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Monday, October 27, 2008

Videoconferencing saves money and streamlines meetings

Gas prices are on the rise. The cost of materials, inventory, and shipping are straining budgets to the max. So, with the current state of the economy, now would be a bad time for you to throw more money into technology, right? Wrong. Although spending hard-earned company money on “discretionary” items may seem like a crazy idea right now, businesses all across the country are currently investing in videoconferencing solutions that will actually cut down on travel expenditures and provide one of the highest returns on investment of any business expense.

Just to prove the point, let’s look at an example:

Your account executive needs to travel from your home office in Chicago to the offices of your client in Charlotte. It’s going to be a 2-day, 1-night stay with everything being expensed to your company, including a nice dinner for your client’s vice presidents. Here is a rough estimate of the charges you can expect to incur:

Plane Ticket: $300
Hotel: $105
Rental Car: $55
Food Expenses: $250
Total: $710

Now let’s assume that this (or a similarly priced) trip occurs twice per quarter for your account executive, totaling 8 trips per year. That bumps the total cost up to $5680 per year. And if you have 5 sales representatives? That means that every year, your company will spend roughly $28,400, if not more, on travel expenses alone. Over the course of 5 years, that’s $142,000 without any projected increases for growth in your company. And of course, we all want to experience growth!

With the implementation of a videoconferencing system into your company’s office, the need for those expenditures will completely disappear. Thanks to videoconferencing’s combined audio and visual feeds, you will still get that face-to-face feeling as you and your client look at each other through a television screen, computer monitor, or video projector and speak through microphones located inside the system. Most importantly, video teleconferences can involve multiple sites at the same time, meaning that several offices or clients can all participate in one meeting.

Not only does videoconferencing provide all of the necessary functions for a travel-less business meeting, but it is a quickly-implementable solution as well. Setting up the system only requires a telephone line or Internet connection to get started, making it a tool that’s available to any sized business. Dedicated videoconferencing products, such as those manufactured by Tandberg, house all of the required parts (microphones, cameras, speakers, etc.) in one piece of equipment; therefore, the system can be set up in nearly any location and doesn’t require a large space commitment.

So what does it cost? Well, most videoconferencing systems can be purchased and installed for less than what it probably costs you per year in travel expenses right now. And the best part: once the system is installed, visits to satellite offices or follow-up meetings with cross-country clients can be done from the comfort of your office without having to spend a penny to do it. Talk about a return on investment!

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