Part One Organizations, Management, and the Networked Enterprise
INTERACTIVE SESSION: MANAGEMENT
VIRTUAL MEETINGS: SMART MANAGEMENT
Instead of taking that 6:30 A.M. plane to make a round of meetings in Dallas, wouldn’t it be great if you could attend these events without leaving your desktop? Today you can, thanks to technologies for videoconferencing and for hosting online meetings over the Web. A June 2008 report issued by 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. A videoconference allows individuals at two or more locations to communicate simultaneously through ...view middle of the document...
Executive recruiting firm Korn/Ferry International uses video interviews to screen potential candidates before presenting them to clients. Today’s state-of-the-art videoconferencing systems display sharp high-definition TV images. The top-ofthe-line videoconferencing technology is known as telepresence. Telepresence strives to make users feel as if they are actually present in a location different from their own. You can sit across a table from a large screen showing someone who looks quite real and life-size, but may be in Brussels or Hong Kong. Only the handshake and exchange of business cards are missing. Telepresence products provide the highest-quality videoconferencing available on the market to date. Cisco Systems has installed telepresence systems in more than 500 organizations around the world. Prices for fully equipped telepresence rooms can run to $500,000. Companies able to afford this technology report large savings. For example, technology consulting firm Accenture reports that it eliminated expenditures for 240 international trips and 120 domestic flights in a single month. The ability to reach customers and partners is also dramatically increased. Other business travelers report tenfold increases in the number of customers and partners they are able to reach for a fraction of the previous price per person. MetLife, which installed Cisco Telepresence in three dedicated conference rooms in Chicago, New York, and New Jersey, claims that the technology not only saved time and expense but also helped the company meet its “green” environmental goals of reducing carbon emissions by 20 percent in 2010. Videoconferencing products have not traditionally been feasible for small businesses, but another company, LifeSize, has introduced an affordable line of products as low as $5,000. Overall, the product is easy to use and will allow many smaller companies to use a high-quality videoconferencing product. There are even some free Internet-based options like Skype videoconferencing and ooVoo. These products are of lower quality than traditional videoconferencing products, and they are proprietary, meaning they can only talk to others using that very same system. Most videoconferencing and telepresence products are able to interact with a variety of other devices. Higher-end systems include features like multi-party conferencing, video mail with unlimited storage, no long-distance fees, and a detailed call history. Companies of all sizes are finding Web-based online meeting tools such as WebEx, Microsoft Office Live Meeting, and Adobe Acrobat Connect especially helpful for training and sales presentations. These products enable participants to share
Chapter 2 Global E-business and Collaboration
documents and presentations in conjunction with audioconferencing and live video via Webcam. Cornerstone Information Systems, a Bloomington, Indiana, business software company with 60 employees, cut its travel costs by 60 percent and the...