The Conferencing Zone

TMCnet

Conferencing Featured Article

December 28, 2012

Video Conferencing Solutions: Be Green and Save Green


By Tracey E. Schelmetic
TMCnet Contributor

While many companies rely heavily on video conferencing in their business, many more companies simply don’t believe there is a need for it. Either they believe that telephone and e-mail are perfectly sufficient to connect employees and partners at a distance, or they believe that on-site, personal visits are critical, spending a lot of money to fly employees to distant locations. Both types of organizations might be surprised to discover the benefits of visual conferencing, particularly high-quality, Web-based conferencing solutions.


For the phone/e-mail companies, the benefits are more subtle. Let’s face it…there’s only so far you can communicate via e-mail. It lacks immediacy, being a rather one-way medium, and it definitely lacks nuance and subtlety. Have you ever read an e-mail from a colleague and wondered whether it was abrupt and somewhat rude, or simply intended to be mildly funny and sarcastic? E-mail lacks inflection, tone, facial expressions, gestures and many other types of supplemental communication so easy to transfer in a visual exchange. While telephone is a little better, at least on the voice inflection end, it still eliminates facial expressions and gestures from the equation, which puts telephone meetings at a distinct disadvantage.

For companies that believe person-to-person meetings are the only way, a high-quality, Web-based video conferencing solution might be a way to save cash, employee stress and carbon emissions all at the same time. Business travel has gotten more expensive as airline tickets and fees have skyrocketed and hotels attempt to recoup higher costs in heating and utilities. And if, like many companies, you are attempting to stick to some kind of corporate sustainability program, sending your employees off to the airport at the first sign of a need for a meeting can make it difficult to stay green, according to Sustainable Business Forum. It can also make it difficult for your employees to maintain their home lives.

Video-conferencing solutions aren’t the cumbersome technologies and services they once were. (Older generations of the technology seemed to require a degree in IT to operate. This is no longer the case.) It allows companies to save time and travel while creating a more personal interaction between participants. Aside from internal meetings and meetings with suppliers or partners, video conferencing solutions can serve other needs: allow for remote video-based interviews of job candidates, for example. Video conferencing can also be used to train new employees or help instill new skills in existing employees. It can also make it easier to use remote workers, taking geography out of the equation when it comes to choosing the best candidates from the hiring pool.

While many companies adopting VC solutions in the past found that a major problem was adoption: despite the purchase of equipment, many employees simply weren’t using the solutions, today’s solutions are lower profile, easier and more intuitive to use and increasingly more standardized, so employees don’t have to read a three-inch thick manual before they can use the solution.

Regardless of which type of culture your company has, it’s worth investigating the availability of today’s modern video conferencing solutions. Even if you did so – and discarded the idea – just a few years ago, you may be surprised to find out how technologies have changed.

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Edited by Amanda Ciccatelli

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