Will Video Conferencing Cut My Company Bills?
Written by Adam Groff
Conference calls are nothing new in the business world, but they have led the way to an entirely new form of remote company meetings: videoconferencing.
With its recent growth in popularity, it’s only natural to wonder how videoconferencing cuts down on a company’s bills.
Likewise, what are the steps involved in order for companies to video chat during their next conference?
The Cost Benefits of Conferencing by Video
For businesses both large and small, it’s all about the bottom dollar. In fact, that’s just part of small business management 101. Fortunately, along with ease of use and increased productivity, videoconferencing has company cost in mind.
Reduced Travel: Travel expenses can quickly put a company in the red, but with videoconferencing, travel expenses are taken out of the equation.
Sure, a conference call can offer the same communication benefit, but when a company factors in the ability to conduct live presentations complete with visual client responses, videoconferencing is unparalleled.
And, because videoconferencing is second best to meeting in person, it’s actually a viable option when it comes to long distance client relationships. In other words, a business that’s able to see the look on a client’s face and vice versa does wonders for communication.
Reduced Time: No matter how you look at it, time is money in the business world and videoconferencing makes time less of a factor.
In terms of the hiring process alone, videoconference interviews can cut the time it takes to fly in each individual candidate thus cutting the cost of the additional man-hours required for each interview. Not only that, interviews can be scheduled on a rolling basis, which is extremely useful during hiring cycles.
Additionally, because videoconferencing is effective as well as convenient, quality meetings can take place throughout the workday without affecting workplace productivity.
Not only that, if the client is running late, employees can be “on call” while waiting for the client’s arrival as opposed to rescheduling the meeting all together.
Making the Transition
Businesses that make the transition to videoconferencing can hardly tell the difference in terms of extra costs and hardware. Considering most laptops and desktops come equipped with built-in video cameras and microphones, the only major change is the software.
Most video conferencing software installs on the company server in minutes and after a quick tutorial, employees can use it immediately. And, because each employee can set their own conference reminders and adjust personal settings, the software is highly customizable.
As for client end software, nothing extra is required besides an Internet connection, video camera, and microphone. This makes videoconferencing through wireless devices like smartphones and tablets an added convenience.
The only other transition companies making the change have to adjust to is proper videoconferencing etiquette. Because of the visual element, videoconferencing has a different set of social rules.
First and foremost, employees should always sit up straight, keep their hands in front of them, and make eye contact with the camera during a conference call with a client.
Also, employees should avoid chewing gum, yawning, or moving their mouths when they’re not speaking as this might look like talking from the client’s perspective. Just remember, these rules of etiquette become second nature after the first few conferences.
With videoconferencing, businesses can save money while also expanding their client relationships even if the two are miles apart.
About the Author
Adam Groff is a freelance writer and creator of content. He specializes in writing on topics that range from personal health to the essentials of small business management.
Beyond Limits: Cognitive AI in APAC
Courtesy of current estimates, it looks like Asia-Pacific AI will be worth US$136bn by 2025. Its governments and corporations invest more money than the rest of the world in AI tech, the data of its citizens is considered fair game, and its pilots are small-scale and, as a result, ruthlessly effective. This is why, according to Jeff Olson, Cognizant’s Associate Vice President for Projects, AI and Analytics, Digital Business and Technology, the APAC region ‘is right on the edge of an AI explosion’.
Now, startup Beyond Limits is pushing the boundaries of what AI can do, mirroring humans in its ability to find solutions with even limited information. As of this July, it’s partnered up with Mitsui, a global trading and investment company, to expand its impact in APAC.
How Does Beyond Limits Work?
Most AI companies claim that they can help businesses make better decisions. But many need astoundingly large stores of data to feed their information-hungry algorithms. Beyond Limits, in contrast, takes a different tack. Perfect data, after all, is largely a pipe dream kept alive by PhD students. In reality, systems must often make decisions from small, incomplete sets of intel.
But Beyond Limits’ AI is no black box. ‘When little to no data is available, Beyond Limits symbolic technologies rely on deductive, inductive, and abductive reasoning capabilities’, explained Clare Walker, Industry Analyst at Frost & Sullivan. While making these leaps in logic, however, the system also keeps track, ensuring that humans can review the AI’s ‘thought process’.
Why Partner With Mitsui?
Beyond Limits is built for specific applications such as energy, utilities, and healthcare—but lacks the extensive industry network of Mitsui. Partnering allows Beyond Limits to access a portfolio of firms specialising in minerals and metals, energy, infrastructure, and chemicals. ‘We’ve been working on this deal for several years’, said Mitsui’s Deputy General Manager Hiroki Tanabe. ‘Mitsui’s global portfolio and Beyond Limits’ AI technology will...deliver impact’.
In the first test of that dramatic statement, Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) will soon deploy Beyond Limits’ new system. If everything goes according to plan, LNG will optimise how it extracts and refines energy, making money for both itself and investors—including Mitsui. This, in fact, is Mitsui’s strategy: go digital and don’t look back.
Why Does This Matter?
Forty-five percent of Asia-Pacific companies surveyed in Cognizant’s thought leadership ebook consider themselves AI leaders. Positivity bias, that oh-so-common tendency of humans to position themselves as above average as compared to others, strikes again. (Most small companies fail to launch successful AI projects on their own.) And partly, this is because firms fail to integrate AI with industry expertise.
‘A large part of the focus on talent for AI today has been getting the people who are strong in mathematics, AI, and technologies’, said Olson. ‘But where you make your money out of AI projects is when you apply them to your business’. In short: APAC nations looking for ways to bridge the gap might follow Beyond Limits and Mitsui’s playbook—coupling startup AI with a corporate network.