Videoconferencing in Business
Videoconferencing for Today’s Business Success
The Best European Travel Services is an international company that provides travel programs to the consumers. The company provides innovative solutions and personalized strategies for the best travel experience possible. Best European Travel Services specializes in travel technology, group air solutions, government travel services, exclusive European destinations, and luxury leisure. The company’s Headquarters is based in San Diego, California, while the second location is Jerez, Spain.
In the business, not long ago that email would be regarded as a corporate perk and requirement for employees and remote workers. Nowadays, email is practically on the same category with lighting and heating, and all employees certainly expect email connectivity to be part of their working environment. In the modern world, rich media solutions for conferencing, driven by video and web conferencing technologies are making the same transformation. The success of many businesses in communication and cost reduction is founded in adoption of videoconferencing. In the Best European Travel Services Company, the company’s management has realized that both decision making and execution are largely dependent on the quality of communication, especially between its two major subsidiaries located in San Diego and Jerez, Spain. Better communication systems will essentially lead to better decisions and better results implementing planning that decision. As a result, the company will realize improvement in business operations and increase its profit margins. Rich media conferencing is the next generation tools accredited with improving the business communication capabilities.
The Best European Travel Services Company experienced problems with communication and training between multiple locations. However, videoconferencing will enhance the business process through reduction of the travel costs between intercontinental locations. Nonetheless, it is essential to find cost effective methods of implementing video conference systems and network software equipment that are paramount for the survival of the business (Diamond & Roberts, 1996). Lack of sufficient communication impacts the quality of services that the Best European Travel Services can provide to the customer, because of the delayed vital business information. Furthermore, the establishment of the videoconference system to the business will reduce the expense of travelling between the two company’s major subsidiaries located in the different continents, especially during the meeting and training sessions; thus, increasing profits earning through expenditure reduction. It also essential to note that videoconference will enable the Best European Travel Services company to respond quickly to the customer’s demand, react to market opportunities, solve customer support issues, and overcome threats. Furthermore, other than striving to cut costs and increase productivity, video conference is anticipated to join the ranks of essential tools for business to compete in the worldwide economy. Therefore, the question is not whether to implement videoconference systems or not, but rather the application that requires to be applied in order to improve corporate efficiency.
High Level Solution
The Best European Travel Services has realized that conferencing has reached ease of use, reliability, and utility levels, where the technologies are finally being integrated into the enterprise’s core that enables the business to reinvent its business processes. The use of conferencing in execution of the company’s operations will enable the company to develop more effective works teams, maintain higher levels of nitration with customers and suppliers, manage dispersed global operations, and lower the operating costs.
Benefits of Solving the Problem
Video conferencing has made organizations become more successful due to the cost reduction and improved communication systems. Video conferencing allows for meetings and trainings to be scheduled with multiple locations at one time and in moment’s notice if there is a need. Video conferencing can be accomplished with relatively minimal equipment. However, the sum up of the core benefits of the videoconference would essentially amount to productivity. Videoconference as a new business communication tools will deliver the productivity improvement to Best European Travel Services, as both soft and hard benefits. The soft benefits are most under-appreciated benefits, because it is often difficult to quantify them with precision. In the Best European Travel Services Company, embracing videoconference is anticipated to result to the following soft benefits:
Quick Decision Making
Integration of the video conference into the business process of the company will lead to the effective teamwork. As a result, presences of team-oriented structure ensure that decision requiring in-depth insight and approval from the different individuals in the company will be easy to make. Conducting meetings through video conferencing will enable the dispersed teams in the company to collaborate easily in problem solving and quick operations conditions, which will ultimately enhance the speed of the decision making process; hence, improving services delivery to the consumers. In the modern and increasingly competitive world, short time to the market delivers the highest payoffs. Furthermore, presence of visual collaboration tools in video conferencing will enable employees to locate and communicate with the co-workers and partners regardless of the current location. In addition, it will be possible to solve consumers’ issues in real time without the presence of wasted cycles of voice mail and emails. This will result into decreased workers frustrations and quick problem solving; thus, leading to the increased consumers satisfaction and loyalty.
Efficiency and Productivity
In Best European Travel Services Company, improving efficiency has always been a key objective of the company. Through videoconferencing, the company will essentially drift away from the scheduled environment of the departmental conference room towards the ad-hoc and unscheduled work style of the videoconferencing (Barlow, Peter & Barlow, 2002). This will be crucial output, because videoconferencing delivers immediate results and saves time for all employees. As a result, videoconferencing will ultimately deliver immediate productivity boost and enable the employees to save time through integration of visual communications into their normal workflow process. The impact of the process will be felt at the bottom of the organization.
