4
min read

Why You Should Start Using Asynchronous Video Collaboration Today

Remote companies are becoming more common these days, but sharing knowledge in a remote environment is not always easy.


Different asynchronous video collaboration tools available

Asynchronous video is where the communication, based on video, is not happening in real time. One person or a team records a video message (usually that video includes their voices, the screen they’re working on and sometimes their faces as captured via their webcam),  and sends it to the recipients who may be located anywhere on the planet - as long as they have an internet connection - to view it at their earliest convenience. 

So why and when should you use asynchronous video collaboration? The answer is quite simple: 

  • Why? Because communication does not necessarily equal live discussion. 
  • When? Whenever the presence of all members  is not required in real-time in order to deliver the desired outcome. 

As an example, asynchronous collaboration may not be the best fit if you want to brainstorm ideas. But if you want to provide feedback to someone, or explain to them how-to do something, then asynchronous collaboration is proving to be much more effective and productive than synchronous videos in a remote and/or distributed environment, where people work in different locations, languages and time zones.

Now that we’ve established what asynchronous video communication is and when it is a good idea to use it,  we can dive into the different types of asynchronous video tools that exist and what is important to know before choosing a solution. 

  • Single-format vs. multi-format videos - While all asynchronous video tools enable to democratize the creation of knowledge and allow for know-how to become borderless, the first distinction to be made is between point solutions that enable users to create videos in a single (and usually proprietary) format, vs. more holistic solutions that enable that option too but also offer alternative way of leveraging videos that already exist in your organization. Think of how much content you could create effortlessly if you could upload to an asynchronous knowledge-collaboration platform all the information encapsulated in videos that live in your company’s YouTube channel, or all the nuggets of knowledge you’ve shared on Zoom or Microsoft Teams recorded meetings in the course of the last couple of years. All this knowledge is vastly untapped and organizations don’t use it to its full extent. Such platforms can transform them and help unlock huge amounts of video content and make it accessible to all, regardless of their location.

  • Search-ability levels - Now that we understand that any video content - whether created from scratch on the asynchronous video platform itself or uploaded to it can be made available across an entire organization, the question is “How to make sure people know it’s there and can easily find it.” The key to this question resides in the way the knowledge platform you choose indexes the videos it holds, if at all. Here again, there are major differences between the different tools available in the market. Some point solutions won’t actually understand the content within the videos themselves and will therefore not index them in a way that makes them searchable. They may allow for basic search, based on the file names but nothing more. Other more sophisticated platforms will automatically add a full transcript of what’s being said in the video. This means that the entire content inside the transcript becomes searchable, in depth. The most advanced solutions will also apply technologies such as Optical Character Recognition (OCR) and data science, which means they will literally understand what’s being shown in the video itself, extract it from the screen and automatically tag the video. Just as an example, if you’re recording an “How-to create an opportunity in Salesforce” video, some tools will automatically index that piece of content with “Salesforce” and “Opportunity” tags. This type of functionality obviously takes the search capabilities to a whole new level. Which in turns means that it’s way easier for users to find the relevant content in such intelligent video-knowledge sharing platforms.

Asynchronous video collaboration platform - Search-ability level


  • Access flexibility - Most asynchronous video communication tools have 2 main access levels: either private or public. Meaning your content can either be watched by a specific person, or by everyone. But more advanced asynchronous video-collaboration platforms offer way more flexibility in the way the content is being shared and who has access to it. Some go as far as enabling the owner of the content to create a “collection of videos”. A collection of videos can be associated with a team, a group of people working on a project, a specific process (E.g. employee onboarding), a specific customer or a group of customers. It can include people who are internal to an organization, and/or people who are external to it. Once a video is shared in a collection of videos, all its members have access to it.

  • Pinpointed play-on-app - when choosing a knowledge-on-demand solution, it is important to understand where the videos are being watched. In most cases you’ll find out that they’re played as a random overlay over whatever place you’re at on your computer. Alternatively they’ll be embedded in the platform itself. More sophisticated solutions will offer a “play-on-app” capability which actually transports the viewer to the exact place where the creator was when the video was recorded. The video plays as an overlay directly in that location. This allows the viewer to have a direct connection to what they’re actually being shown and the task to perform, in the environment it needs to be completed.

  • Asynchronous timeframe - another aspect to consider when shopping around for asynchronous video collaboration tools, is the asynchronicity timeframe they’re a good fit for. In other words, there are cases when we use such tools for “quick async”, a bit like we use instant messaging. A small delay is fine, but we expect the content to be viewed in the coming minutes or at most 24 to 48 hours. For such a scenario, just like with a thread within slack, after a day with 20 messages you are already out of sync. But there are other use cases, which we call “long async”. Good examples for such situations is when a new process on a tool is implemented and people need to be trained about it, or when a roadmap review session occurs, or even when  a person is missing a certain session that they need to be aware of as part of their job because they’re sick, OOO or late. The information is captured today but may be consumed weeks, and in some cases even months later. That's where organized knowledge becomes even more critical and you want to make sure that the tool you use, enables you to smartly and automatically organize the content for the longer run.


What are the benefits of asynchronous video collaboration?

There are many advantages to using asynchronous video collaboration. Here are some of the key ones: 

  • It allows the recipients of the video to consume content when most convenient for them. Maybe they like to start their day with fresh feedback from their boss on a task they’ve finalized. Maybe they’d rather listen to it late at night when the kids are asleep and they can take notes? Maybe they work in a shared office and want to put the video on mute and just read the subtitles or transcript? 
  • Users can pause, accelerate, skip or rewind to understand a particular point, not to mention one of people's favorite: view content at 1.5x speed.
  • It saves time by shortening meetings or slashing them all together, reducing emails and instant messaging while keeping a very personal touch to it. After all, in most cases you’ll be listening to the voice of someone you probably know in the video. 
  • Asynchronous videos stored on sophisticated platforms help retain knowledge and make it available for future reference. While people come and go, the content remains accessible, even if its creator has left the organization. 
  • It is very critical and efficient for remote workers working away from the office in different time zones as well as in different languages. When transcripts are being added automatically and supported in many languages it means you can also easily localize the content and make it easier for people in different countries to learn the skills they need to perform in their jobs.


Conclusion

Asynchronous video-knowledge sharing tools can take collaboration to a whole new level and it’s quickly becoming a main-stream practice within organizations. It helps your pockets of tribal knowledge diffuse at scale in a systematic way and drives the knowledge absorption in a sticky fashion. In our next post, we will discuss how you can use asynchronous video collaboration effectively as well as the future trends of asynchronous video collaboration tools.


For more information visit guidde.com 


Yoav Einav

CPO and Co-founder