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Uniphore a provider of Conversational Service Automation (CSA) solutions has released survey results revealing UAE consumer perspectives on the challenges and opportunities for video conversations. Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, the world has seen increased adoption of video calls in nearly every area of life. The survey identified a disconnect between the benefits of video conversations and the unintended challenges it creates.

The results also indicated a strong willingness amongst UAE consumers to adopt artificial intelligence (AI) technology to drive improvements in their experiences. When considering the rise of video calls throughout the past 18+ months, local consumers revealed a mix of both frustration and appreciation for what video conversations have to offer.

Respondents noted some clear benefits of having conversations on video including better engagement rates. When using video, a majority (74%) of respondents indicated they felt the participants ranged from somewhat, very, or extremely engaged with them. Further, 45% of participants said video calls provide them with a more meaningful connection with others. This is especially important for conversations that require empathy or trust – for example, connecting with family, telemedicine appointments, and engaging with banking institutions or financial advisors.

More than half (56%) of UAE consumers reported they spent significantly more time on video last year than in prior years. Participants admitted to doing a wide range of nonprofessional multitasking, personal tasks and other projects during video calls, including web surfing, online shopping and social media scanning.

Surprisingly, they also reported the following activities during video calls:

  • Reading social media/online news (39%)
  • Cleaning the house (37%)
  • Watching YouTube or other video streaming – 37%)
  • Shopping online (32%)
  • Going to the bathroom (31%)

When asked about the factors they dislike about conducting a video call, respondents stated boredom and that they would prefer being able to multitask during meetings (29%). Being ‘camera-ready’ was also identified as a key issue: 35% of UAE respondents dislike having to “get ready” while 29% don’t like seeing themselves on camera. Lastly, respondents noted physical and mental fatigue as a challenge with video calls – nearly one-third (33%) of respondents claimed it’s hard to feel motivated and energised and another 31% struggle to tell if others are engaged or not.

“Since the start of the pandemic we’ve witnessed the widespread adoption of video conversations across personal and professional engagements. As the survey results revealed, there is still work to do to make virtual interactions as seamless and effective as in-person conversations,” said Umesh Sachdev, CEO and co-founder of Uniphore. “There is a clear need for additional tools and capabilities to enhance higher degrees of people-to-people understanding. Through AI and automation technology, companies and business leaders can create better experiences for customers, pick up on nonverbal cues that they may have missed, and provide insights using data that is decipherable and actionable.”

While the video is being used today for many purposes, it’s clear that technology can make these video conversations more effective and enjoyable. Of note, according to the survey results, an overwhelming majority (85%) of UAE respondents said they would be open to using automation or AI tools to improve video conversations. Respondents noted they would like AI to provide engagement tips based on the analysis of emotions (43%), develop deeper connections with participants (39%), and multitask more surreptitiously (36%).

Earlier this year, Uniphore acquired two companies – Emotion Research Labs and Jacada – to further leverage video and emotion AI capabilities along with low code automation tools to improve customer experiences. Through the use of AI and machine learning, companies can enhance communication by adding the ability to better understand the engagement levels and emotions of participants and ultimately drive better business results. Uniphore is the only vendor capable of providing a complete platform including low code/no code capabilities along with best-of-breed voice and video AI and automation capabilities.

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