Can videoconferencing replace a drive across town for one-on-one meetings?

Traffic_Article_78Videoconferencing can certainly replace the drive across town. Some are doing this right now, and in the future just about all of us will eliminate the drive across town altogether.  First thing to consider is the videoconferencing technology and how people are doing it now.  There are many ways to meet across town now – Skype; Facetime; Tango; GoToMeeting; Easymeeting; Webex; Adobe; Google Hangouts; and this list keeps growing.  You can certainly meet across town or across the country with any of the above platforms, but there are four inherent problems with the above examples if you want to meet across town in a business context.

The first problem is the party to whom you want to meet must have a subscription or license with the app you are meeting on.  If you are making sales calls across town this is an annoying imposition on your prospect or client. The second problem is all of these apps are operating in conferencing silos.  In other words if you want to invite a third party to your meeting they will also need a subscription or a license on an application which operates in that restricting platform or conferencing silo.  The third problem, many videoconferencing applications only work on a PC.  The person you want to visit may have a mobile device like an iPad or iPhone.  In any event, if you are making business calls across town or you’re a doctor seeing patients, you need something easy to implement and use for the party you are visiting.  The fourth problem is collaboration.  In most business meetings documents are shared and this is difficult and impossible to collaborate with several of the above applications.

Our company uses videoconferencing every day to make sales calls across town.  The technology we use is Scopia by Radvision/Avaya.  The videoconferencing technology eliminates all four problems.  The prospect we are meeting with downloads a free videoconferencing plug-in from our server.  They can meet via PC; Mac; or Mobile device.  Because this plug-in is standards based we can meet right in the client’s boardroom on a standards based videoconferencing system allowing us to meet with all the decision makers at one time.  Additionally if one of our associates needs to pop in on the meeting and they are on the road, they can call from a cell phone.  Because we are in a “virtual room” all parties can share documents with one touch.  We can also annotate over these documents with a built in white board.  Also, there is complete encrypted security.

Having a business meeting on the standards based Scopia plug-in vs. the above proprietary applications is like going from having a meeting in a phone booth versus having a meeting in a very nice conference room with all the amenities.  Participants always leave the meeting very impressed.

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