Archive for May, 2011

Web & Video Conferencing Technology: Five Great Reasons to Start Utilizing Online Meetings Now

Several years ago I was in a computer store and a salesman was trying to sell me something, in fact, he was trying to sell me anything that he could. I said that I had the latest computer and really didn’t need anything more. Then he showed me a web camera and I thought for a few seconds, but I really couldn’t figure out why I would need that gadget.

Now things have changed and that salesman could get the sale from me, because the time is right to start conducting online web and video conferences. Here are a few reasons why the age of web conferencing has truly arrived:

1. Transportation costs are rising and web conferencing is one way to conduct meetings without getting into a car or plane.

Imagine how much money you could save if you were able to hold a staff meeting with your distant branches without paying for fuel, hotels and all the other costs associated with outside meetings?

2. The cost of conducting a meeting outside a main office is much higher than you can calculate by only adding up the material costs.

When you leave your office or home, you have to put everything aside and subject yourself to delays in traffic, airports, trains and taxis. Sure, you can take your laptop with you, but are you really as productive using a laptop in a busy airport as you are while you are in your own office? Web conferencing allows you to get back to your other work as soon as the online conference ends.

3. Web conferencing allows you to meet face-to-face with your colleagues no matter where they are.

Globalization is not just a slogan. Business, educational and social organizations are now working in increasingly wider networks which are spread throughout the world. If you have clients, employees, representatives or students in another country or in a distant location, think how convenient it would be to be able to turn on your computer and hold a meeting with them. Well, this is not a distant dream, it is possible right now using existing web and video conferencing technology

4. Online conferencing allows you to give support and help to clients without sending out a technician or a representative.

If you are selling a product or service that must be supported, then think of the improvement in customer relations and reduction in costs that you could achieve if you could effectively meet online with your client. Today’s conferencing technology even allows your staff to “take over” the computer of a client and demonstrate how an application works.

5. Video and web conferencing is now extremely affordable, easy to use and very functional.

Gone are the days of proprietary systems and cameras. Today you can use standard PCs and inexpensive web cameras to conduct your meetings. The online meetings do not require equipment or software that is not already found in most offices. In addition, several companies now offer conferencing services at a price that even individuals and small organizations can afford.

If you need to hold meetings, or meet with staff and colleagues who work in far-flung locations then you should consider online conferencing. The spread of online meetings could change the way we all work, just as the widespread adoption of email did fifteen years ago.

I use and highly recommend GVO Conference Video Conferencing Software. Take time when choosing a provider GVO Conference Video Conference Software is my recommendation.

Video Conferencing Return on Investment

For more than a decade video-conferencing has been available in various guises. Until relatively recently most solutions used bonded ISDN lines, as internet connections did not provide sufficient, reliable bandwidth. With the advent of ADSL, though, came cheap, high speed internet access for all. Good quality video conferencing can work with as little as 384kbps of bandwidth – and even the most basic ADSL products offer 512kbps upstream!

‘This is all well and good’, I hear your cry, ‘but why should you invest in this technology? It’s expensive isn’t it?’ – Let’s do some basic calculations:

Let’s say you have offices in London and Manchester, there are 6 people in the sales teams at each office and that they meet up at either office once a month. Let’s also assume that they have an environmental conscience and go two-to-a-car; and that they are all dedicated employees happy to work an 11 hour day to avoid you incurring the cost of hotel rooms for the night:

3 cars x 207 miles x 2 ways x £0.40 per mile allowance = £496.80 per meeting
12 meetings per year = £5961.60

Let’s also take into account the time wasted while travelling, assuming a basic salary of £20k:

6 people x 2 ways x 3.5 hours (a conservative estimate!) = 42 hours
£20000 pa / 52 weeks / 37.5 hours per week = £10.26 per hour
£10.26 per hour + 13% employers NICs = £11.59
£11.59 per hour * 42 lost hours = £486.77 per meeting
12 meetings per year = £5841.23

So we can see that the total spent on these meetings (excluding any lost sales due to appointments that can’t be met) is no less than £11802.83 per year!!! Even if they use company cars, the amount works out to £7331.63! Meetings are not cheap!

This is where video conferencing comes in. Whilst, yes, it could be good for morale and team building to meet regularly, does this need to be every month?

Modern video-conferencing solutions can happily accommodate a team of this size – with auto-panning cameras picking up whoever speaks, good quality sound, clear pictures and minimal lag/latency. They can even display input from a laptop or pc. And in this example, if the physical meetings were reduced to bi-annual events, the equipment at each office could pay for itself within a year.

Not only do video conferencing set-ups make meetings more cost effective, they also make them more convenient. Sharing progress, brainstorming, problem solving all become the matter of a moment to arrange and can involve the whole team!

So don’t write off video-conferencing as a solution based solely on price – consider the benefits to your business of instant communication and sharing.

Gear 7 can supply Lifesize’s full HD video conferencing systems and we are members of Polycom’s partner programme.

I use and highly recommend GVO Conference Video Conferencing Software. Take time when choosing a provider GVO Conference Video Conference Software is my recommendation.