Videoconference Your Way to Cost Savings

Saving money is just the start. The next time you board a plane, it may be landing somewhere you actually want to be.

In this article we're going to take a look at the lost savings that many enterprise businesses suffer because they lack an understanding of the true "value-add" that today's videoconferencing systems offer.

While there are many online conferencing products, this article skews toward high-end, corporate conferencing systems as these systems typically have more robust features, are higher in cost and necessitate added technical setup often requiring a dedicated person, and in some cases depending on the size of your organization, an entire staff to properly manage.

Lost Savings

You don't need to be an accounting genius to figure out the potential travel savings by using a video conference to hold your meeting instead of traveling to convene with the people or person in question. Even if you hired a dedicated person to setup and maintain your businesses, video conferencing equipment at an annual salary of $70K per year, the potential cost savings is still enormous and at the very least, enough to warrant further research into a possible purchase of such a system and personnel.

Let's take a quick look at a typical cost for one business associate to travel to just one meeting. We'll use very conservative numbers, no calculators required...

Air Travel: $500
Hotel Room: $250
Car Rental: $150
Misc. Expenses: $100
Total: $1000 for one person to attend one meeting.

Let's say the average enterprise has dozens of people traveling to several meetings each month. Your per month travel expenses are already nearly $40,000. Multiply that for the year and we're close to a half million dollars, and let us not forget the more than conservative numbers used for this quick calculation.

Why Not?

This begs the question... Why are we not using more video conferencing? Is it too complicated, too expensive or is your business just not willing to move into the 21st century? The technology is proven to work and has been around for over a decade.

I can remember the first VCM (Video Conferencing Machine) that we purchased back in the early 90's. We spent over $60,000 for 2 machines. One was installed at our business center in Ohio and the other, at the corporate headquarters in Pennsylvania.

The systems where made by Panasonic, who has since left the video conferencing arena. The machines had lots of wires and hard to use software but they worked well. Using 4 ISDN lines for a total circuit bandwidth of 512k, the machines where in use constantly and functioned almost flawlessly for over nearly 10 years until the video conferencing rooms where redesigned and the Polycom VSX 7000 series was chosen to be their replacements.

Armed with the latest technology our associates have become quite fluent in using a host of collaboration tools that built into the system. They can share ideas with documents, charts, videos, and general conversation in nearly the same setting as being face-to-face with the touch of a button. The option to record the entire meeting onto a DVD is also available.

Just think of the potential benefits of that one simple feature. When is the last time you attended a meeting and received a copy of the entire meeting on a DVD to share with your associates and partners?

Get on Board or Fall Behind

Every business is trying to squeeze the very last drop of productivity from every dollar spent with little room for frivolous luxuries. With business travel costs projected to be in the tens of billions of dollars this year alone, cutting your overhead on traveling expenses is one of the easiest ways to save your business thousands of dollars.

Video conferencing is being used heavily by every sector of business, education, medicine and government. And while many businesses already have this technology, some of them hardly ever use it. This is why putting a company policy in place around the use of your businesses videoconferencing equipment over travel and enforcing this policy is essential to the success of the equipment and the savings strategy.

This can be a significant and enlightening change for many people who are more comfortable meeting face-to-face with their colleagues, customers and partners, and clearly there are times when this type of conference is crucial to the success of the meeting. However for the majority of these gatherings, they can all be done for much less cost using a videoconference.

And when you need to meet with a single person, one-on-one meetings can be done using a personal computer or laptop equipped with a camera and microphone. Just about every vendor also offers a desktop product that can tie into the larger videoconferencing systems. These personal systems also allow for simple one-step conferencing and data sharing.

Vendors to Consider

Polycom is the most popular brand of Video Conferencing equipment however there are many others available including Tandberg, Sony, Vcon and others. For more information and strategies around implementing a video conferencing solution into your organization, check out The Video Development Initiative.

This article was first published on

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