Why Video Conferencing and Other IT investments Can Boost Your Competitiveness

At today’s World Innovation Forum I was able to see, up close and live, a video conference system, in high def. I’ve participated in many video conferences but the quality and smoothness of the video has not been so good.
Why do people invest in video conferencing? No time to travel. No budget for travel.
Often times because they cannot meet face to face due to distance, from a few hours in the next state to many hours in the next country, people don’t meet.
Travel is expensive and takes lots of time.
Taking into account delays (man made or natural disasters – like European volcanoes) travel at times can be downright miserable.
Video conferencing has been a solution for years, used by many large corporations, for years. Smaller, growing businesses, should consider video conferencing for them as well.
For example, Panasonic’s VC500 HD Visual Communications System comes with a 50” plasma TV, HD Main Codec box (this box contains the compression technology for the video/audio transmission), HD Audio Full Duplex 360 Microphone, 2 HD Video Camcorders with remote and a VPN Router.
During the live demonstration, the “remote” person was as clear as if she was in the same room as we were. To get this quality you only need a high speed Internet connection – at least 3MBps – Verizon FOIS or Cable would be perfect (and of course the right system).

At $30,000 per unit the VC500 is not like buying a $500 notebook computer. It is an investment in the future of your business.
if you know that your travel costs are $5,000 a month (maybe less or much more) to a branch office, key customer or partner, then that’s $60,000 you’ll spend this year on travel (don’t forget to include not only the costs but the TIME in transit).
By investing in a high definition video conference system, you’ll be able to not only BE a company with one or more remote offices but also ensure you ACT as a company where all employees (or others) have a personal, face to face connection with their colleagues – regardless of if they are physically at HQ or a branch office.
Sometimes growing businesses, understandably, hold onto money so much, that they do not invest enough money in the future of their growth. Are you doing this?
Are you NOT thinking of the future, and focusing too much on the present?
If you find that you are in a reactionary mode and always reacting to problems and scrambling to find solution, instead of thinking ahead and strategically planning, you’ll never be able to grow your business as you should.
Video conferencing systems, are only one of many technologies that can be used to propel your business and enable you to do more with less.
Technology, assuming you have the right business processes, can help you save time, save money, be more productive, increase revenue and enhance customer service. If you’re not investing in technology – you won’t be able to achieve these results.
What other “IT investments” should you consider making?
Customer insight: Are you saving your customer information into dozens of Excel spreadsheets? Instead you should be mining customer data through a customer relationship manage system.
Business intelligence or analytics: Are you able to “connect the dots” and take the raw data you have access to (inventory levels, sales numbers, weather conditions, profit margins and more) and turn it into profitable INFORMATION.
These are just two examples of technology you might want to consider investing in.
Invest in technology and use it as a tool to grow your business.