Today's business is increasingly dispersed; many companies have employees in various locations, as well as suppliers, clients, and partners around the world. Trying to stay connected via conventional means can be costly and inefficient. Fortunately, cutting-edge collaborative technologies such as Internet many-to-many videoconferencing and smart boards are affordable and effective alternatives to outmoded methods of communication. The days of unintelligible conference calls, or meetings led by a single speaker with a slide show presentation are over. Newer technologies allow each member of the team a chance to participate fully in the event, no matter where he or she is located.
Internet videoconferencing or web conferencing
is one of the fastest-growing technologies for small and mid-size businesses. The original videoconferencing software was designed for one person to share his or her screen and voice with several others. This is known as one-to-many videoconferencing. Since a majority of people learn visually, this technology was particularly useful for distance training presentations, but it was less suitable for meetings where everyone's participation was required.
However, now many-to-many technology has become available to smaller enterprises. This powerful tool allows every person to participate in the event as he or she desires, facilitating productive meetings with multiple people in real-time. These meetings may include presentation sharing, sharing any document available on one's PC, application sharing, simultaneously with multiparty audio (VoIP) and video.
Easy to Implement, Easy to Use
There are different versions of many-to-many videoconferencing technology, and you should consult with a firm specializing in collaborative solutions to help you decide which option will best meet your company's needs. But most require only one installation on the server, rather than individual installation to each participant. If it's not cost-effective for your company to host its own server, some companies will provide the service online for a fee. All that is required to connect to the technology is a standard PC with a web camera, a high-speed Internet connection and any web browser. Systems designed for business users are secure and able to facilitate various types of situations, including training courses, sales conferences, formal meetings, and brainstorming sessions.
Small to Midsize Business Can Benefit
A recent research study found that smaller companies report using web conferencing more than any other type of meeting to drive revenue or conduct business. About 75 percent of the managers who responded said major reasons to use web conferencing
included the ability to involve more people and save travel costs and time. A majority of those surveyed use web conferencing to hold meetings that could not happen any other way due to cost or time constraints.
Although implementing web videoconferencing does require an initial investment, small to midsize businesses stand to realize significant savings. Many businesses report savings of up to 50 percent on travel and related costs. Because the technology integrates VOiP, long-distance phone bills are also slashed dramatically in most cases. The increase in communication between employees and with clients can lead to increased sales and efficiency. There are also soft benefits, such as reduction of the company's ecological footprint, the ability of personnel to work from home when necessary.
Implement Internet videoconferencing for your business: save money, keep team members connected, and expand your company's reach!