The market rallies and then falls. The cost per barrel of oil is slipping all over itself and leaving black muck everywhere. Every business is looking for new sources of revenue and at the same time trying to figure out how to effectively continue doing business while cutting costs. Considering the critical need to get in front of the customer as well as have cost effective communications with personnel located all over the planet is a major concern when managing expenses. We’ve all heard the hype that video conferencing is the solution, or that Webinar’s will have the reach to the larger market and specific customers. The hard questions when considering alternative means and methods for cost savings revolve around what are the right technologies, what are the real cost savings and how effective will this be verses a face-to-face encounter. The newest marketing buzzwords for integrating solutions are Unified Communications and Telepresence. Every vendor has their definition so that they can capitalize on your business dollars.
The International Engineering Consortium defines Unified Communications (UC) as “encompassing all forms of call and multimedia/cross-media message-management functions controlled by an individual user for both business and social purposes. This includes any enterprise informational or transactional application process that emulates a human user and uses a single, content-independent personal messaging channel (mailbox) for contact access.” The simple meaning of this is that UC is a communications system that includes three or more of the following elements: voice, unified messaging, video, mobility, web/data collaboration, conferencing and presence management.
In essence, the concept is moving from what UC provides in a large picture with many technologies into the greater concept of Telepresense that simplifies the integration of technologies in a more common environment.
From all of the vendor opportunities available, we need to consider what will satisfy our business requirements to virtually meet with customers as well as have effective remote communications with employees. We all wonder what the value proposition is for our business and what systems have the best integration of these technologies at a justifiable ROI. Let’s first discuss two of the three considerations as the value propositions that all businesses should consider when evaluating the technology and services of Telelpresence to its effectiveness.
What should be a part of the right technology choices?
– Simple to use
– Minimal extra junk – additional hardware, software or other hangers on
– Cost effective – in capital expenditure and any recurring cost including bandwidth on an IP based system
– Can communicate with more than one other person or groups
– Has video and IP voice integrated and synchronized
– Can work on the same projects at the same time sharing applications or presentations
– Can be customized if need be
– Could have multiple uses. What if the same system could do business conferencing and application collaboration, distance learning and training, remote inspection of assets and IP video security and monitoring?
– Desktop versus the “all gather in the conference room” technology
How effective will this all be?
Statistically speaking, when we engage in a face-to-face conversation, everyone walks away with an 80% level of common understanding and agreement of what was discussed; in a voice-only meeting, this drops to 40%; when the meeting is held through Telepresence, the level rises back up to 60% or more. The natural assumption, then, is that meeting via Telepresence is the next best thing to being there. That is true for the way most people engage in the standard technology of videoconferencing. However, when used properly by engaging collaborative applications and interactive end user controls, now Telepresence can actually be better than being there in person.
The combination of browser-based video with collaboration allows a distributed work force to be involved real-time without incurring travel cost and minimizes time away from servicing their customers. Customers can have real-time interactions with your offices for a myriad of purposes from new product presentation, training and customer service interface to reaching across time zones for preliminary negotiations.
The bottom line is always the motivator for new technology implementations. Telepresence is proving to be one of the fastest growing technology implementations for business purposes. Even in the small and medium business environments. The choice of solutions should be technology that meets a matrix of your needs and can show its effectiveness for your business purposes. Being able to utilize cost effective single platform solutions is the Holy Grail. NCDCS, Inc can effectively take you through the decision journey to reduce operational cost and show a quick ROI.
Tom Niewulis, Jr. is passionate about small business. He works with businesses to develop management teams in implementing organizational strategic vision decisively by using good judgment and initiative to lead and develop organizational teams. As a member of the National Association of Corporate Directors, Tom brings insights to companies regarding leadership, risk management and corporate governance such that they grow in efficiency and market opportunities. He shares the inner workings of business from years of in the trenches experience and presents knowledge with levity.