Video Conferencing – Literally Changing The Face Of Business

Business is as much about communication with peers as it is engaging with your customers.

To communicate effectively, many companies now use one form of video conferencing, whether it be internal or externally. However, does the fact that the technology is available mean that we should use it, and if so, to what extent?

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To “Skype” or not to Skype

Undoubtedly the most popular of all platforms, Skype has achieved a status of success shared with few other technology brands – in which the brand name itself becomes a verb, i.e. to “Skype” someone.

Founded in 2003 and originally known as “Skype”, later to change to Skype due to the fact that not all web domains were available for the original choice and later updated in 2006, Skype remains the application that brought video conferencing to the masses.

Some suggest that remote communications are detrimental to business practice and are causing us to lose valuable business skills. In my own personal business experiences, this is quite the contrary. Video conferencing has connected me with people that I would have only communicated with through email, thus enhancing my skills with a variety of people.

Impress your Business Network

The commitment of scheduling such a meeting online gives gravitas to any business relationship due to the fact that you are clearly interacting with the human directly – a feat that requires logic and thinking rather than waiting for the staggered carefully measured and even vetted response of an email.

For the small business owner then, video and audio conferencing can be used to give access to an otherwise unachievable network of associates in a higher status of relationship than would otherwise be the case involving communication methods such as email.

For most, especially small businesses, it is not possible to physically attend a meeting in a neighbouring country, let alone the other side of the world. This can either be as a measured gesture of intent to do business, or an attempt to do business itself.

It is then we realise that video conferencing is not an alternative, but is a method of business in its own right.

What is the right approach?

A white paper by Professor Richard D. Arvey, Ph.D. of the National University of Singapore Business school concluded that successful business meetings require “coordination, consensus, timing, persuasion of others, etc”. Which are “less effectively accomplished using computer mediated communication modalities”.

This should not be taken as a reason to abandon video conferencing though. Yes, it may be harder to communicate through video conferencing, but if it was as successful as face to face, then would we never arrange a meeting again?

To what extent, either positive or negative, advances in technology have on business communication are of course impossible to track. It is only one element in securing a sale or forging a new partnership.

Technology provides us with tools to be utilised as and when necessary, and with video conferencing, I cannot see businesses hanging up any time soon.

Do you enjoy using Skype or video conferencing for business or social use? Join the debate!

Dan Izzard is a technology blogger, writing for Intercall, looking at the technology that has changed the face of business such as the integration of unified desktop and video conferencing.

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