How To Save Money By Holding Meetings Online

The rising price of fuel is encouraging all businesses to look at different ways to reduce business travel.

The use of multi-media web conferencing applications is one option that is becoming increasingly viable. Savings of $2,000 per year per executive can be achieved according to certain technology experts.

Web conferencing has been taken to a new level by the introduction of high-speed, multi-megabyte broadband connections. A combination of real-time video, audio, instant messaging and application sharing can enable colleagues to see and hear each other while working simultaneously on the same documents anywhere in the world. All that is required is a headset and microphone plus optional webcam.

There are more sophisticated services available which allow people to participate in an online meeting using devices such as laptops, 3G mobile phones, or video conferencing facilities.

In the past, the quality experienced of both audio and video was notoriously poor due to slow internet connections. There were also severe restrictions on numbers attending online meetings due to strains on the limited bandwidth available.

Online meetings were also overlooked due to the security concerns that surrounded them. The use of an open network to conduct a private meeting always gave rise to a possible threat to confidentiality.

The good news for business is that these problems have now largely been sorted out, and a fiercely competitive market is growing rapidly--attracting internet giants such as Microsoft. Even better news is that prices are being driven down by this competition, and fully managed online conferencing services are now within the grasp of even the smallest business.

But before you allocate a huge chunk of next year's budget on web conferencing services take a good look at what your business really needs to improve productivity and efficiency.

For example, live video conferencing is not for everybody. Many firms will get the most benefit from instant messaging or VoIP ("voice over internet protocol") service, possibly combined with application sharing.

Another word of warning. If you require outside parties to participate in online meetings, be careful not to use a provider who insists on all participants using their proprietary software.

A final precaution: ensure that all media being used in the conference are encompassed by any encryption facilities that are being used.

Mark Vandorone is the founder and CEO of Five Marketing, a quality provider of highly targeted traffic for your online advertising campaigns. For more information go to http://www.fivemarketing.com


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