Videoconferencing Returns Hours To Your Day
Principal Consultant - AV / Multimedia / Video / UC,
Director of Emerging Technology, IMCCA
By now, everyone has heard how the successful implementation of collaborative communication tools increases productivity. Many people look to videoconferencing to minimize business travel (and the related costs), increase productivity among a dispersed workforce, and improve the quality of interpersonal communications for employees, potential employees, and customers.
What people haven't spent a lot of time discussing is videoconferencing's ability to add hours to the business day. This perspective has a number of multifaceted examples.
The most obvious and frequently highlighted example is business travel avoidance. We all understand that when an executive uses a high-quality telepresence room to avoid a business class ticket from New York to London, organizations save money. Add up the cost of the ticket and the other expenses, and you can easily avoid a minimum of ten thousand US dollars per trip.
Also, think about the time involved. Not just the hours in flight, but the hour it takes to get the airport, the two hours early one has to arrive to clear security, the hour to clear customs -- not to mention the time it takes the traveler or her assistant to arrange the trip, pack, and organize. That's anywhere from eight to 20 hours of time lost that a videoconferencing experience can prevent.
The more mundane examples of time-saving actually occur more frequently. Collaboration tools including videoconferencing have made working remotely a win-win experience. This scenario is becoming more widely embraced in the workplace as older managers (often biased against teleworking) retire, and organizations see the real savings in less office space, telephones, etc., not to mention the benefits to the environment.
Additionally, a recent Stanford University study documented how working from home actually improved the performance and productivity of employees.
Putting aside these proven benefits for a moment and just looking at the time-savings reveals results that go far beyond simple business travel avoidance.
Assuming a one-hour commute to/from an office (which is often less than actual commutes), twice a day, five times a week, 50 weeks out of the year -- the amount of time made available is 500 hours. That's just about three full weeks a year of time returned to the employee, resulting in everything from increased productivity to better work/life balance.
To really understand the time-saving benefits that videoconferencing can produce, we have to look at scenarios that are harder to document. The emergence of desktop video systems -- both high-end appliances and PC-based systems -- has made the concept of "video dial tone" a reality. Everyone from executives on down the line can initiate a high-quality collaborative communication experience whenever needed. It usually begins with something like this:
Hi. R U There?
Can I show u the client preso so we can discuss tomorrow's Mtg?
Sure, free now
The next click of a button or a mouse opens a videoconference with content sharing. Few would argue with the productivity increases such a unified communications experience allows. But how much time was saved? While this will differ from instance to instance, here is a list of things that didn't have to happen:
· The opening of a calendaring application and finding time on the schedules of the people involved
· Sending an invitation to the participants
· Contacting a central reservation system/team to find/reserve meeting rooms
· Distributing the meeting room information/video calling information
· Arranging for the needed (and often separate) AV/videoconferencing support
· Editing the presentation into a presentable format and emailing it to the participants (or printing it for the participants)
· Walking down the hall/taking an elevator to the next floor, or going to the nearby building to actually get to the meeting room.
Even a conservative estimate of all the steps above would yield a savings of 30 minutes per meeting. If you have only 100 meetings a year, that's still a savings of 50 hours, and in this case, it’s always time that goes back to the organization for increased productivity.
Videoconferencing represents the only real time machine that organizations can buy!
This blog was written by David Danto and contains solely his own, personal opinions. It originally was published at UBM’s “The Video Enterprise” website that was closed down November 1st 2012. Here is a link to the Google cache of the page with comments. I do not know how long Google keeps these pages.
David has over 30 years of experience providing problem solving leadership and innovation in media and unified communications technologies for various firms in the corporate, broadcasting and academic worlds including AT&T, Bloomberg LP, FNN, Morgan Stanley, NYU, Lehman Brothers and JP Morgan Chase. He recently joined Dimension Data as their Principal Consultant for the collaboration, multimedia, video and AV disciplines. He is also the IMCCA’s Director of Emerging Technology. David can be reached at David.Danto@Dimensiondata.com or DDanto@imcca.org he can be followed on Twitter @NJDavidD , and his full bio and other blogs and articles can be seen at Danto.info.