Higher Impact and Focus
Through the use of video conferencing, the Best European Travel Services Company will be able to inject higher effect into the conference call and meeting. Furthermore, a higher outcome during the meeting normally translates into shorter and more efficient meetings with little workflow disruption. A research study indicates that meeting sessions through video conference tend to be shorter and objectively focused; thus, reducing the amount of time and resources squandered. Furthermore, it has been established that employees focus directly on the agenda of the meeting; thus, enabling the company to maximize the little time allocated to videoconference meetings. As a consequence, the company reduces the cost associated with group meetings while utilizing employees’ full potential.
Grant the Company a Competitive Advantage
The Best European Travel Services Company has noted that in order to obtain a viable gain in the industry, it needs to streamline it communication mechanisms with its subsidiary company in Jerez, Spain. For instance, the company needs to embark on using videoconference for recruiting purposes, rather than flying the recruits or the candidates around the country while conducting the interviews. Conducting the interviews through the videoconference will enable the company to reach potential candidates from the different locations using less time and less financial resources (Diamond & Roberts, 1996). The technology will also enable the company to build the potential of its employees in the different locations of the continent. It has been established that videoconference makes it possible to interactive with potential customers through the provision of real time support to consumers in the different locations. This will not only offer the company a competitive advantage, but will also increase profit margins for the company, since resources use will be minimized.
Enhanced Quality of Life for Company Staffs
In the modern world, business executive finds huge pile of emails, long queue of voice mails, and piles of faxes after returning from business trips and vacations. Furthermore, according to the internal survey conducted in the Best European Travel Services company, executives reported being stressed by the business travels, especially to Europe, where the other subsidiary in located. Furthermore, the executives claim that in most cases business travels affect their lives in the negative ways, influencing their sleeping patterns and general welfare (Diamond & Roberts, 1996). As a result, replacing business travel with videoconferences plays a crucial role in reducing employees stress, as well as enhancing the quality of life. Travel avoidance will permits the employees to avoid stress associated with flight booking, airport delays, and acclimatization to the new environment. Economic wise, replacing the business travel with videoconference will also save time and resources utilization, especially purchasing of air tickets and booking of accommodation.
Increased Customer Reach and Management of Dispersed Teams
The operations of the Best European Travel Services Company require a personal touch between the company and the client. Therefore, videoconferencing will permit the organization to expand its customer reach without having to overload their workforces with unnecessary business travels to the diverse parts of the continent. For example, it will be possible to reach customers through the two-way video communication; thus, providing real time services to the clients without the need to meet them physically. In Best European Travel Services Company, there are numerous experts and qualified resources located outside the US. Communication to subsidiary company located in Jerez will be efficient through the use of videoconference, which will permit the company to deploy and manage its workforce in Jerez with utmost efficiency through face-to-face meeting between managers, remote peers, and subordinates.
With regard to videoconference, Hard Benefits often classified as the benefits that relate to the cost and are easily quantifiable. Since hard benefits are easily assigned to the dollar values, they form the dream of the Best European Travel Services company’s manager. The hard benefits resulting from the videoconference are derived from the elimination of costs associated with hotels, meals, air tickets, car and taxi services, as well as travel reduction. Therefore, realization of the potential to cost save in the company has been the key justification of the need to embrace videoconferencing. It is oblivious that beyond the elimination of the direct costs, reduction of business travel also eliminates many hours of being away from the office. It has been acknowledged that even with the availability of handheld communication tools, people on transit are often unable to conduct business as efficiently as they could have done it in the office (Rhodes, 2001).
The company has also realized that the costs associated with 2-days travel to attend 2 hours long meeting can be avoided through an audio-video conference; hence, saving a lot of financial resources, time, and stress associated with business travels. This consequently boosts the productivity of the employees. When the benefit accrued from the videoconference is multiplied with the number of executives’ business travels in the company, it is evident that many hard and soft benefits will be realized. Embracing Videoconferencing will provide the company with a choice being absent in the meeting, but still remain in touch and be productive, while balancing the lifestyle-work equation.
Technical Approach to Videoconference
In business perspective, videoconference has been a major component in increasing business efficiency and productivity. It is also apparent that a large amount of resources has been saved through the reduction in the number of business trips expedited by the companies. In Australia, the government saved approximately $12 million in travel expenses through implementation of the Cisco telepresence. As a result, it is evident that the Best European Travel Services Company will cut down the meeting time and cost through the implementation of a quality video conferencing systems. From the technical perspective, videoconferencing will be a vital tool that provides effective, natural, and powerful communication to the company.
