When Live Goes Digital, Businesses Have Opportunities To Thrive
Live video technology has grown in importance with businesses transitioning their people to work from home and consumers' behavior changing due to lockdowns and social distancing restrictions. With that in mind, how can the local SME community leverage the technology to keep connecting with their customers and to keep growing their business despite these challenging times?
While live streaming and video conferencing are relatively recent developments, these technologies have already experienced a new lease of life and become part and parcel of our everyday lives. This was not necessarily the case till perhaps even a year ago when it was still viewed as a novelty – limited to either youths who followed the live streams of their favourite social media influencers or those in the workplace who mainly used it for video conference meetings.
Now, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, this has all changed and the live streaming and video trend has reached new levels of applications and adoption. More and more big brands and small businesses are turning to live streaming on social media to connect with their customers and sell their products through platforms such as the Facebook Marketplace Community while Instagram Live and Stories has trialed the Checkout feature that allows users to browse, shop and pay for products without leaving the app. In addition to this, live commerce – a fusion of live streaming and e-commerce – is also fast transforming how people shop and providing businesses more possibilities and opportunities to survive and thrive.
The versatility of video conferencing
Once confined to the corporate jungle, live video conferencing technology has been set free from the business world wilderness and is now used in all sorts of environments. One such example is in the field of education where Singapore schools, across all levels, had to implement Home-Based Learning during the Circuit Breaker period.
This also led to an increasing number of local tuition and enrichment centres adopting live video conferencing together with interactive digital tools such as virtual whiteboards like Google's Jamboard – in order to cater to concerned parents and motivated students looking to fulfill their learning needs despite the enforced closures and limited lesson and school going time.
Even with the reopening of these education and enrichment centres, live video conferencing still proved popular as there were only a limited number of physical spaces available due to the smaller classroom sizes because of social distancing rules. In addition to this, many anxious parents would also rather their children not attend classes in-person but prefer them to learn in the safety and comfort of their own home.
Real estate, legal, finance & accountancy
Beyond remote learning, live video conferencing technology has also been used by various other industries too. From real estate agents who conduct live virtual house viewings to legal consultations, financial, wealth, and tax preparation advice, there are many possibilities that live video conference calls hold for those in the service industry.
Food & Beverage
Even F&B establishments can leverage live video conferencing to create niche experiences. For example to celebrate Father’s Day, Brewerkz, created a live virtual beer tasting event. Customers could purchase or gift a specially curated beer selection which was delivered to each recipient before the event. During the live event, customers could not only enjoy their drinks but also learn more about the various beers as well as chat with the brewers and other participants. This way, businesses can still connect with loyal patrons who would rather drink safely at home as well as attract a new clientele that’s looking for novel and different experiences.
Fitness & Wellness
Another group of people that live video technology can help are those in the fitness industry. Whether it’s a chain of gyms, fitness studios or even a personal trainer running their own business, such technology has enabled them to continue to interact and build personal relationships and workouts going with their clients. And apart from yoga classes and fitness training, live video conferencing also allows certified trainers to share value-added tips such as nutrition videos and stress release mental techniques.
Keep healthy and telemedicine on
On the subject of mental health, live video conferencing has enabled healthcare professionals such as counsellors and therapists to help their patients with their personal issues whether it be treating an existing psychological condition, dealing with relationship problems or handling work stress. Especially with the COVID-19 situation, it is more vital than ever for people to be able to talk with a professional to help with their mental wellness and well-being.
Another aspect of the healthcare industry that has benefited greatly from this technology is the practice of telemedicine, which has accelerated its adoption in Asia. By providing remote access to doctors and specialists, patients can video conference with healthcare professionals to get diagnosed, advice and treatment options as well as schedule further consultations as and when needed – all of this without putting themselves at harm's way by physically visiting clinics and being unnecessarily exposed to the virus.
As an expansion of this, Carbyne, a safety technology company, connects emergency call centres with the power of live video. Each time someone in need makes an emergency call to a centre using Carbyne's platform, they are prompted to enable a live video stream. This provides additional information to call takers and paramedics about the patient's physical well-being and location. In the context of the coronavirus, Carbyne's platform ensures effective communication while complying with widespread lockdowns can be deployed immediately and seamlessly to remotely evaluate and map coronavirus patients, as well as those quarantined, thus reducing the risk of exposure and minimising the spreading of the virus.
This move towards having greater telemedicine capabilities is especially beneficial for smaller clinics and healthcare practices who have limited resources as it puts less stress on their staff from having to worry about the possibility of transmission as well as spending less time on time-consuming tasks such as disinfecting the premises. By doing so, they are not only able to improve healthcare efficiency but more importantly enhance a patient's quality of life by providing better care to the best of their abilities.
Putting your best video face forward
Incorporating live video conferencing technology to your business operations is simpler than you might think. All you need is a laptop or PC with camera and audio capabilities, a stable internet connection, and video conferencing software. Many popular ones such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Google Meet already offer free versions which should meet your basic needs and the more you use these tools the more comfortable you will get.
Indeed, to boost connectivity and productivity, businesses can also consider subscribing to a digital collaboration business tool like G Suite, which also includes Google Meet for video meetings. This affordable solution enables employees to work faster, smarter, and better together through applications such as email, shared calendars, chat messaging, word processing, spreadsheets, a presentation builder, and cloud storage – all of which comes with in-built security and 24/7 customer support.
And as part of its "Go Digital' initiative, IMDA, working together with its industry partners, is offering SMEs laptop-bundled remote working solutions, along with resources such as digital solutions, learning resources, as well as training programmes and webinars. This is alongside other initiatives such as the Productivity Solutions Grant and Digital Resilience Bonus to help SMEs uplift their digital capabilities as they continue to keep being resilient and resourceful to emerge stronger through this challenging and unprecedented period in history.
You may be directed to third party websites. OCBC Bank shall not be liable for any losses suffered or incurred by any party for accessing such third party websites or in relation to any product and/or services provided by any provider under such third party websites.
The information provided herein is intended for general circulation and/or discussion purposes only. Before making any decision, please seek independent advice from professional advisors. No representation or warranty whatsoever in respect of any information provided herein is given by OCBC Bank and it should not be relied upon as such. OCBC Bank does not undertake any obligation to update the information or to correct any inaccuracy that may become apparent at a later time. All information presented is subject to change without notice. OCBC Bank shall not be responsible or liable for any loss or damage whatsoever arising directly or indirectly howsoever in connection with or as a result of any person acting on any information provided herein. Any reference to any specific company, financial product or asset class in whatever way is used for illustrative purposes only and does not constitute a recommendation on the same.