With the ever-improving quality of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology, and the rise in expectations of an increasingly tech-savvy consumer base, more and more businesses have embraced audio visual technology as a means of staying ahead of their competitors.
Time is money, so anything that streamlines your essential business processes is extremely valuable, especially if it’s more cost-effective than existing alternatives.
This technology comes in many forms, from sophisticated presentation systems, to cloud-based storage, making your data accessible from anywhere, even if your on-site hardware goes down. However, it is video-conferencing that is fast becoming the indispensable asset on which modern-day organisations depend.
In 2010, over half of corporate employees surveyed were already attending video conferences on a regular basis. Today the figure continues to grow, thanks to the many and varied applications of such dynamic technology.
Building a mobile workforce
One of the most obvious strengths is that video conferencing allows you to connect with your workforce while they are on the move, something which is undeniably valuable. It is not always possible to have your whole team in the same place at once, making meetings troublesome to organise. If anyone is absent, time is wasted later bringing them up to speed. However, with video conferencing, everyone can tune in from wherever they happen to be, whether at the office, away on business, or even from the comfort of their own home.
BYOD (Bring Your Own Device)
Allowing your staff to use their own devices can also be a benefit, as they will be working with technology they are comfortable and familiar with. Not only does this mean increased productivity, and fewer technical hiccups, it also saves you money by reducing the number of devices your organisation needs to provide. When you combine this with the efficiency of video conferencing, you are clearly onto a winning strategy.
Business without borders
Embracing this technology can also be highly beneficial to your overseas presence. There is no longer any need to send employees around the globe to pitch sales or meet with potential partners; everything can be done over the internet. Even language barriers are easily overcome, as you can bring an off-site translator into the call. Meanwhile, being able to see each other during the call allows you to build trust and develop a better working relationship, far more so than is possible over the phone.
While reasonable levels of communication can be achieved via letter, email, or over the phone, nothing quite compares to being able to see the person you’re talking to. But the advantages of video conferencing go further still. For example, if you need to discuss a complicated proposal or detailed design specifications, you can pull up an interactive document or presentation that can be walked-through onscreen. Split screen technology means you can continue to see each other throughout, maintaining the personal touch.
Reduced carbon footprint
Another obvious upside to communicating over the internet is that you save time and money by removing the need for lengthy business trips. This also has a positive impact on your company’s carbon footprint, as meetings can be held with multiple parties around the world without anyone having to leave the office. Furthermore, removing the hassle of travelling also makes scheduling meetings much easier, and saves the potential inconvenience of accommodating a visitor.
Disaster response efficiency
Finally, being able to reach your team at any time can save your business in times of trouble. If there is a fire, critical shutdown, or other emergency, you and other decision-makers can manage and monitor the situation remotely, while simultaneously communicating with each other to ensure the matter is handled swiftly and safely. This also allows you to keep staff informed of the situation, and even figure out alternative working arrangements while the issue is resolved.
While any new system can take some getting used to, the obvious benefits of video conferencing are more than worth the minor learning curve. Your staff can even engage in training remotely, benefitting from the technology even as they learn to use it.
Meanwhile, you will be able to present a round-the-clock professional front to your customers, offering them a level of service and personalisation comparable that industry leaders strive for.
Quentin Birchall, Director of Viewpoint AV