A less intrusive interface offers the possibility of persistent video communications.
As teleworking explodes around the world in response to the coronavirus crisis, the demand for video calls has increased dramatically. But despite the fact that video conferencing software is now more reliable and easier to use than ever before, setting up and attending a video conference can still seem intrusive and somewhat complicated.
Typically, workers need to turn their full attention to a discussion with one or more colleagues, and the video chat client takes over the entire computer screen. While this makes sense for important meetings, it also sets a higher bar for more casual interactions and makes it more difficult to take notes or share focus between video chat and other applications.
This week, a startup has started Around has unveiled its video chat software, which features a less invasive interface and could provide a way to enable «always active» video for remote workers.
Around uses AI-based camera framing to detect a participant’s head, tracking them as they move as they cut out their background. It also automatically turns off background noise to prevent other unwanted distractions. The application, available for Windows, Mac and the web, will eventually be sold under a freemium license model when it launches; May request early access here . (A Linux version is still working.)
One blog post on environment On Wednesday, Around CEO CEO Dominik Zane said the app allows users to focus on getting the job done, allowing them to collaborate on tasks as a focus of discussions.
«[Nosotros] I took a video and made it like. registration «, wrote. «Less traditional, less formal, less voluminous, even less realistic. Less about the appearance of people’s faces on a 70-inch HD TV, more about concentration and action . There is a quick session around to power all the applications of the future of work. It is enough to be present, but leave room for what is important: the task at hand. «
While Around isn’t specifically billed as a «always on» video platform, it has the potential for low-level ubiquitous interactions with continuous video streams that connect colleagues throughout the day.
The concept of video is always active it existed for a while , with companies that want to connect workers in different locations and allow them to engage in impromptu conversations. Sneek is another example; allows users to easily initiate a video call with a coworker by clicking on a «static» photo that is updated regularly, thus avoiding constant recording and streaming.
The always-on video could help alleviate some of the challenges facing teleworkers, such as decoupling from colleagues and company-wide initiatives, said Raúl Castañón-Martínez, an analyst at 451 Research. «Implementing ‘always on’ video meetings could help organizations address this issue by reducing the communication gap for remote teams or teams that include a mix of remote and office workers,» said Castañón-Martínez.
Undoubtedly, there are disadvantages in terms of the video always on. In addition to the user’s possible resistance to a constant video uplink, there are technical and security considerations. As the number of remote workers increases, for example, more pressure is put on the internet’s bandwidth.
«Technical issues will need to be addressed to ensure that bandwidth is not a limitation on service delivery; it will also require security features, such as an automatic screen saver that activates when users are not active, for privacy and security, ”said Castañón-Martínez.