When I worked for a large corporation years ago, we implemented one of the first video conferencing systems to reduce travel. As it turned out, many employees viewed business trips as a perk that allowed them to travel for a day or two, even if it was only for a 30-minute meeting. Later, when I started my own small business, I attempted to communicate with partners and contributors via video conferencing, but I quickly discovered that they did not want to give up travelling, staying in hotels, and seeing some sights while on business trips.
That was back in the day, and this is now. The landscape has shifted. Personally, I used to enjoy business travel and looked forward to spending time in airports and on planes. However, that was before airports became virtual fortresses where travellers are treated as criminals and dour-faced security personnel ruin the experience. And before flight attendants developed into grumpy dispensers of tiny peanut bags. And before hotels began charging the equivalent of a king’s ransom for a single night’s stay. And, most importantly, before skyrocketing fuel prices impact everything from driving a car to flying, taxi cabs, and anything else that requires energy to heat, cool, manufacture, or use. Yes, the situation is deteriorating rapidly.
Fortunately, video conferencing can significantly alleviate the discomfort. The state of technology has advanced to the point where there is an audio or video conferencing solution for nearly any need or budget. Video conferencing has become extremely adaptable, and it no longer requires the large capital investment that it did in the past when businesses installed their own systems. There are now video conferencing service providers capable of handling everything from quick strategy meetings to information and training sessions to large-scale multi-national events.
How does all of this work? You locate a leading videoconferencing service provider, create an account via an online application, choose the conferencing options you require, and then invite your conference participants. Avoid conferencing providers that, like phone companies, attempt to lock you into long-term contracts. You should have the freedom to come and go as you wish!
What type of equipment are you in need of? This varies by conference type, but in general, any modern computer with a high-speed Internet connection is capable of video conferencing. If your conference will be held in a boardroom or another larger venue, you may wish to utilise large flat screens or projectors to maximise the impact. Providers of video conferencing services can assist you in determining your equipment requirements.
Additionally, today’s video conferencing offerings are highly adaptable and customizable for a variety of different applications. One-way video conferencing may be combined with PowerPoint presentation playback, whiteboarding, the ability to call in with questions, and instant messaging between participants, among other features. Additionally, sessions can be recorded and accessed later by those who were unable to attend the live conference. Additionally, there are industry-specific conferencing solutions that may include document sharing, private chat, desktop sharing, and other special privacy provisions.
With travel becoming increasingly costly and video conferencing technology becoming increasingly advanced, sophisticated, and affordable, using it is a no-brainer.