Time for the videoconferencing boom?

A new Icelandic volcano eruption has kicked off and it is bringing back memories of the travel chaos experienced last year. For weeks aeroplanes were grounded, the European airspace was closed and millions of people were prevented from travelling and left with a bitter feeling of frustration and helplessness: We all felt that there was absolutely nothing we could do but wait.

From a business point of view, this kind of natural disaster does raise major problems. No business can afford to stop their activity for weeks, whether it is due to an ash cloud or snow storms, or any other unforeseen event. The cost of inactivity could be disastrous. So it is about time to change the way business is done to tackle efficiently these kinds of threats that are, apparently, becoming more and more frequent. If for some reason we cannot get to work, work should come to us! Remote working and videoconferencing are technologies that really can help companies pursuing their activities when nature is out of control but are also cost and time saving solutions all year long.

Think about it: although it is unavoidable in some cases, a large amount of business travel can be replaced with videoconferencing. Travel costs and the time taken to travel can be reduced significantly as globe-trotting employees can get much more done in-between international meetings. Between various transportation costs, accommodation prices and other business travel expenses, it is easy to quantify the savings you can achieve. You can expect a fast ROI from a video conferencing system. It is also a time saving solution for people who have a busy schedule, since meetings can take place without leaving the office and be called upon almost instantly. Projects that involve geographically remote decision makers or people who are physically unable to move can be managed more efficiently and urgent issues can be solved rapidly with the same interaction you would gain all sitting in a room together.

With High Definition technology, it feels a lot more like you are all in the same room and are able to see people clearly, hear them speak perfectly and even display documents. Visual information such as slide shows, whiteboards and other multi-media can also be integrated in a video conference. So why spend time and money in travelling when you can meet virtually from your offices?

Limiting the time spent on travelling to meetings will enhance the productivity of your employees and improve their work life balance. They don’t have to stay stuck in traffic or to suffer from transportation delays anymore. Instead, they can attend several meetings in one day without leaving the office and worrying about the hassle, stress and fatigue of travelling.

Sure, people can also be available through other means of communication, but video conferencing conveys eye contact and body language, which are not expressed via email or telephone. The face-to-face experience provided by the technology is more engaging and can reinforce business relationships.

Last but not least, in these environmentally conscious times, it is a green and responsible use of technology. Instead of travelling by airplanes or use company cars, you can measure and report on the reduction of your carbon footprint and fuel consumption by interacting through videoconference. For a business, it is always good to know that working smarter and not harder also is the environmentally friendly solution.

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