Video Conferencing looks like it is set to become an increasingly integral tool in the business world whilst growing in all areas of communications in the next twelve months. As the technology offers cost efficiencies coupled with flexibility, it is a case of the right tool at the right time.
Indeed industry predictions from Ovum anticipate that the market for video conferencing is set to grow to $3.8bn by 2016. This would represent a 5.79% growth every year from 2011 but what are the reasons behind this predicted growth?
The Benefits of Video Conferencing
The first thing to consider are the well documented but still pertinent over arching benefits, particularly to business, of employing video conferencing. Most of these benefits revolve around the fact that video conferencing can greatly reduce the need for staff to travel, whether it be for internal meetings or third party liaisons.
Travel costs are often a significant overhead for small and large businesses alike and in the global business market that we now have, the requirement to meet colleagues, clients and suppliers in multiple locations - sometimes great distances apart - is only likely to increase. With the economic climate as it is many businesses will be looking towards a more affordable solution to carry out these meetings whilst still getting all the benefits of a face to face interaction.
The cost of business travel is not only limited to the cost of a worker’s plane ticket but also includes time and productivity lost when a worker could have been in the office rather than being on the move. As businesses look to squeeze all margins, the prospect of increasing the productivity and output of all staff should be a key driver to adopting video conferencing. Moreover, the meetings themselves that are conducted as video conferences can and should be more productive in that they offer the chance for multilateral collaboration in place of bilateral phone calls or face to face meetings where budgets only allow limited attendees.
The reduced need for travel within a business can play a very significant part in a companies efforts to reduce its environmental footprint, which, as well as improving the perception of the brand (which is vital in today’s society), will go a long way to increasing the sense of staff motivation and morale throughout the company. As will the possibility of working from home which can also, in turn, lead to greater productivity amongst workers.
2011 has served up a few timely reminders of how easily business operations can be interrupted by unforeseen circumstances, particularly severe weather events and natural disasters, such as the Icelandic volcano and the Japanese earthquake/tsunami. Whenever such events occur, companies’ minds are focused more acutely on their business continuity plans and, especially where travel is likely to be disrupted (as was saliently witnessed with the Icelandic volcano) video conferencing can be seen as integral tool in keeping communication channels open and therefore the wheels of business turning.
In short video conferencing kills many birds - cost, productivity, morale, green credentials and business continuity - with one stone and, in an increasingly competitive world of greater financial as well as natural uncertainty the adoption of video conferencing is a natural fit for business.