General

Busting Myths About Video Conferencing

In a rapidly advancing technological age in which we have invented glowing plants, machines that print food, and computer interfaces from the future, one would think that businesses everywhere would be using video conferencing as often as they use a copy machine.

But they haven't.

Oddly enough, people are reluctant about the technology. In his many years of telecommuting, one worker observed how rare video conferencing had been used, and he lamented how much more efficient and human his work experience could have been if businesses were more open to video conferencing. He also noted that 2012 saw 27 million simultaneous video conferencing sessions on Skype between personal, non-business users. The business world, he felt, is far behind the rest of society.

A part of the problem is the proliferation of myths about video conferencing. The following tall tales about the technology need to be busted in the business community:

1. Videoconferencing is so complex that only a business with an IT staff can manage it.

That might have been true years ago, but not anymore. Recent products have consolidated tasks and features into all-in-one systems that are intuitive, user-friendly and do not require a genius to operate or set up. The technology continues to advance, and every year brings a new wave of products that become easier to manage. Some of the best all-in-one systems are the HDTV products that combine everything -- including the computer technology -- into one thin, portable HDTV.

2. Videoconferencing costs too much.

The price gets lower every year. Companies can find high-quality products that will outfit a room with video conferencing for less than a grand. In addition, third-party companies can host your telepresence for an affordable price, which eliminates the need to purchase expensive in-house assets such as servers.

3. The new equipment has to match the company's old video equipment.

Companies who build conference technology understand that clients don't want to spend loads of money replacing everything from the ground up if they don't have to. That's why most newer video conferencing systems are designed to fit right into older video components that might already exist in your board room.

With each new year of advancement in conferencing technology, there are fewer excuses to not move more communications into the video conferencing arena. The value of real-time face-to-face connections will quickly become apparent, especially after you see how affordable and manageable the technology has become.

Learn more about our pricing for hosted telepresence.  If your company is new to using this technology, start by enabling a select group of users at your organization.  If successful, they will become an invaluable resource to you when introducing the technology to the whole company. 

 

Are Video Calls Changing the Etiquette and Protocol of the Business Meeting?

Video calls are becoming so sophisticated now that the need for physical meetings in companies has been nearly eliminated from the vocabulary. Here at Batipi, we offer hosted teleconferencing services that allows you to confer with anyone around the world thanks to our cloud infrastructure & Vidyo technology. In fact, you can hold meetings while on the go and teleconference on your smartphone or tablet in perfect clarity.

But while you're still physically seen through our video call service, what should you ultimately wear when talking with an important business associate? And should the setting where you hold your teleconference be in a conservative location? There might be acceptance now of being seen in places unimaginable a few years ago.

What Should You Wear During a Video Call?

There may be a tendency to want to dress more casually, depending on the work environment of a particular company. What happens, though, if you hold an important business meeting on Vidyo and those associates are wearing suits? It's probably a good idea to at least dress up a little so you're not caught wearing t-shirts and shorts during an important business deal.

Regardless, you should obviously look into the style of that other company and see what their general clothing choices are before making a decision.

As far as the differences between the genders, Radvision found in studies that women are more apt to dress in business attire than men. Males who get away with shorts in teleconferencing should take heed.

What's the Best Location for a Video Call?

It might seem incomprehensible that 10% of employees polled in the above Radvision study say that the bathroom is an acceptable place to be seen during a teleconference. While that might show that the acceptance of comfort has hit a high point in the video meeting format, should that really become the standard?                                                   

A better setting might be teleconferencing by a pool that was deemed acceptable by 35% of those studied. In fact, a relaxed pool setting could possibly help in closing a business deal to show that business doesn't have to be so buttoned down. The good news about video calls is any kind of setting can ultimately be altered by merely moving to a certain location in the room or setting up a particular backdrop.

Even if the bathroom ultimately becomes an acceptable part of video call protocol, it's unlikely someone will show a certain amenity in that bathroom as part of their physical background.


 

Video Conferencing: A Good Way to Keep Your Meeting from Having a Giant Footprint

carbon-foot-print.jpg

Leaving a large footprint wouldn't be a bad thing if you were Robert Wadlow, the Giant of Illinois. When you're 8' 11.1" tall with a foot that's 17 inches long and a shoe size of 37AA, it's kind of expected.  Just ask the world's tallest living man and the man who currently holds the record for having the largest foot. They'll tell you.

But as everyone knows, the footprints humans leave behind and the ones businesses leave behind are two different things. Both may leave impressions on the Earth, but only one will vanish without leaving a trace. The other can leave traces that will last a lifetime. Because of that, many businesses today are looking for ways they can make their footprints smaller; and one of the ways they're finding is with video conferencing.

Video conferencing is exactly what it sounds like - holding a conference via video options with attendees being in various locations instead of face-to-face in one place. Many businesses are finding that using this method for some of their meetings not only saves them money, but makes them more eco-friendly as well. How? Well, let's take a look and see.

