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Why You Should Be Paying Attention To Audio/Video Sharing

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February 28, 2017

Have you heard of "live chilling"? According to the Wall Street Journal, teens are using video conferencing apps like House Party at an increasing rate – to the point where they now officially spend more time hanging out with their friends online than they do in person.

If you think that Generation Z is the only demographic being affected by the evolution of audio/video features, you're wrong. From social media apps to enterprise mobility, every type of web product out there is taking advantage of their capabilities. Audio & video sharing enables communities from all different backgrounds to converge in a more effective and enjoyable way. The combined result has been a boom in the communications and collaboration market, which Global Market Insights projects to reach $96 billion by 2023.

Don't believe us? Let's take a look at a couple of case studies from the first two months of 2017.

Case Study #1: WhatsApp
Just this past Monday, Facebook released a WhatsApp update that specifically targets video sharing – so much so that industry experts are predicting it to consume some of Snapchat's share in the lucrative mobile app messaging market.

Once they download the update, users can share photos, videos and GIFs through a new status feature. Just like Snapchat and Instagram Stories, users can overlay their status updates with drawings, emojis, and/or captions. Yet another thing that the new update shares with Snapchat and Instagram Stories is that WhatsApp status updates must be shared within 24 hours, after which time they disappear. The new update is protected by WhatsApp's famous end-to-end encryption.

WhatsApp Source: Express Newspapers

This fundamental change to the WhatsApp user experience shows how much value Facebook sees in video sharing technology. Since its launch, WhatsApp has been focused almost entirely on text-based chatting. Now that users are encouraged to engage with new and diverse forms of content, the app's already enormous success is set to expand exponentially in the coming months.

Snapchat, a social media app dedicated to video chatting, will be the hardest hit by Facebook's strategic move. As a result of the company's introduction of Instagram Stories last August, TechCrunch reported that Snapchat's original Stories feature see a 20-30% decline in views by mid-January. The takeaway here is that audio/video sharing is both a competitive advantage and a necessary feature for modern social apps. Those who incorporate it will maintain relevance in consumers' eyes – but only the apps who truly capture their potential will see extraordinary ROI.

Do you have any social networking case studies to share? Leave us a message and let us know.

Case Study #2: Google Hangouts
In January, Google announced an update of its own video/audio conferencing app, Google Hangouts. The update was said to cater more to business collaboration through facilitated group chatting. Specifically, the update simplifies the creation of group chats through Gmail and the Chrome extension.

Gmail users will now see a "+" button beside their Hangouts contact list, while users of the Chrome extension can make use of the "New Conversation" button that allows you to start a group, name it, and add members easily. Although open to all Hangouts users, the new feature was specifically designed to help business users create conversations quickly and thus work on collaborative projects more effectively.

The new update proves that video/audio sharing isn't just for your everyday consumer – it's a valuable enterprise mobility tool. Google Hangouts is an excellent basic video sharing service that's great to have at hand. However, the true advantage in video/audio chatting lies in custom web apps tailored to your organization's needs. From desktop sharing to advanced text chatting tools, custom web app development enables you to find the solutions that maximize operational efficiency of how your employees collaborate.

To discuss what the ideal solution looks like for your company, get in touch and chat with one of BluEnt's professional developers today.

At this point, hopefully, we've convinced you that video/audio sharing is a valuable asset for almost any variety of user experience. However, it's important to acknowledge the difference between its use in the workplace and in casual conversation. It can be tricky to learn the etiquette of video/audio chatting in a corporate environment. Thus, for those in business settings, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  1. When joining a video conference, always plan to arrive at least 5 minutes early to allow for any technical difficulties.
  2. As a general rule, choose video chatting over audio chatting unless there is a specific reason to do otherwise. (Virtual) face-to-face communication allows for a more personal connection and thus a more productive meeting.
  3. A specific case where turning off your video feed is expected is when a video conference is centered around a presentation rather than a general discussion. This helps keep the attention on the person screen sharing or making important points that need to be aired without interruption.
  4. Even though it's natural to stare at a person's face in the middle of your screen while video sharing, try to look into the camera to simulate eye contact when you're speaking.
  5. If someone else is speaking during an audio conference call, it may be helpful to mute your own audio to ensure that you don't disturb their speech with background noise.
  6. That said, do your best to find a spot with good lighting (for video sharing) and a lack of noise (for audio sharing). Although a simple step, it shows consideration for the other people on the call and greatly improves their overall experience.

Now that you understand the phenomenon of audio/video sharing, it's time to take action. BluEnt has years of experience creating mobile and web app solutions come to life for our clients, particularly in the field of audio & video chatting tools. Give us a call to learn more about how we're leading the movement towards a more collaborative, engaging digital world. Maximum Value. Achieved.

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