Video Conferencing - The Benefits
Video conferencing has been viewed traditionally as a substitute for travel. We believe a major reason for this
limited focus is that it is relatively easy to quantify the costs of video conferencing equipment and services as well
as to document the cold hard costs of travel. Comparing these two hard numbers has often been enough to justify
the investment in conferencing. However, we also believe that in today's business climate, organizations should
take a more enlightened view of the true costs of travel as well as the wide variety of benefits that can be realized
through the adoption of conferencing throughout the enterprise.
Video conferencing reduces travel costs
By converting a travel meeting into a videoconference, organizations can realize both hard savings (flights, hotel,
etc.) and soft savings (saved employee time). According to a survey conducted by WorldCom, Meetings in America,
the average domestic business trip has a hard cost of $1,334 (R 8,270.00) per meeting participant. This is a sum
of the cash outlay for airfare, hotel, meals, rental cars, taxis, etc. averaged over a large number of business trips.
Related soft costs are not reflected in this number. Soft costs can be calculated by taking the average traveller’s
hourly salary, adding 25-35% for benefits and overhead, and then multiplying by the number of hours of
productivity lost in a round trip. For many individuals, the WorldCom study showed 15-20 hours of lost productivity
per trip, leading to an additional hidden or soft cost of approximately $700-1000 (R 4,300.00 – 6,200.00) per
Video conferencing enhances customer relationships
One reason people turn to video conferencing is to gain immediate, ad-hoc and fully interactive access to their
contacts, regardless of geographical location. The concept here is not to use video conferencing as a substitute for
business travel, but rather as a substitute for an ordinary telephone call. Although a voice-only telephone call does
allow easy and uni-dimensional communications, the ordinary phone call cannot provide the face-to-face
capabilities offered by video. And unlike travel, a video call can be ad-hoc and un-scheduled, much like an ordinary
voice call. With video conferencing, a user can be "in front" of a client in minutes after making the decision to do
so. Video offers increased impact and focus to any conversation as well as enhanced persuasiveness and generally
leads to enhanced trust between partners and suppliers/customers.
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