Case in Brief: For many businesses, extensive travel is a fact of life. The expenses incurred by business travel have been steadily rising in recent years, primarily due to increasing energy costs. In an effort to reduce travel expenses, many companies, both large and small, are using videoconferencing and Web conferencing technologies. Videoconferencing figures to have an impact on the business world in other ways, as well. More employees maybe able to work closer to home and balance their work and personal lives more efficiently; traditional office environments and corporate headquarters may shrink or disappear; and freelancers, contractors, and workers from other countries will become a larger portion of the global economy.
Q. 1: One consulting firm has predicted that video and Web conferencing will make business travel extinct. Do you agree? Why or why not?
Ans.: We don’t agree with this consulting firm. Because from the case, we see that, the global e- Sustainability Initiative and the climate Group estimated that up to 20 percent of business travel could be replaced by virtual meeting technology. So, without revolutionary improvement of technology business travel can’t be extinct.
Q. 2: What is the distinction between videoconferencing and telepresence?
Ans.: Many in the end user community are very familiar with videoconferencing, a solution set that has been around for over twenty years. Videoconferencing provides two-way, interactive audio and video communications between two or more end points. In the past decade, videoconferencing technology and products have advanced along multiple fronts – including the move to IP networks that provide higher bandwidth, lower costs, and vastly improved connection reliability; the evolution from low resolution to high resolution images and now to high definition (720p and 1080i) video; and equally important - the advances from tinny, low bandwidth (3 kHz) AM-quality audio to 7, 14, and even 22 kHz wideband, stereo, spatial audio that is equivalent to CD quality, greatly improving speech intelligibility while vastly reducing “meeting fatigue.”
Many people are confused by the concept of telepresence. For some, the mere mention of telepresence conjures up images of traveling to remote galaxies without leaving the comfort of one’s living room sofa, or to remote business locations without leaving one’s own conference room. This fantasy is exactly what the telepresence suppliers are starting to deliver.
The most common videoconferencing-centric question Wainhouse Research is asked today is: “what is the difference between telepresence and videoconferencing”? To answer this question and to help define different market segments, we offer the following definition of telepresence:
Telepresence solutions use video and audio conferencing components as well as other “arts and sciences” to create a two-way immersive communications experience that simulates an in-person, interactive encounter.
In fact, many elements embedded in “traditional” videoconferencing systems (self-view, moving cameras, etc.) are intentionally left out of telepresence systems since they would break the “immersive” experience or shatter the “sitting across the same table” illusion.
Q. 3: What are the ways in which videoconferencing provides value to a business? Would you consider it smart management? Explain your answer.
Ans.: Soft value to a business:
Perhaps the most under-appreciated benefits are soft benefits, those that are difficult and sometimes impossible to quantify with precision. Soft benefits include:
Faster Decision Making and Shorter Time to Market The team-oriented structure of modern organizations means that many decisions require insight and approval from many different sources. Electronic meeting tools enable dispersed teams to collaborate easily, solving problems and speeding coordination – ultimately...