After people have tried out the benefits of a more thorough introduction of technology into their lives, they no longer want to return to the old way of doing things. Who, for example, wants to spend time, energy and money on a flight across the ocean to meet partners, if this can be simply done with a couple of clicks, while staying in bed?
Conferencing is a key element for bringing internal teams together, facilitating communication between businesses and their customers, and in general keeping the wheels of industry turning. The value of communication technologies is recognized by Bill Gates, who predicted “that over 50% of business travel and over 30% of days in the office will go away”.
On the other hand, there are proponents of traditional office-working and corporate travel whose main argument is that you can’t beat the real human interaction that only happens in person. And it’s true, video calls are no substitute for face-to-face conversations, and some businesses do need in-person meetings more than others. And this is a kind of challenge for developers in the field of communication technologies who seek to bridge the gap between the digital and the real.
Let’s take a look at the wonders of videoconferencing that will make the virtual presence rival the physical one.
Changes we might see in videoconferencing
Home-working has not gone anywhere in 2022, although the offices of most companies have opened their doors. With the advent of the era of “hybrid working”, a combination of online and in-office working, there is a need for new solutions for higher quality video calls. Here are some of the innovations that will take video conferencing to a whole new level.
Cloud Computing and Storage
It’s no secret that voice and video communications, plus meeting recording files, require a lot of space. Cloud computing and storage solutions meet this challenge, thereby maximizing enterprise growth and scalability.
Already, modern videoconferencing technologies such as WebRTC allow users to seamlessly connect to any device with Internet access via the cloud. The solution has been shown to be effective in reducing digital weight and accelerating business growth. By reducing the demands on a company’s technology infrastructure, including hardware and software, businesses can grow with greater agility and efficiency.
In the future, video calling applications will make even greater use of cloud computing and storage to provide businesses with greater flexibility, cost savings, and more powerful and intuitive user experiences.
High-Quality Video and Audio
To bring videoconferencing as close to face-to-face meetings as possible, developers are looking for ways to ensure excellent video and audio quality in their applications. Unlike in-person meetings, which are devoid of such problems as pixelated or grainy videos and delays, video calls are subject to communication disruption due to such troubles.
Already, developers are using machine learning and artificial intelligence to work on audio and video enhancements. Modern technologies allow editing and improving video in real time. And delivering high-quality, low-latency audio is possible with a solution such as spatial audio.
In the future, the picture and sound of videoconferencing will be so clear and realistic that participants will feel as if they are in the same room (the deployment of this technology has already begun, and we will cover it further). With impeccable audio and video quality, online meeting participants will focus their cognitive efforts on discussing important issues, rather than trying to distinguish between who is saying what.
Enhanced Security and Privacy
Since business video calling is data and corporate information related, videoconferencing applications must be secure against intruders. Especially when it comes to sectors such as healthcare and law. Moreover, security mechanisms should not burden users with lengthy and confusing verifications.
One of the innovative solutions for protecting user data and communications, which will be widely implemented in all conferencing platforms and applications in the future, is single sign-on (SSO) authentication. In addition to being an effective way to verify a user’s identity, the SSO solution is very convenient for those who use different applications on multiple devices. Whether you’re joining a video conference from your phone, laptop, or desktop, single sign-on makes it easy to access.
The future of video conferencing promises stronger and easier-to-manage security with strong and non-repetitive passwords, multi-factor authentication, and internal credential management.
3D Display by Google
Google took to improving the quality of video conferencing, and by combining technologies such as machine learning, real-time compression and spatial audio, created a three-dimensional display of people during a video call.
The Starline project has unveiled a revolutionary platform that creates 3D models of video call participants and projects them onto a screen to give the illusion that they are in the same meeting room.
Implementing this technology requires specialized hardware and software that companies can equip their conference rooms with to provide the best online meeting experience. However, no additional devices or accessories are required from the participants of the video call.
As more and more businesses will move to a remote or hybrid approach, the conventional “office” will also evolve. Employees will not only be able to join meetings from anywhere, but they will also be able to use comfortable equipped conference rooms, including BYOM-enabled ones. BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) is a technology that says “yes” to interoperability and allows you to use any device with pre-installed conference room hardware. Compatibility means not only being able to use any device, but any application. Calls can be made across multiple video platforms, whether it’s Zoom, Teams, Webex or BlueJeans.
Various technologies are used to develop solutions for online communications, and artificial intelligence (AI) is most actively used. Already, AI is being used in video calls to recognize and capture faces, as well as recognize and translate speech into multiple languages in real time. But as technology is constantly evolving, AI will continue to adapt and surprise with new features in the videoconferencing of the future.
One of the more impressive AI projects: A Tokyo-based startup that came up with a way to make video meeting participants look dressed in formal suits, even when they’re wearing only pajamas. Users upload their photos to the EmbodyMe app, which uses artificial intelligence to generate a “business-like” version of their images for online meetings. The app relies on a number of sophisticated technologies. It tracks 50,000 different points on users’ faces in 3D, capturing changes in expressions, which, combined with neural rendering, allows it to create a natural-looking image on the screen.
Looking at developments involving AI, one can only guess where they will take video conferencing in the future.
In short, video conferencing will not only remain in the future, but will rapidly evolve, offering new solutions to make the quality of communication even better. By heading for hybrid work, companies will strive for diversity and the creation of “interoperable meeting spaces”, which will require the introduction of new technologies.
As for video conferencing application developers, they will try to dispel the notion that online conferencing cannot compete with offline ones by offering very high-quality and innovative products. There will come a time when it will be hard to distinguish whether your interlocutor is really in the same room with you, or is it an illusion.