In the modern world, most network managers are getting it expedient and cost effective to use desktop videoconferencing, because it easy to run, maintain, and manage. However, in the implementation of video conference system, the Best European Travel Services Company needs to understand that IP networks are the best effort networks that are designed for non-real time applications use. With regard to videoconference, the system will require a timely packet delivery with minimal packet loss, latency, and adequate bandwidth. In order to realize this goal, the Best European Travel Services Company needs an efficient deployment of videoconference that ensures real traffic requirements are guaranteed over new of the existing IP networks. As a consequence, effective deployment of videoconference systems requires the Best European Travel Services Company to have a prior understanding of the number of issues. They are as following:
Traffic Characteristic and Requirements
Before the establishment of the Videoconference systems in the business, the company will be required to characterize the nature of its traffic, QoS requirement, or any other additional device or components. A call manager node, which handles signals essential for establishing, ending, and permitting connections of the video sessions and imposition of maximum bandwidth for each session needs to be included in the system. Other hardware including multimedia PCS with both video and audio software equipped with microphone and camera will be a pre-requisite.
A videoconference consists of the two independent sessions that run concurrently in bidirectional streams: video and voice sessions. The required bandwidth for the voice call in one direction requires 50 packets per second and a packet of size 160 bytes is required. Therefore, a total of 226 bytes need to be transferred 50 times per second in a single direction. For both directions, the required bandwidth for one call is normally 100 packets per second assuming a symmetric flow. For the transmission of the video, the bandwidth is usually higher. One video frame is packetized in one Ethernet frame with size ranging from 65-1518 bytes. Therefore, high bandwidth forms a prerequisite for effective and smooth operation of the videoconference calls, since quality videos are usually transferred.
In order to realize a natural interactive videoconferencing session, the company will be required to keep the end-to-end upper bound delay for voice and video packet to the minimal. Therefore, the company will be required to install highly efficient voice sampling frame, encoding, compression, decompression, de-packetization, and decoding software in order to minimize the delay. The delay period needs to be less than 150 MS, in order to enhance quality speech and transparent interactivity.
Traffic Flow and Session Distribution
It will be essential for the company to specify the flow sessions and their distribution, because it is an important step that determines the number of sessions to be supported. The traffic flow often deals with the path that a session travels through, while session distribution involves the percentage of sessions to be instituted within and outside the building and department. In order to characterize the traffic load, utilization, and flow, network measurement will need to be performed (Schaphorst, 1999). Network measurement can essentially be measured in the network elements such as routers, links, and switches. This will be crucial to consider, because it ensures that the system in not overloaded; hence, always maintains high efficiency level.
Business Process Changes
The video conference shifts the business operation of the company towards increased productivity through reduced business travel and efficient communication process. Through video conference, it becomes possible to avoid unnecessary expense incurred during business travels by connecting to the employees through high quality video. It also enables both external and internal teams in a company, as well as consumers, to interact efficiently; thus, improving business productivity. Furthermore, video conference enables the company to reduce the carbon footprint by reducing the number of travels for physical face to face business meeting. It is also evident that the business process in the company changes through the accelerated decision-making process enhanced by real time interactivity presented by the technology. Furthermore, it also enhances collaboration between the employees in the different locations of the world. As a result, business continuity becomes enhanced by the presence of a resilient and diverse network.
Business Practices used to Support the Solution
In order to support continued use of video conference in improving communication and training between multiple locations of the company, continued training and education will be essential to augment the solution. The HR department needs to impart new skills to the growing number of workers in both company’s locations. The company’s staff needs to be educated on the use of the new software and equipment. This is because the modern technology continues to evolve; thus, changes the way videoconference becomes utilized. Furthermore, the HR department needs to strengthen the corporate bonds in order to ensure that it is possible to reach any company employees anytime irrespective of the location. Online training need to be reinforced in order to intensify the employees’ competence on the system in order to provide quality services to the consumer. Therefore, supportive training will be crucial in supporting the new solution.
In an increasingly evolving virtual workplace environment and with the presence of the employees located in the different parts of the world, embracing advanced communication and collaboration technology remains to be an economical gain for the corporation. It is evident that the use of Video conference enables employees to be more productive, cut costs, reduce the cycle times, provide quality service to consumers, as well as improvement of the recruitment process. The use of videoconference in business has proven to be a beneficial to the organization that can use technology. This is because through the modern technology it is possible to leverage face-to-face communication between the employees without incurring the elevated travel cost. This underscores the need for the Best European travel service company to adopt the technology.
With regard to the above study, it is recommendable for decisions regarding the embracement of video conference to be based on the real communication need. This calls for the need to conduct internal and external research, which informs the decision makers in the company. It will be critical to ensure that video conferencing system implemented is reliable regardless of the network connectivity. Furthermore, it is essential to ensure that the technology used is easy to scale up or down, when the need arises. Since the advanced communication applications are often prone to the security threats, it is critical to ensure the system security can easily be managed by the corporate IT specialist.
