By Michael Gotalsky
In today’s highly competitive and adaptive market, companies have to constantly improve their techniques and be willing to experiment with new methods. The global market has shifted towards mobility: any laptop and most current tablets and smartphones have a camera. At the office, professionals now have constant access to high-speed Internet and cheap web cameras, headsets and speakers. This has meant the development of a new business culture where video conferencing is a necessary part of doing business, and it is very important to have the right tools available for your company.
Video conferencing has always been a challenging technology. The pioneers of video conferencing use were mainly high-tech and communications industries, but now the technology has penetrated into all industries and the number of companies using video conferencing increases annually.
Did you know that studies show that nearly 80% of Americans say they would like to use video conferencing for telecommuting? Here are some proven benefits for medium and small businesses considering a video conferencing solution for their company:
- Saving money. The majority of small and mid-sized businesses need video conferencing solutions to be low-cost, and able to be implemented without help from external IT consultants. Most vendors offer complete software video conferencing solutions in order to help SMBs grow without the need to buy expensive equipment. With software, ordinary desktop PCs or mobile devices can be utilized as endpoints for high-quality video conferencing sessions.
- Collaboration tools. Video can allow for greater collaboration among employees across several office sites or supporting a telecommuting environment. A set of comprehensive tools allows you to establish effective long-distance communication and to boost cooperation on projects, while providing employees with the latest collaboration techniques. Software solutions can help to improve workflow through tools such as end-to-end video calls, multipoint video conferencing, conference recording, desktop sharing, whiteboards, slide shows, instant messaging, file transfers, address books and call history.
- Reduced travel costs. Travel expenses can become prohibitive, but video conferences for communication among co-workers in different offices fulfills all the same needs while cutting costs. When you calculate the number of business-trips taken annually and evaluate the associated costs (transportation to and from the airport, the cost of plane tickets, meals, time lost in travel, etc.) video conferencing becomes an attractive alternative.
- Increased productivity among your customers and teams. Video conferencing allows employees to work anywhere, regardless of their location. This, in turn, gives more freedom to employees, and potentially improves and increases workflow, as well as employee loyalty and satisfaction. On the other hand, video conferencing enables employees to create conversations with colleagues instantly and solve problems together without leaving the workplace or needing a meeting room. Companies are implementing these solutions in order to improve the efficiency of their business.
- Hiring the best staff for your company. Another reason for the increasing popularity of video conferencing is the possibility of closing vacancies quicker, and capitalizing on opportunities to reach out to geographically-distributed candidates. Job interviews via video conferencing allow an interviewer to accurately estimate the communication skills of the applicant, even as the distance may make it easier to remain impartial and attentive to details. This has become especially popular since the introduction of WebRTC, a free project that provides browsers and mobile applications with real-time communications capabilities. According to a study by Redshift Research, video conferencing ranks third (47 percent) among the business communication channels for HR specialists, after email (89 percent) and voice calls (64 percent).
- Improving communication and maintaining personal connections. You already know that “a picture is worth a thousand words,” but why not have both? Video conferencing leads you to a faster and more effective collaboration, because you can see the expressions and body language of the participants. Unlike phone calls, this method makes your communication process easy and comfortable.
- Advanced teamwork. Video conferencing brings teams together around the world and across all devices, data and content. It provides remote co-workers access to the most up-to-date information. Employees can collaborate without constraints and make faster, better and more informed decisions to reduce project timelines, which lowers the time required to bring a new product or service to your customers. Video conferencing is also helpful for education and training. Your team can study the best practices online, and video conference recording allows users to save a session for future generations of employees. You can watch lessons when you have the time, share it among colleagues, and rewatch it as many times as you want without needing to pay for it again.
- More business contacts. It is not always possible to conduct an important meeting in person, even if you see traveling as useful investment of time. Video conferencing can potentially help save time and money on business trips. It can also help you create new contacts and avoid any expenses connected to business trips you were not satisfied with.
- Reducing stress and workload. Frequent travel, bad weather or unforeseen circumstances can leave SMB owners, workers and consultants feeling stressed. Video conferencing reduces the need for frequent business travels and eliminates the headaches from canceled flights, long drives and changing weather. All this keeps your key employees balanced and motivated for success.