Videoconferencing: Triple Power Play

By Vijay Mhaskar, Senior Director R&D, Avaya India

A woman with breathing difficulty visits a temporary clinic in a village equipped with a videoconferencing system and connects with a doctor at the government hospital in the city, who performs a remote diagnosis. Through videoconferencing, the doctor is able to share crisp images of the medical condition with colleagues in the city hospital or medical college. Videoconferencing is no longer the next wave. And if you think you have figured out just who uses it- the business class, large enterprises or Metro India; then have a closer look.

Power of we 

Over 2,000 students across Gujarat can be connected in a videoconferencing session hosted by an Ahmedabad based coaching institute. Using videoconferencing, the instructor delivers the selfsame content at the same instant to students in the immediate classroom as well as to remote students. With a simple click on a meeting invitation, students can access the video capabilities on any device (Smartphone, tablet, desktop or Mac). During a presentation, the student can go back and review the previous slides without interrupting the instructor. This teamwork is leading to better learning outcomes.

Power of now 

Videoconference allows communicating with one another anytime, from anywhere and no matter what device they are on. That’s the power of now that only videoconferencing can deliver most compellingly. Consider a midsize player in, say, financial services, with multiple offices. An employee here is sure to find a videoconference solution handy in connecting with colleagues and even with customers and partners outside the company network. Employee meetings can be streamed live via video. As a next step, the company can look to integrate video calls into its website. Which means, with just a mouse click, the customer should be able to initiate a video call with the company.

Power of Seeing Eye to eye 

Videoconferencing turns orthodox ideas around visual and geographic barriers on their head. Traditional voice calls lack the visual dimension. By contrast, videoconferencing is far more compelling. Because participants get to see who is speaking and read the person’s body language. People have a natural yearning to engage with others both verbally and visually, and video-based communication, to a great extent, feeds this urge. One look is worth a thousand words. Being able to see eye to eye and talk heart to heart is the reason behind the rise of videoconferencing. Video is now the new voice.

Payoffs 

Videoconferencing eliminates the hassle of travel and lost time, and is arguably very environment-friendly. For instance, students the benefits of a coaching class without travelling long distances, saving cost of transport. This is significant especially since a large number of students come from less privileged and so far underserved backgrounds. The gains from video-based communication are no less for the academy. The cost of operations, including time, travel, and administration, is down. Having thus freed up precious resources, the educational institutes can spend more on training. Besides, it plans to plough back some of money saved into buying more videoconferencing installations. 

Similarly, the midsize financial services player can potentially cut yearly travel costs by 25-30%. At present, training is likely to be a face-to-face activity at the company. This means business teams from branch offices must be travelling frequently to the company’s main offices to attend training sessions. Lengthy travel time and fatigue will take their attention away from the core job of financial services. No worries, help is here. High-definition videoconferencing can help the company cut a lot of the deadwood out of its training process and make it lean, mean and more efficient. With a video-based approach, a trainer at one of the main offices will be able to directly mentor someone at a branch, thus cutting out avoidable travel expenses and simplifying training overall.

Traditionally small and medium businesses (SMBs) have seen videoconferencing as a kind of luxury. At a time when room-based conferencing was the only option, they were right. But not anymore; fortunately the world has changed. Present-day solutions are very much within the budget of most SMBs. Importantly, these are made available to users on demand via the Internet and they pay only for what they use, not a rupee more. 

Most companies already have some form of video solution in place, and no business would want to rip and replace the existing infrastructure. They prefer solutions that sit well with their current videoconferencing facilities as well as accommodate changes in the future; in other words, solutions that bridge old with new and past with future.

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