Imagine this: Two colleagues are emailing about an idea for an upcoming project. They’re on a roll, so they switch to a phone call. The ideas keep flowing but they want to share examples of what they’re discussing. To do that, however, they need to end the phone call and schedule a video meeting. With that break in the action, they each get distracted by other work and ultimately schedule a video meeting for later in the day. When they finally do reconvene, they struggle to recall some of their earlier conversations, and the momentum of their ideas stalls.
Keeping the momentum of a conversation going is crucial when it comes to building new ideas. Unfortunately, communications and collaboration technology—separate tools and apps for calling, team messaging, and online meetings—hasn’t always helped. While cloud technology made those tools easier to use, for the most part, each technology remained separate, which means teams still struggle to build momentum and maintain the context of conversations as they escalate their discussions from one mode to another.
More recently, though, integrated solutions have started to bring each of these communications and collaboration tools together into a tightly connected solution that makes it possible to switch between these different modes—sometimes with just a single click—regardless of what device you’re using.
RingCentral, which pioneered cloud communications technology and now boasts more than 400,000 customers worldwide, was one of the first companies to bring an integrated suite of communications and collaboration tools to market with its Office portfolio and RingCentral app, which combines messaging, video, and phone into one solution for mobile and desktop.
Because of that integration, RingCentral Office® already gave users the ability to switch from a text conversation to a video meeting with just a click of a button. A new feature of Office called Call to Video, however, takes that integration a step further, allowing users to switch from a voice call to a video call with screen share, also with one click.
Essentially, with the RingCentral solution, all different types of communications blend into one where users can toggle between them in seconds. A particularly handy feature of the RingCentral Call to Video capability is that it works for both internal calls within the company and external calls.
Not only does this tight integration maintain the momentum we discussed earlier, but it also preserves one very important element of effective communication—context. Take the example we discussed earlier one step further. What if our two colleagues started with a messaging conversation in RingCentral, and they wanted to add a few more people to the conversation? Quickly inviting them to their messaging group allows the newest colleagues to view the entire history of the conversation, complete with links and attached files.
Let’s say they then want to switch to a phone call. One click and everyone’s on the call. But maybe they want to share screens and expand the conversation even further. One click (on mobile or the desktop app) and everyone’s on a video call with screen sharing, annotation, and the ability to record the discussion.
And they can then enter the emails of any new colleagues to immediately invite them to that video call. They can also simultaneously invite the new attendees to their team messaging group, where the new members also get up to speed quickly.
The integration of each piece means context follows the conversation. Without it, each time you switch communication modes and add colleagues, you’ll have to stop to explain the history of the conversation to the newest members. Ten minutes here and 15 minutes there can really add up.
How do phone calls and video calls work together today?
Phone and video don’t work well together in most solutions today due to the disconnect between the two functions. Some solutions lack an integrated way of directly switching from phone to video, creating problems with productivity. Independent solutions work fine, but you lose the ability to switch between the three modes of communication. To have the most effective level of communication, ideally messaging, video, and phone, would work tightly together.
In addition to bringing these three essential communication tools together in one solution, RingCentral integrates with other important applications across your business’s needs, such as CRM software and popular productivity tools from Microsoft and Google.
Why is video calling an essential communication tool?
As teams grow increasingly remote, building strong work relationships can be a major challenge. Traditionally, offices fostered those relationships via face-to-face conversations around water coolers and meeting rooms where colleagues could easily socialize. In a remote environment, however, teams don’t have that convenience, making it easy for employees to become siloed and isolated.
Calling alone won’t be enough to build those same relationships. Studies show that 93% of communication comes from nonverbal cues, with only 7% of what we mean actually expressed through words. From reading facial expressions to body language, face-to-face interactions are critical to teamwork.
The only way for remote and distributed teams, who often span different time zones, to effectively collaborate is through video. Being able to see coworkers—whether to work together on projects or simply catch up—allows employees to see and be seen, building the bonds that make work relationships flourish. In fact, 87% of remote employees agree that video conferencing helps them feel more connected to their colleagues.
By combining video conferencing, team messaging, and phone into a single platform, organizations make remote collaboration easy and ensure employees have the tools to work productively.
Learn more about how RingCentral helps bridge the communication gap here.
Originally published Aug 14, 2020, updated Aug 31, 2020