productivity puzzle.
It was recently reported that a loneliness epidemic is spreading across the UK, leading the government to appoint a ‘Minister of Loneliness’ for the very first time. For a workforce now operating more remotely than ever before, and often on a flexible schedule, HR teams are beginning to advocate video conferencing as a way to help employees feel less lonely and more connected. Ultimately, this should lead to them being happier and more productive in the workplace.