When and Why to use Video Conferencing
June 24, 2008 @ 08:24 AM | By Brian Trampler & Sara O'Rourke
In my first post, we talked about the basic technology of video conferencing and now that you’re more comfortable the idea, let’s talk about when and why to use it. These are 2 very important questions that you need to be able to address with your company executives so that they see the value of the equipment and justification for continued support of the investment.
• When to use
You should use video conferencing any time that a face to face meeting is important but travel is either too costly or puts you away from the office for too long. I’m regularly on a video conference in the AM Mountain Time talking with my counterparts in the UK during what is their afternoon. I can take feedback from that meeting, and turn around and deliver something to my Sydney AU team at my evening time. And I can see their reaction when I present on both sides to validate whatever project I’m working on. This is much more effective that an audio or web conference for seeing and feeling that reaction. It allows me to build up my virtual camaraderie with my counterparts without the need to be away from my wife and children, so I get to go home in the evening and cook on the grill for them. Good luck with that traveling to London or Sydney.
And, no matter what field you’re in you could have a need for video conferencing. Video Conferencing is the perfect way to hold meetings when you need to see your customer, counterpart, or client, conduct HR interviews with a candidate in order to see how they present without the added expense of flying them to your office. Legal firms can do virtual depositions and interviews with potential expert witnesses to gauge their ability to present their testimony. “Telemedicine” using video conferencing has been growing in the medical field to remotely interview patients, and with specialized video medical technology can even remotely diagnose patients in rural settings. The education field can use video conferencing to reach out to students that can’t travel to the university, or to add a virtual audience to their campus.
• Why to use
Think about the time you’d able to save by staying in one spot but travelling the world virtually. If I was away from the office and on an airplane for bi-weekly meetings I’d accomplish much less and have to spread my work hours into my relaxation time in order to get it all done. Not convenient or compelling for me.
And I’m able to save the company money. In the past I was travelling about one week every month, at an average of $1500-$2500 per trip. So far this year due to being able to meet my customers virtually, I’ve travelled to only one trade show (that will change in 2 weeks as I’ll be attending InfoComm in Las Vegas, but that is only my second trip this year). I have not had to fly to meet with any customers wanting to learn about video conferencing. I’ve saved my company about $10,000 so far this year. I’ve been more productive, and I’m becoming a mean backyard grilling expert as well. And the travel savings have easily paid for the equipment I’m using daily.
All in all, the biggest benefit for me has been the time that I get to spend with my family as compared to travelling. It makes the job that I’m doing every day for InterCall much more enjoyable and less stressful. And the company gets to show some savings from the investment they made in me over the long term.
Brian Trampler is the Sr. Product Manager of Strategic Video Solutions & the "Video Conferencing" blogger. Throughout his 10 years in the conferencing industry, he has successfully launched numerous web, streaming, and video services. Prior to making the jump to conferencing, Brian was involved in gymnastics both as a competitor and coach. If you’re lucky, you might also find Brian performing musical theatre throughout the Denver metro area.