The Impact Of Videoconferencing In Organizations

3681 words - 15 pages

The Impact of Videoconferencing in Organizations

This report analyses the various influences of videoconferencing, both positive and negative, and evaluates its usefulness in organisations. One of the major points of discussion is how face-to-face meetings, whether virtual or physical, have been affected by the embracing of this new technology by various organisations and groups. Due to the radical nature in which traditional meetings and appointments have been challenged by videoconferencing, many issues have arisen regarding its application, like whether video-conferencing actually improves communication? Another important discussion involves the cost-saving benefits to ...view middle of the document...

Nevertheless, caution must still be applied to videoconferencing, like any new device, with concern now emerging regarding the negative consequences of such technology. These extend too many areas for example interaction, psychological outcomes, and team dynamics.

POSITIVE OUTCOMES

A primary impact of videoconferencing is that it allows more people to conduct work from home. This has many implications such as reducing the levels of travel needed by employees and increasing the time they can spend with their family, etc. This aspect is particularly exciting in relation to disabled citizens, enabling them to do much of their work in the home office environment. It is important to note however, that this benefit is unevenly distributed throughout society. This is because people who require more sophisticated equipment or environments (assembly lines, construction areas, etc), have to be at their place of work and cannot operate from home.

Videoconferencing provides a cost-effective means of bringing a firm’s managers and employers together with customers. Estimates are that the average cost of a videoconference is about 10 percent that of a physical meeting. This is supported by research in the Business Research International showing that videoconferencing can provide businesses with a 90% saving, versus the cost of travelling to the meeting in person. This is another example of an uneven distribution in society, due to the fact that such systems will be of greater benefit to larger companies, who have clients in a wider variety of locations.

In the hotel industry, videoconferencing has given hotels the opportunity to diversify business by investing in and providing videoconferencing facilities. This is because some users are also likely to use a combination of in-house and off-site facilities, to meet peak demand and to deal with simultaneous bookings of meetings. Bjorn Hanson, National hospitality chairman at Coopers and Lybrand, states that “hotels can play a large role in this continuing evolution of communications technology – if they enter the market now.” He also adds that hotels are in a good position to provide videoconferencing facilities because they already offer complementary services. This presents an unexpected and paradoxical effect in that hotels can take advantage of this threatening technology, to maintain or increase business profits in the face of reduced travel volumes.

Another positive consequence of videoconferencing has been the marked ability it provides to interact face-to-face with clients, providing an extremely rich communication experience without the need to travel. This has allowed firms to greatly increase their presence by maintaining fast, convenient meetings with their clients. Face-to-face meetings are even more important depending upon emphasis of culture. This is supported by Leo Cortjens, vice president and general manager of Asia-Pacific operations for Polycom, who mentions “video becomes...

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