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Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  21 Jan 2011

TELECOMMUNICATIONS: Video Conferencing - It's Becoming Mainstream and Its Green

 





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Video conferencing, despite its numerous benefits, has been prohibitively expensive in South Africa and generally not a viable proposition due to the limited availability and expense associated with bandwidth. Now, however, bandwidth is becoming less costly and more readily available, and companies are considering it a useful alternative to face-to-face meetings. Besides cutting down on travel time and costs and enhancing productivity, video conferencing can help reduce a company's carbon footprint.

"There are different types of video conferencing which can be used in different environments and which will suit different situations. Many of us are already familiar with the Skype-type IP chat application where a webcam (often built into the laptop or mounted on the VDU) gives people a view of each other while they communicate.

"More sophisticated solutions allow a group of people at their desks to link into a single hub or virtual meeting place," notes Fick. "Here, images from each location allow participants to see one another, perhaps in the form of a bank of images on a PC or wall mounted display device. And more expensive setups may be found in the boardrooms of larger corporates, making important meetings with regional or even in-country executives around the globe a reality."

These solutions may be simple, with images on monitors or screens, or may enter the realms of science fiction, allowing a group of people in one location to look at a life-size screen showing people 'opposite' them - as though they were literally on the other side of the table.

The total cost of ownership of a video conferencing solution is significantly lower when considering the costs of travel and the associated lost productivity. In addition, video conferencing lessens the impact on the environment which is on almost every corporate agenda today. "As bandwidth availability and reliability have increased, so video conferencing has become more viable. As long as you have enough reliable bandwidth, you can do all the voice, video and data sharing you need to," says Fick.

Many larger global organisations have been using some form of video conferencing for years. "Today, in South Africa, it's also becoming more mainstream as large communication platform vendors include it in their offerings. It's a natural progression to include it in a unified communication solution. The technology works well and the bandwidth is increasingly available at an acceptable price - it's just a matter of increasing awareness, changing the business culture, and making the decision to adopt," notes Fick.


 
 
 
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