Video Conferencing for Small Businesses

by Louie Beaupre
11/16/2015 10:29:01 AM

Video conferences can sometimes be more productive than a general over-the-phone conference call. What are some of the advantages and disadvantages of using this technology?

Rethinking “Work”

The simple fact of the matter is that technology has fundamentally changed the way we work. When we were children, having a job meant driving to an office or a factory, doing the work that you were trained for, putting in eight hours and then clocking out and going home. Today, big technology companies have stopped even setting work hours or days. Workers come to the office, or they don’t, but the availability of new technologies like chat software and workflow programs means that they are always available, anytime, wherever they are. It doesn’t matter if they’re in a coffee shop in downtown Denver or on a plane to China. Video conferencing is an important part of this shift, and it can benefit your small business. By giving your employees the ability to video conference in, it lends them a level of trust and responsibility that could potentially lead to more dynamic and engaging work.

Sharing Resources

One of the biggest advantages of video technology is the ability to share one’s screen with other conference participants. This means that if a project manager is working, for example, on a slideshow to accompany a quarterly business review for a client, they can share the slide deck and update it in real time by conferencing in other project members. It’s a more interactive and engaging way for employees to collaborate using advanced video technology.

Modern Disadvantages

As with any new technology, there are certain disadvantages and obstacles to overcome. In terms of human engagement, a video conference disrupts traditional employee engagement, ranging from high-fives to water cooler gossip to playing in the company’s sports brackets. Video technology is also hugely dependent on bandwidth. If Comcast decides to hold yet another “unannounced outage” during an important video conference with a client, the results can be stressful and embarrassing for the employee who cannot connect. The best systems are also multi-platform (the so called “Bring Your Own Device” model) but the complexities of making video conferencing work across multiple smart device, phone and computer platforms can bring their own bugs.

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