Cisco Video Conferencing
It’s not an industry-specific thing. Video conferencing can provide business benefits no matter the industry. Retailers and financial institutions are employing video to interact with customers. Medical professionals are consulting with one another across distance. Manufacturers are addressing production issues more quickly and thoroughly.
Where the need for interaction exists, so does the potential for video conferencing to add value. Once upon a time, suggesting a meeting over video was folly. It was too complicated, expensive, and it required equipment housed in the hallowed halls of the executive wing (and maybe an IT guru).
Now it’s on my smartphone, tablet, and laptop. My kid can figure it out. Hurdles cleared. Check.
1. Reduce travel costs.
Making video conferencing available up and down the org chart not only reduces travel, but it removes distance as an impediment to collaboration. Although I’ve decreased my personal business travel, I work with far more people outside of my primary work location than I ever have before. And our collaboration is more successful.
Back in the day, I spent a week in New York City every time we closed an issue of the magazine I edited. I’d spend part of each day in face-to-face conversations discussing final design and edit fixes. But I spent most of my time hunkered down at a conference-room table doing the very same e-mail and writing I’d do at my desk in San Jose.
Now I work on more complex projects with people from around the globe. We communicate in real time more often. I have stronger working relationships with people I’ve never traveled to meet. (And it’s been years since I experienced one of those spooky Manhattan cab rides when you wonder if you’ll end up in a plot line for a episode.)
2. Enhance productivity.
Real-time interaction allows people to collaborate and work from one another’s ideas and reactions more naturally than the back-and-forth of e-mail or voice mail. An audio call or even an instant-messaging exchange is live, but video adds more.
I’m in meetings throughout the day, whether with 20 people or 2. Most often, I’m on video. I realize that I get the most value from meetings where people use video. I spend more time listening and less time trying to interpret information. The added value of body language and facial expressions reduces miscommunication. We make decisions more quickly, resolve problems more easily.
3. Enhance communications across the enterprise.
It’s not just the direct interactions with people where video makes a difference. I appreciate the ability to tune into the quarterly company meetings and hear John Chambers and other executives. I can use chat to ask questions during the live broadcast – or see the questions and commentary from my peers. In those situations, it’s better than being there in person because I’m having a real-time multidimensional experience (without 3D glasses). And a vast improvement over a lengthy memo that’s been carefully massaged by a communications team 37 times since the first draft.