I was shaking in my boots (with excitement) to hear from Zoom for our LAVNCH WEEK UCC Day keynote. Zoom has been in the news a lot recently, but a lot of us think the platform has done a fantastic job of responding to criticism about its security measures, then directly addressing them with timeliness and humility.
Quick aside: If you missed LAVNCH WEEK UCC Day, we’re recapping all the live presenter sessions for you here on rAVe [PUBS]. We also encourage you to go ahead and get on the list for LAVNCH 2.0, which will be held the week of June 22 this year.
The session began with a personalized introduction from the Zoom CEO himself — Eric Yuan. His note to the AV community watching live for UCC Day teed up the day’s topic, “The Future of Virtual Collaboration.” Yuan’s message was humble and to the point: While he apologized for not being able to give the keynote himself as planned this morning, Yuan told us we were in great hands with his replacement presenter, Harry Moseley, global chief information officer of Zoom.
He was right.
Life Before COVID-19
Before the bulk of the keynote today (the Q&A discussion), Moseley gave us his freshest take on the highlights in UCC, with a brief but relevant overview of the latest trends we need to be aware of. For instance, Global Workforce released a study in late February with some Gartner statistics: Take a look at these stats around how much work is already done remotely:
But then what happened? Coronavirus.
Moseley says he’s on week nine of working from home, and, like many, it felt like teams moved from on-premise to off-premise in the blink of an eye. Suddenly, every organization woke up one morning and said, “Everyone’s going to have to work from home. How are we going to do that?” with no prep, no training and no plan.
Life During COVID-19
He makes a good point: Most of the work we did from home before (or, at least for me) was a little bit of email, tying up loose ends, etc. But that all changed overnight. Communications moved from one-to-one to one-to-many. We learned to use personal tools for business and business tools for personal use. Many immediately found it difficult to manage their kids, work and life, all while working longer hours.
A point on one of Moseley’s slides read, “Managers had to develop new skills – managing virtual workers … virtually!!!” Truth.
Y’all, I have to say that what happened next was one of the most ironic, comical and beautifully appropriate things I’ve seen in a live presentation since this. As Moseley transitioned over to his next slide, with the exact copy, “Kids, pets and distractions in the background are a new normal and no longer frowned upon,” Moseley had to step away — his dog, a puppy — started chewing on something in the room in the middle of his presentation. It was such a good, human moment (happening live during our session, mind you), and it enlightened his response when he was able to come back and sit down: “This is the real world,” he added.
After a quick, 30-second pause to let the dog out, Moseley returned and continued. “This is not only a little comical but it’s real life,” Gary Kayye added.
I promise we did not stage that.
Moseley says he’s talked to many people about the current “progress report” and where we are 60 days in. By and large, he’s found that everybody has come closer to finding the right balance between work and personal. While we can feel like we’re working all the time, Moseley says, working from home is really no different from working from the office from a disciplinary perspective — you still have to get up, get dressed and “go to work.” On working virtually and securely, though, it’s an added challenge that everybody’s now working from home — in AV/IT, we don’t know what their networks or backups are like at home. Maintaining security in a virtual world will become a relevant, interesting challenge.
Life After COVID-19
We then heard Moseley’s perspective on “life before corona versus life after corona.” Here were some of his main points:
- We will not go back to the “old normal”
- We will not be going back to the outside world in mass — companies will need to take a phased approach
- Some employees will choose not to go back to the office and will want to stay remote
- Some jobs will no longer need to be performed in the office
- Companies will have to evolve to a new hybrid model
- We will need to learn new ways to be productive and communicate effectively in this new hybrid model
Many employees have figured out how to work from home and collaborate virtually (plus, no commuting!) and are finding that they actually like it and want to continue doing so. And employers have seen how people are actually productive working from home. While some jobs will need to go back to the office, the landscape is forever changed.
Questions to Explore
The remainder of the session was an in-depth Q&A between the viewers of UCC Day of LAVNCH and Moseley, facilitated by Gary Kayye. Discussions led to topics around BYOM (bring your own meeting vs. RBMs (room-based meetings); how Zoom has shifted priorities and goals (has Zoom had time to reset, or is it just drinking from a fire hose to keep up?); and UCC applications like Zoom in higher education.
There was even talk of a budding idea, voiced by Moseley: an education-focused industry council at Zoom to identify the things that are important to educational applications that may not be important to other sectors. As HETMA said, where do we sign up?
Viewers asked tough but poignant questions: How do we, as an industry, connect people who are on-prem and off-prem past just adopting Zoom, thinking about adoption, security, etc.? What are the steps to getting there? Will there be more interoperability between conferencing platforms? How will platforms like Zoom handle the divide between enterprise-level clients and consumer clients on the integration side?
In addition to the great insight and advice given by Harry Moseley of Zoom today, these are all questions we will just have to see shake out.
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