Study: The Benefits of Video Conferencing May Be Hindered by Technology Glitches

Posted on January 7, 2014

A recent study published on the PLOS ONE website suggests that technology hiccups create a sense of disconnect and hurt the emotional connection with the person on the other end. Benefit of Video Conferencing

This revelation speaks volumes to the way that organizations conduct business and the technology they use.

Sebastian Video ConferencingThere are various free “video conferencing” solutions on the market for organizations to use, but the technical glitches and pauses may actually do more harm than good when it comes to building that face-to-face relationship.

The Research

The researchers, who were funded by a grant from the Google Research Awards, hypothesized that “the degree to which conversations flow smoothly or not is, of itself, a cue to solidarity.” In other words, the ease of which a conversation happens helps create comradery and emotional bonds.

To test this theory, they set up a series of calls between two people. The study participants were instructed to talk to their assigned partner about the holidays for five minutes. Some calls were interrupted. While a one-second auditory delay was assigned to some of the calls where only half of the participants were aware of the intended delay.

According to Megan Edwards from PLOS ONE:

Researchers found that those participants whose conversations were interrupted expressed significantly diminished feelings of unity and belonging. Awareness of technical problems had no apparent effect on perceived solidarity. Even acquaintances stated that they felt a disconnect, though to a lesser degree, than participants who did not know each other. Despite participants expressing that they felt less unity and belongingness with their partner even when they had the opportunity to attribute it to technical problems, technology did not get a free pass on the delayed signal. Those with an interrupted connection also expressed less satisfaction with the technology. Points may have been lost for both relationships and telecommunications.

Making the Investment

Organizations invest quite a bit of time and/or money to improve communication among employees. There is no sense in derailing that progress by cutting corners on the technology they use to communicate with.

A trustworthy video conferencing system will allow all parties involved to conduct business in an uninterrupted environment with a crystal-clear picture.

For more video conferencing benefits, check out our recent blog, “10 Reasons Video Conferencing is Better Than a Conference Call.”

Is your organization ready to invest in enhanced communication tools? Download our Free Video Conferencing 101 guide to get the research process started.