Much of the recent discussion about video conferencing and telepresence revolves around their ability to replace travel, and the associated cost and time savings. But business continuity is a critical benefit that is now more pertinent than ever with the CDC’s prediction that up to 40% of the population will be impacted by Swine Flu in the coming months.
With the CDC recommending that people who have symptoms or have been exposed to others with symptoms stay home, telework is fast becoming a must have for companies preparing to deal with mass absences. Telework has historically drawn mixed feelings from managers who don’t want to lose control, and employees who don’t want to lose face-time. Video conferencing solves these concerns by enabling workers to instantly interact face-to-face as easily as making a phone call. The advanced content sharing abilities of today’s systems maintains the same level of collaboration and productivity for workers as if they were in the office – sometimes even more.
Watch this interview with TANDBERG Americas President Rick Snyder about the business continuity benefits of telework and how it’s enhanced by visual communications:
We’ve got a busy month planned – we’re visiting three shows in August to share how our video conferencing technology can create a stronger, more efficient and greener America. With the Administration’s interest in cutting expenses and operating more effectively, government agencies are looking for ways to increase productivity and become more environmentally-friendly at manageable costs, while continuing to meet constituent needs.
Our first show started yesterday. We are at Booth #518 at the GSA Networx Conference in Chicago through August 13. We are showing how high-definition video conferencing and mobile video products and services can increase collaboration and allow cooperation between government employees regardless of the distance between them.
From August 18-20, we will be at Booth #539 at Army LandWarNet in Ft. Lauderdale. We will be sharing how video conferencing can reduce the need to travel and enable face-to-face, real-time collaboration from the battlefield to Command and Control centers across the globe.
In late August, we head to Air Force Information Technology 2009 (AFITC) in Montgomery, Alabama. We will be at Booth # 314 from August 24-27. This year’s theme is The Warfighter’s Edge in Battlespace, and the show will focus on how advanced technology deployed by the Air Force gives our nation’s warfighters an unprecedented advantage over our adversaries. We look forward to showcasing how video conferencing can give our military a vital technological edge by allowing for face-to-face communication on the move, keeping them in contact with commanders wherever they may be.
TANDBERG will be posting about what’s happening during these shows throughout the month. Keep an eye here to find out about hot topics and what the government is looking for in technology.
Will you be at GSA Networx, Army LandWarNet or AFITC? Stop by to say hello and learn more about video conferencing.
Three key things businesses should consider when choosing visual communications solutions are:
1.Quality of video:
To experience the optimal benefits of video communications, HD quality is absolute. With anything less than HD video, you quickly begin to lose the feeling of connectedness with the person on the other end because facial expressions, reactions, and visual cues become less apparent. This is a key differentiator between business caliber video and consumer video.
2. Total experience
When considering the entire video experience, ask: Is it easy to connect with everyone in the organization via multipoint calls? Can you collaborate by showing desktops and applications? Is the solution easy to deploy, manage, and scale as you grow? Does the quality the video projects reflect well on your business’ image?
Lastly, because consumer PC video solutions are web-based and not designed for business use, they may be susceptible to security risks which can result in confidential information getting into the wrong hands.
Monday was Statewide Telework Day in Virginia, during which companies and individuals were encouraged to work from home or a remote location to save energy and increase efficiencies. The initiative grew from Governor Tim Kaine’s push to reduce energy consumption by state offices.
The Governor’s office sees telework as a business strategy that can have a positive impact on a company’s bottom line, improve organizational efficiency, and reduce traffic on Virginia’s roads. Here at TANDBERG, we practice telework on a regular basis as a way to decrease our company’s carbon footprint. We have the added benefit of video conferencing systems in our homes and on our laptops, so we can conduct face-to-face meetings with colleagues, customers or partners from wherever we work.
In the past year, the TANDBERG telework program has allowed us to replace much of our unnecessary business travel with in-person video calls, effectively helped us save 21,000 metric tons of carbon emissions, over $45 million in travel costs, and about 38,250 productivity hours.
On Statewide Telework Day, approximately 75 of our Reston, VA, employees participated, eliminating almost two metric tons of carbon emissions and creating almost 100 hours of productivity by allowing employees to avoid traffic.
Did your organization participate in Telework Day?
Media reports show that joblessness is growing and that spending is down, but, remarkably, the economy should see a rebound in the second half of 2009. Some say that recovery is dependent on jobs, because spending will only go up when jobs are realized.
An interesting side effect of this recession’s unemployment has been the boost in people who are enrolling in teacher training courses. According to a recent Washington Post article, interest in teacher preparation programs geared toward job-changers is rising sharply and applications to a national retraining program based in 20 cities rose 30 percent this year.
This is good news for education, since almost two million teachers are expected to retire from public schools in the next decade. It should also be interesting to see what the effect of pulling teachers from corporate America will have on the system as a whole. They have to learn how to engage distracted and possibly bored students, according to the report, but they could also bring exciting change.
Putting experienced professionals who are used to working in technologically advanced situations could lead to great innovation and put new teaching methods on a fast track. Technologies like interactive blackboards have changed the way children learn and Kindle could be used to save a few pounds in a backpack.
Some classrooms have already revolutionized learning through video conferencing. Classrooms across the United States use it to take children in rural areas on virtual field trips, to unite classrooms and children in different parts of the world to offer exciting cultural insights and to bring experts into classrooms that otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity to learn from them.
A great example is how Cooperating School Districts (CSD) of Greater St. Louis uses video conferencing to save money, share resources and create educational excellence for the 300,000+ students it serves. CSD is as a consortium of 65 school districts in the St. Louis metropolitan area, as well as four outlying counties and St. Louis City. It uses video conferencing technology for electronic field trips, collaborative projects across school districts and bringing authors or experts from cultural institutions into the classroom, as well as staff development and global connections.
With resources at a low not seen since the Great Depression, maximizing technology for education makes increasing sense. Upfront expenditure can create exponential reward, not only by saving a school money and time over years, but also by turning an ordinary classroom into an extraordinary learning environment.