Well, I think we can all agree it’s been a year like no other.
Our working and social lives have changed in a way we couldn’t have foreseen at the start of 2020. Used to lifestyles that centre on coming together, we have had to adapt to keeping apart. In other ways we have never been closer; heart-warming stories of communities rallying during lockdowns and the need to change how we communicate without meeting in personhave given rise to new ways of working and socialising.
It’s been a year in which technology has played a vital role. At the beginning of this year we looked at some of the tech 2020 had in store; ironically our first prediction was its role in healthcare, but little did we know then how vital digital tech and biotech would be in creating vaccines and a ‘test and trace’ programme. The flying taxis haven’t appeared inour skies yet and presumably there won’t be much call for them while homeworking continues, but who knows what life will look like in a couple of years when they’re due to launch? We all know you have no idea what’s round the corner…
Everyday technology has pervaded our lives in the last couple of decades and this year we have come to appreciate how indispensable it now is. How would we have coped had the pandemic happened 20 years ago? There certainly wouldn’t have been any video calling, which has seen an understandable boom this year. Seeing each other has meant we’ve felt more socially connected thanif we’d had to rely on phones, and in some cases, because it removes geographical obstacles and the motivation to leave the house, video calling has meant we’ve seen each other more than usual. Perfect for family bonding (and there’s no excuse not to see those in-laws for Christmas this year…)
Another benefit of video calling is we’ve had the chance to peek into each other’s homes a bit more. Who doesn’t love a good look at colleagues’ bookshelves and ornaments? From a research point of view, this provides added context when interviewing respondents, bolstering the information we glean about people’s values and personalities. And although we can’t meet colleagues or respondents face to face at the moment, the good news is that video calling has been proven to have the same effect on our brain and happiness levels as in-person meetings.
Beyond providing connection and context, video offers a sense of immediacy and intimacy, particularly in videos recorded off the cuff or as a comment on a situation by the person making the video. Last month we looked at how people had been sharing videos of street parties and protests in response to the US election, and how similar self-made videos convey a sense of people’s values.
We also had a look this year at how digitally-based customer feedback methods have taken hold in recent years, with video-based approaches becoming increasingly popular. Video surveys have obviously become even more relevant in contact-free 2020, and participants feel at home with the technology, familiar as they now are with Zoom and other online platforms. At Plotto we are always seeking to build on what we offer to make video surveys as insightful and user-friendly as possible, and this year we introduced new developments including multiple video questions and an offline mode. Only last week we introduced an improvement that enhances the accuracy of video transcriptions in over 30 languages. With research vital in these ever-evolving times, we hope Plotto will serve you well in the coming months.
So goodbye 2020. We wish you a very happy and safe holiday season and here’s to a better time for us all in 2021.