Video messaging: A Computer Weekly Downtime upload podcast

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We speak to Vimeo’s chief product officer about asynchronous video comms

Throughout his career, Ashraf Alkarmi, chief product officer at video platform Vimeo, has had a passion for video.

“I’ve made a lot of career choices, and as I began doing more video, I realised how engaging it is and how video transforms communication,” he says. “They say a picture is worth a thousand words – imagine what moving pictures can do. Video is a powerful communication medium.”

Alkarmi previously led Facebook Watch at Meta and Amazon’s enterprise-grade streaming service. He started his tech career in set-top boxes for on-demand video and worked in the business-to-business space at Brightcove before moving into business-to-consumer video services.

Looking at technology trends, Alkarmi recognises the significant role artificial intelligence (AI) and analytics are going to play in video.

He says it will be possible to create a more immersive experience for viewers when they are able to search within a video, look at summaries and notes, or skip to a particular section where the presenter is saying something the viewer wants to find out more about.

He says AI can be used in video players to automatically insert chapters into a video, which can help viewers navigate to specific sections quickly.

What is interesting from the conversation with Alkarmi is the untapped potential of video. With budgets being cut, business owners may feel they are unable to justify travelling abroad.

There was a time, not so long ago, when people treated online video conferences as “second best” compared with attending events and meetings in person. But the Covid-19 pandemic showed the power of online video conferencing to connect people, and it is now culturally accepted as often the “best” means of holding a meeting.

While video messages may seem a bit cheesy for some people, Alkarmi believes such asynchronous video may become a normal part of business communications. For instance, it is easier to demonstrate or showcase a new product using a pre-recorded video than attempt a live demonstration online. The only factor is whether the intended audience will download the content in a timely manner, which requires a cultural shift.

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