Fewer Carbon Emissions

According to one study, a conference can be responsible for creating more than a ton of carbon dioxide per attendee. How? Between the fossil fuel used to fly the plane that brought the attendee, the fossil fuel used for the attendee to get to and from the airport and around town, and the fossil fuel used to create the electricity for the attendee's hotel room - let's just say it all adds up quickly. Obviously, with a video conference, the need for so much travel is eliminated. The result? The meeting's footprint begins to shrink. 

Less Waste for the Landfill

According to some statistics, the paper making industry around the world uses about 4 billion trees each year with every person in the United States using 749 lbs of it. A lot of that paper eventually winds up in landfills. Traditional conferences are often a part of that scene. Papers get printed and used for a bit and then get thrown away at the end or when the attendee gets home. A video conference eliminates some of those paper needs, meaning less trash for the landfill and a need for a few less trees to be cut. The result? The meeting's footprint shrinks even more. 

More Involvement with Green

Eco-friendly factors like fewer carbon emissions and less waste may be the biggest and most direct green advantages to video conferencing, but they aren't the only ones. Less travel and fewer printouts also mean less money being spent overall on the conference. How is that green? Well, less money spent on a conference means more money available for making the company greener. Efforts here could offset the conference's remaining footprint even more. The result? A footprint that so small, you might need a magnifying glass to see it.

 

Companies Drop Email in Favor of Direct Communication Tools

According to CBC News, Italian sports car maker Ferrari delivered an eyebrow raising directive to their employees earlier this month: Sending the same email to more than three in-house recipients is no longer allowed. In the message sent to its employees, Ferrari cited time wastage and inefficiency as the impetus behind the new order. It stated:

The injudicious sending of emails with dozens of recipients often on subjects with no relevance to most of the latter is one of the main causes of time wastage and inefficiency in the average working day in business.

Simply stated, the email regulation encourages employees to talk more and write less

Ferrari is not the only company to recognize the importance of direct communication and restructure the workplace to facilitate it. Atos, a global technology firm, announced a zero email initiative in 2011 with plans to phase out email--and adopt replacement tools such as video conferencing--completely by 2014. Atos chief executive, Thierry Breton, had estimated that barely 10% of the 200 internal emails employees received per day were useful. In fact, Breton likened email to "pollution" in an otherwise productive day. 

Less typing means more talking!

Less typing means more talking!

In a March 2013 update on the changes, The Connected Business reported ongoing and significant success. Since 2011, Atos employees have trimmed email and adopted more cloud-based collaboration tools that facilitate real-time communication. The IT firm expects to see complete obsoletion of internal emails by the end of 2013, with the eventual goal of zero emails--internal and external--in 2014.

The move away from email and toward more collaborative communication technology started much earlier. Consider a study published by Wainhouse Research in 2005, The Business Case for Video Conferencing. In this study, authors Andrew W. Davis and Ira M. Weinstein stated that although email had at one time been an important technological development and served its users well, by 2005, it had become so day-to-day that it was bothersome. Everyone used email for everything, whether it was of value or not. The study suggests, even eight years ago, that a natural evolution was nudging us away from email toward more advanced real-time communication technology.

The authors of the Wainhouse study reported what we, Atos, and Ferrari know now: that real-time communication like video conferencing, cuts email clutter, increases productivity, improves problem solving, and adds purpose to our interactions. The trend will only continue. Are you on board with the right tools?

Myths about the Use of Telepresence

Technology has changed rapidly in recent years. What was once only viable in the ideas of science fiction writers is becoming a reality today. Telepresence is one of those areas that was seen in futuristic novels and television shows not that long ago for some people. However, there are still some myths that surround this technology, making it critical to debunk those myths and move forward with its use.

It Uses Too Much Bandwidth

Bandwidth is often a major concern for businesses and educational facilities. Using too much bandwidth costs money and slows down the online experience for everyone. This is why many companies and schools have been hesitant to use video conferencing. However, with advances in technology and changes to coding, these conferences now use more than 50 percent less bandwidth, making it a viable option for many.

It Costs Too Much

Businesses are constantly seeking ways to save money to increase their profits. Telepresence seems like it would be a costly way to keep in touch and hold meetings. Those who think this technology costs too much, though, have not likely looked at all their options. There are many services available that offer these services at reasonable rates, especially if you will be using it often. In most cases, when compared to travel reimbursements and lost time at work, the cost of any telepresence service is well worth it.

It Has a Limited Reach

Some people mistakenly think video conferencing can only be used by executives or within a particular organization. This is also not true. Video conferencing does not limit what you can do. Instead, it increases your ability to do more and reach more people. You can now hold instant meetings with your clients, other locations for your business and even your vendors. With telepresence, your options are almost literally endless.

Don't allow the use of new technology or the myths that surround telepresence keep you from taking advantage. Instead, do your research and learn which information is true and which is a myth. Once you can get beyond the myths, you will see how useful this technology can be for your business.

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