Everything changed in 2020; we now work, learn, meet, and connect over video conferencing at home. Work culture would likely have transitioned organically to remote working over the next ten years, but COVID-19 accelerated the shift and removed the stigma of the home office almost overnight. Now 42 percent of the American labor force is working from home full-time, trying to find the best way to continue human-centric communication with face-to-face video conferencing.
Video conferencing, one of the most important tools of 2020, wasn’t up to the challenges of privacy, security, and simplicity that the whole world suddenly demanded. The pandemic shifted all our most important conversations — personal and professional — to video conferencing, where the privacy rules that apply to traditional phone calls don’t exist. Our video conferencing calls are not protected, and we are being tracked. Think of all the sensitive information that used to be discussed in person during financial updates and board meetings, which are now being done over unprotected and vulnerable video conferencing software. The Federal Trade Commission weighs in that “No conferencing service can guarantee the security of your information,” and privacy policies are vague, leaving the door open for your data to be shared — the breaches have been endless.
The future of video conferencing isn’t just a COVID-19 phenomenon. With some companies saving an average of $11,000 annually per telecommuting employee, there will continue to be a huge push for the option to work and meet remotely, even in a post-pandemic society. Because of the need for face-to-face connection, 75% of CEOs think that audio calls will be replaced entirely with video conferencing. This growing market is projected by some to be $50 billion by 2026. With video conferencing being the future of how businesses and communities will operate, there needs to be a video conferencing option where we can feel safe and secure having the conversations that make our world work.
There are well-known video conferencing platforms that took off at the beginning of the pandemic because they offer free ways to connect, but one tech blogger notes that “concerns about meeting security and data encryption may mean they’re not a good fit for your team.” Security improvements have been made, but your data still isn’t yours. “Unless you’re discussing state or corporate secrets, or disclosing personal health information to a patient,” these platforms should be fine. Translated: if we don’t care about protecting our data or conversations, then other video conferencing platforms that aren’t guaranteeing our privacy and security will work.
There is a saying in big tech that if you aren’t paying for the product, you are the product. The global release of the Netflix documentary and phenomenon The Social Dilemma (2020) laid out clearly what many of us were already suspicious of — big tech has been creating free addictive platforms to mine our data. We created ARC to solve the video conferencing dilemma of needing a private, secure communication platform. Video conferencing is how our businesses, schools, communities, and churches are still functioning, but we don’t feel safe having important conversations on many of the existing video conferencing platforms.
The problems we are facing in a virtual world have brought clarity to why we at ARC exist: to deliver the simplicity and functionality that our teams, students, and organizations desperately need, without having to sacrifice our privacy and security. At the end of the day, you can know your data and conversations are safe with ARC. We don’t have vague privacy policies that expose personal information. It’s simple, safe, and secure — no one is listening to your conversation or mining your data.