On average, 11 million meetings are held in the US each day! That adds up to 55 million a week, 220 million a month and well over a billion a year! This total is just for meetings held in the United States! Imagine what the global total would be!!
With so many of these meetings now being held at a distance over video, it’s increasingly important that we understand how to create the video meeting environment so that both the organisers and the attendees will gain the most from them. These days, getting people together for a meeting can be a task in itself, so they need to be the most productive that they can be.
Good participant engagement is key to video meeting success
Sadly, there is very little academic research out there about the human factors at work specifically in video conferencing calls. However, we have managed to unearth two unusually relevant research papers that deal with the impact of non-verbal clues which, if accommodated correctly in the technical design of the room system, can greatly improve participant engagement and produce better video meeting outcomes. Three important factors that the research identifies are:
- Establishing good eye contact
- Supporting spatially faithful eye contact
- Ensuring correct framing to properly present body language
So, while these two studies by the University of California, Berkeley are eight years old, we found them both really interesting and still highly relevant particularly to modern-day huddle room design.
MultiView: Improving Trust in Group Video Conferencing Through Spatial Faithfulness (David T. Nguyen, Accenture Technology Labs & John Canny Berkeley Institute of Design University of California, Berkeley)
This study looked at the difference in the creation of trust in participants between single-camera, single-codec and multi-camera, multi-stream views of the same room and assumes good eye contact in both cases.
Extract: “The (second) result shows that using a spatially faithful video conferencing system helps improve the trust formation process. Groups meeting through directional video conferencing cooperated more than groups who met through standard video conferencing systems and were more resilient in their cooperation in the face of temptation.
For all our measures of trust, there was no measurable difference in cooperative behavior between groups meeting face-to-face and groups meeting through (a spatially faithful) video conferencing.”
More than Face-to-Face: Empathy Effects of Video Framing (David T. Nguyen, Accenture Technology Labs & John Canny Berkeley Institute of Design University of California, Berkeley)
This paper studied the effect of framing in video conferencing and the impact on effective communication when excluding body language cues and presented guidelines for conferencing systems that preserve both gaze and body language cues.
Extract: “Non-verbal communication has proved to be a powerful framework for understanding the video medium. Systems that are careful to preserve important non-verbal cues provide face-to-face-like experiences, while those that do not are measurably inferior to face-to-face.”
The Panacast 2 Camera
The PanaCast 2 is the world’s first 180° Panoramic-4K Plug-and-Play USB video camera. It creates a high degree of eye contact and maintains a spatially-faithful view to the far end but using only a single camera and single stream and, when using reasonably large format displays, gaze direction is communicated correctly.
The PanaCast 2 camera not only maintains a spatially-faithful view to the far end, but the new feature of Intelligent Zoom employs advanced video analytics to ensure that room participants are properly and automatically framed so that upper-body language cues are always visible. Intelligent Zoom is a background, dynamic capability that adjusts automatically to participants moving position or joining and leaving the room mid-call.