Talking freely

Why web-conferencing is the way forward


Why web-conferencing is the way forward

Oliver Thompson, managing director of training company Transphorm, decided to cut his company’s travel costs by using video-conferencing, a move that he says has saved around £5,000 a year.

Why web-conferencing is the way forward

‘Before we started using it we did a lot of travelling. Obviously, nothing can replace a face-to-face interaction when it comes to training, but if it’s just a straightforward question about how to solve a certain problem, then this is the perfect answer.’

Thompson says web-conferencing allows the company to retain its ‘personal service’ to customers without wasting unnecessary time. ‘Beforehand, staff were having to leave the office for half a day at a time to answer questions that we now resolve in half an hour,’ he says. ‘We also use it for training through PowerPoint, which has cut the cost of having to print workbooks.’

Tracy Walker, partner at web design business Big Oxford Computer Company, says this form of interaction can sometimes be a more effective way to communicate with clients when seeking their views on proposals.

‘During our discussions, anyone can see the screen and take control over it in order to highlight their points. It’s immediate and interactive and you get instant feedback on designs. Doing screen grabs and then conversing over email wouldn’t really work, as it’s so easy to misconstrue things when you’re communicating that way,’ she says.

The big screen

However, for those unconvinced by the idea of fiddling around with a webcam and squinting at a computer screen, particularly during more formal meetings, telepresence could be the answer.

‘This is a much more immersive solution than using a webcam,’ enthuses Sarah Eccleston, business manager at network communications company Cisco. ‘We’ve worked with a film studio to get the best video and sound techniques, and the life-sized images that appear on the 65-inch screens make you feel that you’re in the same room.’

Eccleston says the average cost for such a service is about £20,000. Although this will usually exclude small and mid-sized companies, there are 135 telepresence rooms in locations across the world available for hire at between £250 and £300 an hour.

‘When you think about how expensive airfares and accommodation can be, this really can save a company lots of money,’ adds Eccleston.

Nick Britton

Lexus Ernser

Nick was the Managing Editor for growthbusiness.co.uk when it was owned by Vitesse Media, before moving on to become Head of Investment Group and Editor at What Investment and thence to Head of Intermediary...

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