Tuesday 20 July 2010

Face up to video calling

This is why I think video calling/conferencing is a must for all internal comms.

Collaboration between individuals is what makes companies more than just the sum of their parts. By working together we elevate ourselves above our individual limitations and can create great things.  Despite the importance of collaboration, larger companies still use telephone to communicate within teams and across them. For me, it’s the equivalent of putting together a crack team and then asking them to perform with one hand behind their backs; no body language, no visual cues, no group collaboration. There is a better way.

When we started the new company, I wanted to create clear communication right from the outset.  Since we were all in different homes, separated by about a ten minute walk, I felt it would waste time if we had to meet up in person every day.  On the flip-side, I also felt that not having daily face to face group conversations would also slow us down and weaken the sense of being a team.  The solution: video conferencing.  We installed web cams, a bit of software called oovoo, and we were away; three-way video conferencing for $9.95 per month.

I don’t make any phone calls to my colleagues anymore; I only video call, and it’s as easy to speak to two people as one. What’s more, I get those missing visual cues and seeing everyone’s face at the same time enhances the feeling of ‘team’. Sure, I still value true face time, but we’re using that to think freely and bond over lunch rather than for rattling through task lists or issue resolution.

I’d love to know how many companies implement this technology.  I can’t believe that it can be much longer before internal company telephone calls are a thing of the past, and internal communications use video.  The software is cheap, the technology is sound, and the money invested in basic telephony systems has to be questioned at some point.  Maybe now the iPhone 4 has video calling as standard, there will be a renewed wave of interest and some decision makers will try it out.  Whatever and whenever it comes, I’m certain that once video communication is installed in the work place we’ll all wonder why we waited so long.


  1. Well this has totally made my day.

    And would you look at that! there's space on the screen for 4 or even 5 video screens.

    Keep it up