Async video messaging: Another route to productive remote work

Video meetings proved crucial for connecting remote workers during the Covid-19 pandemic, replicating face-to-face conversations even when offices were shuttered. But these real-time communications have drawbacks, too, with remote workers facing schedules packed with back-to-back video meetings and trying to catch colleagues who may be several time zones away.

As a result, a growing number of collaboration software vendors are now touting “asynchronous” (or async) video messaging as an option to help make workplace communication less demanding. The idea is that rather than scheduling a video call, colleagues can pre-record a short video (or audio) message to send to colleagues who can watch the clip whenever it’s convenient. This is particularly useful for distributed teams in different time zones, avoiding the need to arrange meetings at awkward times, and for staffers with flexible schedules.

Video messaging vendors cite several ways async messages can be used: it’s to possible request feedback on a project, celebrate team “wins,” or share status updates without everyone being present at the same time. Video messages can also serve as a “knowledge content repository,” allowing training videos to be viewed by new hires, for example.

“What we’re seeing are more micro-opportunities for groups to maintain group situational awareness,” said Mike Gotta, research vice president at Gartner. “Asynchronous messaging gives us another option…. Rather than have my team be online to have a five-minute huddle and break, I can just post a message saying: ‘This is our status’ and then kick it off.”

Already in use by consumers, async video features for the workplace arrive seemingly every week. Slack began rolling out its Clips feature last month; it lets users send short video, audio, and screenshare recordings to colleagues. And Cisco recently unveiled VidCast, which provides similar functionality.

Cisco VidCast Cisco

Cisco’s recently unveiled VidCast.

The list is growing: Zoom, GoToMeeting, and Dropbox all announced video messaging features in recent weeks, and work management apps Asana and Trello added similar functionality to their platforms via third-party apps earlier this year. Numerous startups are tackling async video too. They include Loom, a video messaging startup that has received over $200 million in funding since launching in 2016, with 12 million users; Claap; easyUp; Supernormal; and Weet — to name just a few.

Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.

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