How To Save Money By Holding Meetings Online
The rising price of fuel is encouraging all businesses to
look at different ways to reduce business travel.
The use of multi-media web conferencing applications is one
option that is becoming increasingly viable. Savings of
$2,000 per year per executive can be achieved according to
certain technology experts.
Web conferencing has been taken to a new level by the
introduction of high-speed, multi-megabyte broadband
connections. A combination of real-time video, audio,
instant messaging and application sharing can enable
colleagues to see and hear each other while working
simultaneously on the same documents anywhere in the
world. All that is required is a headset and microphone
plus optional webcam.
There are more sophisticated services available which
allow people to participate in an online meeting using
devices such as laptops, 3G mobile phones, or video
In the past, the quality experienced of both audio and video was
notoriously poor due to slow internet connections. There
were also severe restrictions on numbers attending online
meetings due to strains on the limited bandwidth available.
Online meetings were also overlooked due to the security
concerns that surrounded them. The use of an open network
to conduct a private meeting always gave rise to a possible
threat to confidentiality.
The good news for business is that these problems have now
largely been sorted out, and a fiercely competitive market
is growing rapidly–attracting internet giants such as
Microsoft. Even better news is that prices are being driven
down by this competition, and fully managed online
conferencing services are now within the grasp of even
the smallest business.
But before you allocate a huge chunk of next year’s budget
on web conferencing services take a good look at what your
business really needs to improve productivity and
For example, live video conferencing is not for everybody.
Many firms will get the most benefit from instant messaging
or VoIP (“voice over internet protocol”) service, possibly
combined with application sharing.
Another word of warning. If you require outside parties to
participate in online meetings, be careful not to use a
provider who insists on all participants using their
A final precaution: ensure that all media being used in the
conference are encompassed by any encryption facilities
that are being used.