In today’s technologically advanced era, there are newer and ever-improving ways for one to communicate with your fellow peer. In the past, there seemed to be smoke signals and verbal communication, however things have advanced slightly since then: Those primitive forms of communication are still being expressed now and again – including verbal communication obviously – but the majority of the modern world are communicating using newer and more advanced methods.

Some such methods are text messages, email, telephone calls and now the newest form of communication is advancing at a rate of knots to rival anything seen previously before. Video calling is the newest trend to hit the public and although it seems to have been around for a while, how many people are actually effectively utilising the power of this communication tool?

Well, I’ll tell you exactly the answer to this question and more in the post to come. I personally don’t tend to use video calling as often as some people, but as a nation are we doing enough video calling in the UK? Surely we could be making more visits to our relatives from the comfort of our very own respective living rooms or even saving the planet by holding video conferences rather than taking a flight to attend one.

Internet trends of 2011

The internet is dominated by the younger generation. A statistical release produced by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) provided evidence to suggest that internet usage as a whole has hugely increased throughout 2011 (latest data available) as opposed to years previous and the majority of users in every sector of the internet is being utilised by the younger generations: social media is dominated by 16-24 year-olds, professional networking and eCommerce usage is owned by the ages of 25 to 34 and all the other sectors are predominantly used by users under the age of 65.

However, as the ONS statistical report suggests, video communication seems to have no age limit. This is not due to the lack of usage as more than one in five or 26% of internet users made either telephone or video calls online during 2011. This is quite a huge amount of people and to narrow it down yet further, this form of communication – as opposed to the others – does not seem to be dominated by any specific age groups. The pattern with age seems to be consistent throughout the age range from 16-24 right through to 65+. In fact, 17% of those internet users aged 65+ used video and tele[phone communication online during 2011 compared to 22% of users aged under 24.

This shows that not only is video communication popularity and usage on the increase, but the onus seems to be shared throughout the age range as the whole nation look to take advantage of this great yet relatively new way to communicate. The reason video calling has become so popular in recent times is clearly evident with it’s benefits:

Just a few benefits of Video Calling

Brings together families and friends

Video chat is a much more personal touch as opposed to an average telephone call conversation. Users have the ability to see movements and hand gestures, expressions and can visualise things instantly without having to portray an – often inaccurate – image within the mind. The advances in visualisation make the effectiveness of the call much greater and the underlying message of the conversation is easier to pass across. This can be the most beneficial for individuals who don’t have too much time on their hands. Family members or friends from other continents and from differing timezones can greatly benefit from video calls and being able to clearly pass a message effectively. The armed forces in particular use this form of communication as much as possible as being able to see their loved ones whilst fighting for their lives can be a huge morale boost in the face of conflict and reassures the family at home of the serviceman/woman’s safety and current conditions.

Business to business meetings

Business meetings held in video format are a much safer, cheaper and environmentally friendly alternative to travelling to and from meetings in person. There is no risk of being late and the road congestion will ease should more business meetings be held via video calling and conferencing. The ability to hos a meeting with multiple accounts in synchronisation is the biggest major benefit for business owners and it’s employees. The reduced cost in fuel and time are a huge plus as is a safer, cleaner atmosphere due to the eradication of travel pollution when taking business conferences and meetings via online video software.

Increases productivity

Teams of individuals can often be spread throughout the nation or even the world, so bringing them together for regular video meetings and conference calls ensures that teams are constantly in communication and working efficiently from the same page. Communication can often be distorted or misunderstood when the message is being passed from pillar to post and the easiest way to get the message across is by holding a conference with many attendees. Barriers regarding time and location can be diminished with ease as the only tool needed for a video meeting from anywhere in the world is an internet connection and a laptop with webcam and microphone. Video meeting attendees are more likely to stay focussed on the meeting as they subconsciously realise that they are being watched as they are in the meeting. Email communication can easily be misinterpreted and an email receiver could easily be distracted from the email with other issues happening around them. Video calling increases productivity and in today’s modern world, productivity of employees and employers has never been so important.

So to conclude, video chat, video email and video conferencing are not likely to replace the average telephone call any time soon. A need to pick up the phone or communicate via email will always be necessary as an email can be sent at any time of the day and the recipient can pick it up in their own time. Although it will never replace these ways of communicating it is safe to say that it has a – just as important – place within the market and as time goes by it is becoming more evident that this type of tool is going to be around for the foreseeable future and beyond.

About the author:

Adam Veitch writes on behalf of Tone Agency, a team of UK based web designers and developers who specialise in natural SEO from Burnley, Lancashire.