Video conferencing has the potential to connect business branches, suppliers and clients across local and international borders, without the need for expensive and time consuming travel. The problem for most companies has always been the cost of implementing this technology and the inflexibility of a fixed location for the equipment. But the many advantages of video conferencing can now be achieved with the average smartphone at a fraction of the cost.
The introduction of video conferencing about 15 years ago was perceived to save clients a lot of money. For instance, a company with a head office in Johannesburg, with multiple branches around the country, would find this very convenient as offices would be linked up for the purpose of having meetings ‘together’. Managers saved money on air tickets, car rentals, accommodation and time spent away from their offices. It seemed like an excellent idea.
Over the years, Trunuty installed various video conferencing links for clients. The cheapest solution cost the client R350 000 plus … a staggering outlay. Flying managers to and fro might have cost companies less, unless the application was used frequently.
The integration of new apps, cellphones and licences on PABX systems has afforded us the means to use video conferencing on our mobile devices. This is made possible as all mobile phones now have built-in cameras, enabling your footage to be shared with others, and vice versa, in real time. Best of all, it works on a pay-per-use system, rather than companies having up-front expenditures in the region of R300 000 upwards.
Employees can be part of video conferencing sessions hosted by their companies via a data link on their phones. This data link could be in the form of 3G, 4G, LTE or Wi-Fi; as long as your data connectivity is stable enough, the employee would have access to video conferencing. Employees are then invited to a specific ‘room’ in which agendas, charts and other visual tools are shared with other attendees. A clear benefit is the fact that the ‘traditional meeting’ now takes place with you present, wherever you are at the time.
Trunuty currently uses the services of Unify who supplies a PC with a camera installed already, which will only be situated wherever the client would like his specified ‘meeting room’. Various people are then invited to this ‘venue’ via their mobile devices.
The added advantage, thanks to technology, is minimal outlay, no monthly expenditure, and you only pay for this functionality when you use it.
The new age of video conferencing could potentially benefit your own organisation, but only if you understand the true potential.