Special Feature
Part of a ZDNet Special Feature: Coronavirus: Business and technology in a pandemic

How are different industries leveraging video through the COVID-19 crisis?

As usage of video conferencing shoots through the roof, a new report from Vonage gives a glimpse into the different ways various sectors are deploying it.

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Video conferencing has become a critical tool for businesses in just about every sector in recent months, as organizations respond to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. Video usage has, not surprisingly, shot through the roof in key sectors like healthcare. A new report from Vonage gives a glimpse into just how much more various industries are using video tools, as well as the various ways businesses are using them. 

Overall, based on the communications traffic flowing through its platform, Vonage says it has seen video communications increase by 232 percent from February to March. Vonage highlighted trends in industries using the Vonage Video API, which enables organizations to embed video capabilities into existing applications. For instance, users in the healthcare sector could integrate it into existing electronic health record (EHR) platforms. 

In the health sector, overall video minutes spiked by 727 percent from February to March. According to Vonage, the industry is using video conferencing for: 

  • Telehealth apps providing remote consultations, including the remote diagnosis of potential infections and ongoing treatment 
  • Therapy sessions and substance abuse recovery meetings 
  • Online staff training and remote access to specialists
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As medical providers and patients become accustomed to it, telemedicine is likely outlast the pandemic, some in the industry say. 

"I think our patients and providers who have now been experiencing the benefits of telehealth, they won't go back to the waiting room, waiting 30 minutes for their visit and those sorts of things," Nebraska Medical CIO Brian Lancaster told ZDNet. "They're going to demand asynchronous and synchronous visits and our providers will now want to do that too because they see the value in it."

Vonage also saw a significant jump in video usage in the business services sector, where it increased by 222 percent from February to March. Use cases include: 

  • Virtual workplaces and live video meetings within apps 
  • Remote and "see what I see" customer service  
  • Remote legal, real-estate, and other industry sessions

Video usage in the media vertical jumped by 120 percent for use cases like: 

  • Live audience participation in entertainment events 
  • Broadcasting footage from geographically dispersed speakers 
  • Live video embedded within entertainment apps

Financial services saw a spike in video usage of 155 percent, with use cases including:  

  • Remote financial application consultations 
  • Financial apps with video-based services 
  • Live online support for tax preparation

Interestingly, Vonage only saw a 36 percent increase in video usage within the education sector, even though video conferencing has become a lifeline for students currently barred from their schools and universities. The sector used video conferencing for web-based instruction, providing virtual classrooms and virtual office hours, as well as one-to-one and small group tutoring.

The growth was slower than other industries, Vonage said, since the data reflects usage from dedicated education applications. Yet given how quickly educators needed to respond to school closures, many schools opted for off-the-shelf, general purpose video conferencing tools like Zoom. Vonage said that later in the year, there may be an increase in adoption of dedicated  e-learning and education applications. 

"The availability of off-the-shelf video conferencing solutions has garnered a lot of attention for remote work in recent weeks," Vonage CEO Alan Masarek said in a statement. "However, without the ability to provide embedded, programmable video functionality, these off-the-shelf solutions don't address the need most businesses have to power essential services during this public health crisis, including telehealth, distance learning, finance, fitness and so many others."