How Videoconferencing Can Support Businesses Affected By Coronavirus
The news has been flooded with articles about Coronavirus for weeks, and the effect it has had – not only on people’s health – but also nearly every business industry worldwide due to travel disruptions and safety precautions. One industry that is growing and supporting businesses in this current health crisis, however, is videoconferencing.
How Is Videoconferencing Growing?
With no cure or effective treatment of Coronavirus available, currently the best way to control the spread of the disease is through social distancing. A number of large companies, such as Amazon and Apple, have put a hold on all non-essential travel to and from China, whilst also restricting visitors to their offices. Other companies, including Facebook and Microsoft, have been strongly urging employees to work from home if possible, in a bid to try and stop the spread of Coronavirus. This is where the use of videoconferencing become’s essential.
Union Square Ventures co-founder, Fred Wilson, has said this on the subject; “The combination of limiting travel due to Coronavirus fears and the desire to lower carbon footprints tells me that we may have reached videoconferencing’s moment.”
Looking at Google Trends for interest around videoconferencing in the UK, you can see below that there is a huge jump for the past week, since companies began encouraging employees to work from home.
Videoconferencing suppliers have been quick to create solutions to support businesses heavily affected by the virus, by offering extended free trials, or increasing features and capacity of free accounts that would have otherwise had a lot more restricted use.
Has This Trend Been Seen Before?
This has been seen a few times, actually. Any time there’s a travel ban, videoconferencing usage spikes. We can look back at previous examples, such as the 2010 eruptions of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano in Iceland. Despite being a series of relatively small eruptions, it caused enormous disruption to global air travel, leaving many businesses in need of an alternative solution for their international meetings. The graph below shows Google search trends for videoconferencing in the UK across the year of 2010, you can see a peak in April when the volcano was erupting and causing air travel disruptions:
Another example where this trend has been seen before, and more similar to what we’re facing today with Coronavirus, is the 2003 SARS outbreak. During this epidemic, videoconferencing in business was not as commonplace as it is now, so there was more cause for concern in large companies, especially in Asia. One company that responded to their investors’ concerns and adopted a videoconferencing solution around this time was investment bank JP Morgan in Hong Kong, who used audio and video conferencing to pitch a stock sale of $28.2 million.
As expected, after travel bans are lifted, and health warnings begin to dissipate, videoconferencing usage does drop as some companies do prefer their face-to-face meetings. Though despite the drop, there are always more users that stick with videoconferencing than used it previously.
How Can We Help?
We can supply cloud-based videoconferencing solutions that require no hardware and can be used right from your browser. These solutions can be deployed within a single day, and without the need to invest in any additional equipment, they’re an extremely cost effective way to video-enable all of your meeting spaces. We also provide complete room solutions as a service with a monthly subscription, including dedicated hardware and even meeting room furniture, if required.
So whether it’s one meeting room calling another to avoid unnecessary travel, or one-on-one video calls to keep in touch with employees working from home, we can supply the right solution for you.