TMCnet Feature
September 15, 2021

De-fragmenting Virtual Communications

Raviv Nadav, CEO,
Kino by Kinetx, Co

Virtual workforce management and remote engagement has skyrocketed during the pandemic – and is showing no signs of receding from the workforce.

However, fragmented conversations and less-than-ideal technologies create shortfalls in truly connected conversations through these platforms. 

The Love/Hate of Virtual Meeting Spaces

What we love about virtual meeting spaces should be fairly obvious: They allow us to gather a lot of people into one “place” despite geographic distance and/or lockdown restrictions. They give us a way to stay connected in an increasingly fragmented “workplace.” They help us work together and stay productive.

The tech of keeping people connected has overcome extraordinary challenges during the pandemic to help people manage communications, improve team cohesiveness, and boost morale.

In fact, according to PwC, over half (52%) of managers in January 2021 said average employee productivity has improved vs. 44% who said the same in June 2020. Less than one in five executives want to return to the office as it was pre-pandemic.

And Pew found that 65% of people say that video conferencing and instant messaging platforms are actually a good substitute for in-person contact.

So, why do we still groan at the thought of another video call?

Hint: It’s Still a “Call”

One of the key issues with video conferencing is that it’s still basically a phone call. Not in a technical sense, but in the sense that it’s still bound by the same rules as the telephone.

What’s wrong with that?

Well, how many times have you avoided making a phone call? How many times have you thought, or said to a co-worker, “that could’ve been an email?”

If the underlying reason for using video conferencing is that you want people to be able to connect on a personal level, get to know one another, and form bonds and associations to help teams work better together, most video conferencing platforms have limitations that get in the way of those goals.

The format is very uni-directional. You may be able to see everyone on a call, if you’re lucky and the moderator has set it up that way, and you may be able to break in with a comment. Often, you can only see the person who is currently speaking.

Let’s Get More Personal

This isn’t how we relate to each other in person. Sitting around a conference table, we can arch a knowing eyebrow at a team member, elbow the guy sitting next to you if he starts snoring, pass a note to someone, or simply wave a hand to grab someone’s attention or break in with a thought. In the office, we can wander from our desks to ask a question in person, chat over coffee, or share some gossip. All of those types of human interaction underpin how we get to know each other, how we form connections, how we learn who we can count on, etc.

Pandemic Protocol and the Need for Something More Personal

We first noticed this disconnect during the pandemic, while trying to socialize via video calls. It was a lonely and frustrating experience, so Kinetx Co. came up with Kino in an effort to virtually bring people together in a more natural-feeling platform.

Kino is what we call a "video space" meant to replicate a real-life room environment. By using our focus feature, participants can “step aside” to interact with a smaller group without detaching from the larger gathering.

Others in the video space outside of the focused conversation are “backgrounded” -- visible in smaller tiles and their audio is set to 5% so the focused group participants can hear their conversation clearly.

This setting allows multiple participants to have simultaneous conversations in a given moment. This also make remote engagement more office-like, where you can have "water cooler" moments with your teammates for a good laugh or a quick chat.

The point of Kino is to let people interact naturally, moving through a Kino get-together as you would in person. We pride ourselves on bringing a human experience to the otherwise very flat platform of conventional video conferencing.

We like to think that this will become the norm, so that no matter where you are, you can connect virtually in a way that feels like you’re actually there.

About the Author

Raviv Nadev is CEO/Founder and Chief Solutions Architect of Kino by Kinetx Co, platform for virtual conversations that feel personal. He is a strong believer in IT solutions that support human connection.

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