High-level Implementation Plan
In the implementation of videoconference in the Best European Travel Services, gaining the commitment of the top level executive will be a major factor.
- Step I: Establish the Goals, Objectives and Purpose of the Videoconference System
The goal will be required to reflect the company’s cultural values, and the decision to use videoconference has to be based on the real needs. Furthermore, it will be crucial for the company to specify how much it proposes to spend on the system. As a result, flexible benchmark will be established and modified accordingly in the course of implementation.
- Step II: Identification of Important Variables
In this step, travel analysis will be crucial in order to identify individual in need of videoconference. The analysis of activities conducted by the individuals will be crucial, and the number of employee in both San Diego (US) and Jerez (Spain) needs to be documented. Based on the analysis, the most likely locations for videoconference meetings and equipment required will be determined.
- Step III: Conducting a Pilot Study
The pilot study will determine the way the variables interact in real videoconference. As a result, it will be essential to subject the participant in a simulated teleconference. Furthermore, existing videoconference systems will be identified. Cost breakdown of the required equipment and educating the participant on the system will be crucial .
- Step IV: Train Market, and Select
This will involve a formal training program developed on the basis of the outcomes of the experimental study. This will include orientation to the system, hand-on experiences with the systems, and provision of brochures and audio-visual materials, such as video tape, describing the operations of the systems.
- Step V: Implementation
This will entail the actual installation of the equipment, as well as designing and purchasing the transmission systems. This will require the presence of a highly qualified engineer or technician, because technical problems are inevitable during the installation process. Furthermore, a clear communication among the principals will be essential during the process.
Nowadays, more and more people prefer to work remotely as in such a way, one has more time for family life, fulfillment of house chores, studying, etc. Moreover, remote work in college has become one of the main sources of income for those students, who want soma extra cash or are in need of earning money for living on their own.
Despite remote work is convenient for some people, it may involve lots of challenges for others like the lack of self-discipline, social interaction, deterioration of communicative skills, etc. In order to improve the conditions of remote work and to get rid of the challenges, it is recommended to use video conferencing calls.
How video conferences can remove remote work challenges?
Poor interaction vs. Better interaction.
First of all, regular video conferencing with your team members eliminates the misunderstanding gap, which is quite a frequent thing while working remotely. Video calls provide both an employer and an employee with the ability to communicate in more “in person” manner as well as to follow person’s non-verbal means of communication, which are important elements of interaction.
Impaired Discipline vs. Discipline Improvement.
One of the problems that employers encounter while dealing with remote workers is procrastination, which leads to the unfulfilled tasks and missed deadlines. Because of the lack of self-discipline, which is very common among freelance workers, it is of utmost importance to have a person responsible for organizing video calls and reminding about deadlines as well as praising remote employees for completing assignments in time.
Lack of Growth vs. Personal Development.
In fact, those people who dedicate themselves to remote work are at risk of social isolation and deterioration of their ambition level to develop, alter and improve. With the help of video conferencing, during which you can hold team-building sessions, it is easier to encourage your employee to keep developing and never stop on what they’ve gained. Provide your team members with some valuable information about extension courses. Keep in mind that a versatile worker is a valuable asset to your business.
Cultural Difference vs. Cultural Experience.
Remote work often involves cooperation with people from different cities, countries and even continents, which means that their views and approaches to work will be different. On the one side, it may seem as a cultural barrier. However, there is nothing better than to discover the diversity of other nations and build up a great team based on various interests and ideas. Virtual meetings with employees from all over the world help to create a virtual space for best work ideas’ generation.
Working remotely can be less challenging and problematic if to know the ways of its improvement. Learn to take an advantage from video conferencing in order to solve remote work problems and difficulties that might occur in the future with your employees.
In the last few years, a remarkable change in the way companies conduct business has been apparent. This has been in reaction to global technological dynamics and the emergence of a new way of conducting business and remaining competitive in the increasingly global and virtual world. Large number of employees are working from the remote offices, regions, and distant deployment, while their customers and business partners are located all over the world. As the companies strive to enhance their productivity while minimizing the costs, they need to support the growing number of dispersed workers and customers. As a result, videoconferencing has emerged as the best alternative to constant business travels. Business meetings that required face-to-face communication can now be executed over the internet through the use of videoconferencing. In this article, the difficulties encountered by the company due to the absence of videoconference have been outlined. Furthermore, the videoconference’s benefits have been discussed in details to show its importance in increasing business productivity, and the prerequisites required before implementation of the technology for the company were outlined. A business practices that support the videoconference solution have also been discussed in details. Lastly, a recommendation and a high level implementation strategy have been provided.