Meetings tool delivers better productivity and saves costs, writes Eric Greenop.

For businesses keeping an eye on their carbon footstep, video conferencing can be a viable option.

Companies that have multiple locations can find video conferencing a useful resource for boosting staff interconnectivity that will deliver better productivity and save costs.

What are the challenges businesses face that video conferencing technology can help to solve?


Every business has to watch its bottom line, but companies that are spread across the country - or even the world - and need staff to travel regularly to do business are going to face a sizeable travel bill each year.

What video conferencing does is put people in multiple locations in a natural face-to-face meeting setting.

This allows for just the kind of personal interactions that happen if they were in the same room, without anyone having to travel anywhere.

This not only saves the cost of the flights, but also the time of the staff.

How do staff respond to the technology when it is installed in their company?

In our experience, companies find the more their staff use video conferencing, the more it becomes a natural part of their everyday business interactions and the more opportunities they see to engage with it.

Because the audio and video systems we provide today are so easy to use, most staff feel comfortable about jumping on it to have even just a quick meeting with someone in another part of the world, or use it for everything from staff briefings and formal board meetings to product training or pitch presentation.

What has video conferencing done for businesses?

Asnet's video-conferencing technology has helped the Gallagher Group, one of New Zealand's most successful international companies, save thousands of dollars in travel costs and unite its global operations staff.

The Gallagher Group, known for its invention of the electric fence in the 1930s, has a number of specialist business units and distributes to more than 130 countries worldwide, including Australia, Europe, Hong Kong, North America and South Africa.

Last year, it trialled a video-conferencing solution that enabled communication between staff at its corporate headquarters in Hamilton and their associates in the Netherlands.

The savings brought about by the reduction in staff travel were immediately apparent.

The teams were able to communicate much more effectively than they ever had by email or phone.

To be able to sit down face-to-face with team members on the other side of the world, and see facial expressions and body language meant they could collaborate easily and solve issues much more quickly.

Professional Property Cleaning Services, which manages a national network of more than 400 cleaners, found that after installing its video-conferencing system about six months ago, it saved more than $3000 a month on travel, training and administration costs.

Other benefits included increasing productivity and idea-sharing and fast crisis management.

What is the future of video-conferencing technology?

Typically, initial usage for video-conferencing systems is internal, but businesses are increasingly using the technology to connect to businesses outside of their own, such as suppliers and even customers.

It is becoming an expectation that companies have systems that can interconnect.

Video conferencing will soon become as common as the telephone, not only within a business environment but also for individuals.

The popularity of mobile technology, including smart phones and tablets, is paving the way for video conferencing to become a core component of business.