By Stefan Mayer
Connectivity costs have tumbled in South Africa over the past few years, and at the same time, the quality and reliability of telecoms services have improved significantly.
That means that businesses should now be thinking about implementing telepresence and video conferencing to reduce costs and minimise their carbon footprints.
Today, especially in a tight economic environment, the return on investment (ROI) calculation for video conferencing makes enormous sense. It’s more affordable than ever to put in place a good solution that will deliver a crisp picture and good audio quality to support most business’s needs.
For companies trying to contain costs and improve collaboration, video conferencing has emerged as an easy solution. Today’s technology is simple and the business case is strong. Here are five ways that HD videoconferencing and telepresence delivers ROI:
Reduced travel expenses
In today’s globalised economy, travel is one of the biggest expenses any business faces. Video can allow your employees to meet colleagues and customers face-to-face or attend a training session without needing to get on an aeroplane.
It’s as close as you can get to “being” with a person that you’re meeting without being in their physical presence. With the woeful exchange rate the rand currently gets for most major currencies, reducing international travel especially can save your business a great deal of money. Just on this level, most companies can get a quick ROI from video solutions.
In addition to hard costs such as fuel, air tickets, accommodation, and meals, long-distance travel eats up your time and your employees’ time. In addition to maximising your use of your employees’ time, you can also improve employee satisfaction by making use of video conferencing and telepresence.
Many employees will be grateful if they can spend less time in traffic and on planes—it’s a great way to improve the quality of their work experience. Not everyone wants to spend hours on the road or days away from their families on international business trips.
Enhanced collaboration and productivity
Tools such as mobile phones and email have helped people distributed across different offices around the country and world to work together more efficiently.
Yet these electronic tools, for all their benefits, don’t allow people to see the non-verbal visual cues that form such an important part of communication.
It can be challenging, for that reason, to discuss a complex business problem with someone without being able to look them directly in the eye.
Today’s video messaging solutions allow people to stay focused, work together constructively, and avoid the misunderstandings that are common in electronic communication. On a softer level, when people see each other, they can also more quickly build a rapport that promotes teamwork.
More flexible working arrangements non-verbal visual cues
A unified communications strategy that includes video can help you to roll out more flexible working arrangements for employees. You can allow them to work from home or on the road, provided they check in for regular video meetings.
Telecommuting can help you to save money on office costs, while allowing employees to enjoy a better work-life balance.
Reducing air and land travel is a good way to help the environment and reduce your carbon footprint.
Stefan Mayer is the managing director of Corporate AV Integration.