Ten years ago the office world was enjoying the breadth and depth of the Internet, and a business’ use of the electronic resource was coming into full swing. Little did office managers and workers realize at the time just how much the Internet would open up years later beyond simple web pages and written material.
Today, because of advances in the use of fiber optic cabling, Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) and phone conferencing have taken on a whole new meaning in everyday business work. No longer are business people and event organizers required to be physically in the same location to see the same meeting information and discuss it. The combination of Internet, video and digital conferencing has provided a practical tool in the form of electronic conferencing that’s saving companies thousands of dollars and boosting coordinated productivity at the same time.
Video/Internet and telephone conferencing tools are now allowing businesses big and small, as well other organizations like government, to enhance multiple-person communication at any time and day with the ease of managing computer software on a desktop screen. Where face-to-face meetings before this resource was commonly available required physical travel or expensive video room setups, now the ability to video conference with a computer and phone can be had for under $100 (assuming the computer and Internet access already exist). The leanest one-person sole proprietorship can present the same level of video conferencing as a large corporation’s business team as long as all the meeting recipients have a phone and an Internet-accessible computer in front of them as well.
Digital conferencing has also changed how we behave in related phone conversations. Where phone meetings usually lost five to 10 minutes waiting for everyone invited to get online, now punctuality is not only expected, it’s tracked with connection software. A meeting coordinator not only knows who is on the line, he can also see who has connected that shouldn’t be in the meeting as well. Additionally, a coordinator can control the communication flow and who is heard when. As a result, the old days of trying to figure out who gets to speak next in a phone conference are coming to an end.
More importantly, digital conference meetings can be preserved for later training use or reference. Because the entire conference from presentation to audio can all be recorded digitally, the meetings allow accurate archiving of discussions for the purposes of reference, training, and even legal use. Not surprisingly, participants are wise to be on their best game in such meetings. Off-hand remarks or faces can actually come back to haunt a person down the road in the form of a recorded meeting.
Learning how to use Internet-based video and phone conference is probably the easiest software and system to learn. Account setup, meeting scheduling and management can be entirely handled over the Internet through a web portal of a particular provider. Additionally, most services provide clients with software that installs on a computer and provides an easy-to-use dialogue system for meeting initiation, call-in and audio control, digital presentation, tracking and recording and quick shut-off. Because of the simplicity of these systems, just about anyone familiar with a computer can operate an Internet conferencing system as well.
Helping the Bottom Line
Obviously, one of the best benefits of digital conferencing includes the low cost to operate and maintain a related communication account. Both private businesses trying to run lean operations and government agencies with scrutinized tax dollars can save significant funds with digital conferencing annually. The few dollars spent on conference call services are saved 10 times over in cost avoidance of travel expenses, meeting room charges, and additional office support costs such as photocopies and food for a meeting. Instead, everyone can view and discuss matters from their own desks, reducing the amount of downtime and getting back to other tasks immediately afterwards. For small businesses, digital conferencing is especially valuable as it provides a wonderful communication platform without a high expense, something that is invaluable when the bottom line matters on every transaction starting out.
Any company today with a standard office and Internet access, which is not using digital Internet conferencing is losing out on a great resource that is readily available and easy to manage. Businesses have to think smart and work creatively in a service market that competes globally. Video and phone Internet conferencing is one easy way to expand office communications with a very low expense involved. Every business big and small should be taking advantage of this tool.