The business case for video conferencing
One of the most compelling cases for video conferencing echnology has to be the reduction in travel costs.
Many businesses increasingly view travel as a drain on time and budgets. You can understand why when most business travellers admit that only half of the time spent on a business trip can be classed as productive working time. Not only could you reduce your business travel bills by up to 30%, but you could also improve employee productivity by cutting back on idle hours.
Allied to the reduction in travel time and costs is the environmental argument. Video Conferenc conferencing ses little energy – no petrol, diesel or aviation fuel, only a few units of electricity. The technology can help the business reduce their carbon footprint and environmental impact. To demonstrate the point, a UK environment minister gave a keynote speech at the Climate Change Conference in Sydney via video conferencing This saved 60 hours of travel time and 6.2 tons of CO2 emissions.
Your business could benefit in other ways too. Video conferencing gives you the flexibility to hold ad-hoc meetings; you don’ t have
to plan weeks in advance. This flexibility could speed up decision-making and response times, which will also benefit your customers.
In the past, video conferencing has had a bad reputation. It’s been seen as expensive, complex to implement and delivering low quality, jerky images. However, these arguments are losing ground as the technology rapidly evolves and affordable fast connections make high definition Video Conferencing a reality.
Traditionally, you would have needed an ISDN network for video conferencing, but today’s IP-based networks are fuelling an interest in converged voice, video and data communications. IP lends itself to cost-effective voice and video conferencing and has the added benefit of allowing users to collaborate on documents simultaneously. Cisco estimates that global IP traffic will increase fivefold over the next four years. The company also estimates that all forms of video traffic will make up 90% of global consumer IP traffic by 2013.
There is a Video Conferencing system for every budget, ranging from personal desktop systems using low cost webcams, through to specialist video conferencing equipment designed for use in meeting rooms and other shared environments. However, the essential components of any Video Conferencing solution are camera, microphone, monitor, speaker and codec.
For most organisations, high definition video conferencing is the most readily available option and offers good quality on a limited budget (usually between £1,500 and £5,000).
Your next consideration should be the number of point to point video-enabling terminals or ‘endpoints’ needed. If you specify too few endpoints users could get frustrated that they do not have access to the technology. You need to balance the cost of the video conferencing equipment and services against convenient access to the network of endpoints.
Video infrastructure – a high definition video conferencing service may require an investment in additional network infrastructure, such as a dedicated line or circuit for each endpoint. Each session will demand connectivity of around 1Mbps for clear video and audio. Deploying high definition video on the enterprise network can cause problems; the network may not be able to handle real-time video, while video activity may compromise other enterprise tasks. The right media-ready network is vital to the delivery of business video applications.
Extra peripherals – you might also want to invest in additional peripheral devices to enhance the video conferencing xperience; this could include high definition and wide-angle cameras, upgraded speakers and microphones. You may also want to connect your systems to DVDs, VCRs and document and multimedia applications via a PC.
If there’s some resistance to investing in video conferencing solutions, one way of proving the benefit to the business may be to experiment with lower cost web conferencing solutions. These could not only demonstrate cost savings but also lead the way to more sophisticated technology.
Web conferencing allows your staff to share what’s on their desktop with people in other locations. Typically, this happens in conjunction with a phone call or audio conferencing session. Additional features include the ability to share documents and to work collaboratively on projects.
John Chambers, Cisco chief executive, has compared telepresence to “Star Trek teleporting”. Telepresence offers ultra high resolution, which makes video conferencing an even more immersive experience. Spatial audio allows the transmission of every nuance of a conversation, while huge screens and high quality cameras capture every detail of an expression.
Fabulous as this sounds, telepresence remains an expensive technology to implement at present. It requires a high-bandwidth connection and a specifically designed room at each location.
ntl:Telewest Business boasts more than 15 years’ experience in delivering communication solutions for private and public sector organisations, and has invested more than £13billion in the largest alternative Next Generation Network in the UK. To find out more visit http://www.ntltelewestbusiness.co.uk/
Video Conferencing Business travel has never been more expensive or more of a hassle. Yet sometimes it’s essential to see a person, communicate with him or her in real-time, and pour over the same documents together. WowWe Video Conferencing is the answer to this dilemma. Research shows that video conferencing saves businesses a significant amount of money, increases productivity and leads to better decisions. Look at what the experts are saying about the benefits of video conferencing: “Video conferencing improves decision making” -Genworth Financial CIO Scott McKay in PC Magazine The average length of meetings in which visuals were used were 26.8% shorter (26.7 minutes vs. 18.6 minutes) than meetings in which no visuals were used. -University of Minnesota. When presenters use visual aids in their presentations, they are twice as likely (67% vs. 33%) to achieve their objectives than speakers who don’t use visual aids. -Decker Communications “Think you can’t afford one of these systems? Think again. Video technologies used to be too expensive for small businesses like mine. New technologies are hitting the market and making it easier for small fry to play big.” -Forbes The prestigious Warton Research Center found that people only retain 10 percent of what they hear, but 50 percent of what they see -a 400 percent increase! Communication with a customer on the verge of defecting increases the chances that the customer will remain loyal. The human touch goes a long way …
Video Rating: 5 / 5