When Stanley Kubrick’s groundbreaking sci-fi movie 2001: A Space Odyssey debuted, people were convinced that in the 21st century telephony will be about video calls. Although we haven’t found the monolith that started all life yet, this particular vision of the movie actually came true. Many of us do use video feeds for calls, allowing people to not only hear one another but to see each other as well.
Yet when it comes to VoIP, which is more than capable of video calls among many other things, the majority of calls are still voice only. How can the supposed successor coexist with a technology that was supposed to be deemed obsolete? To answer that question, we need to look behind the scenes to learn the individual merits of both communication methods and how they should be used in the most professional way possible.
Strengths and Weaknesses
There is no denying that in the world of business, it’s voice calls that are the backbone of communication with clients – and for a good reason. All it takes is for a desk phone to be configured or to join the company’s phone system via a dedicated app and it’s already possible to start placing and receiving calls wherever and whenever you want. In addition to that, voice calls barely use any data, making them ideal for longer conversations involving two or three parties on cable and wireless networks alike.
However, due to the lack of a video feed, voice calls aren’t recommended for conferencing purposes. And since you only have to concentrate on speaking, it’s easier to get distracted by the things around you. There’s also a potential chance that, without the natural facial expressions of normal conversation, some misunderstanding could arise.
The greatest advantage of video calls is in the name itself: parties can see and hear each other, making the call more personal. Since people are virtually present, video conversations are perfect for conferencing purposes, especially in cases where the multiple people within the same office or department are required and/or the organizer of the call needs to share documents or slides with participants.
Unfortunately, equipment and quality of internet are the things that hinder video calls from fully replacing voice-only conversations. To ensure an undisturbed experience, not only does the connection have to be perfect – which automatically excludes video calls over mobile data – but you need devices that are equipped with a microphone and a camera, too. And we haven’t even mentioned that video calls require certain etiquette to be considered, since they can be considered virtual conferences where proper behavior and professional appearance is a must.
How to Professionally Use Voice and Video Calls
Having both voice and video call functions available simultaneously is a huge advantage, since it allows businesses to select the call type that best fits either their own needs or those of their clients. However, being able to switch between the two communication methods isn’t enough; to use them in a professional manner there are a few tricks to be learned:
Voice for Voice, Video for Video
Since VoIP provides both voice-only and video calls for its users, the most logical decision is to use the same communication method as the other callers. Simply put, if the caller doesn’t want to be seen, stick to a phone conversation, but if a video feed is requested then that’s the option to go for.
However, there may be instances where establishing a video feed is a hindrance for some reason. Should that occur and it’s obvious that it isn’t a technical error, then explain why you cannot be seen and – if the other person requires a video feed no matter what – then offer another way of making the conversation work.
From Voice to Video and Vice Versa
Many VoIP solutions have an option called call flipping with which calls can be transferred to another device. This is particularly useful in situations where two or more parties start a conversation with one method but wish to switch to another, perhaps flipping to video from voice or the other way around. It’s more effective to have the call on a device that supports the video call functionality from the get-go, though, such as with a desktop/mobile softphone or a desk phone with a camera such as the Cisco IP Phone 8845.
No Videos on the Streets
Though it may seem convenient to be able to take a video call while on the go, it’s something that should be avoided at all cost. Remember that videos use up more data traffic, not to mention that focusing on the screen instead of looking ahead could easily end in a nasty accident. And if the call is with important clients, the added distractions, noise or poor-quality video could affect their attitude towards you and your business.
Best VoIP Systems of 2020
|Editor's Choice 2020|