Global competition is increasing at an unabated pace, and travel isn’t making life any easier. Hundreds of thousands of travelers are being stranded or delayed in airports daily due to emergency safety inspections, the latest in a series of widespread air travel crises in 2008. The recent travel delays come after the airline industry’s worst year ever for on-time performance. In 2007, the Federal Aviation Administration reported that 27 percent of U.S. airline flights were cancelled or delayed.
Tempting as it may be to simply swear off flying forever, it is important to keep one fact in mind: employees travel because the phone and email aren’t enough to stay in sync with their colleagues around the world. The need to connect is so powerful that people continue to travel despite the delays and cost. LifeSize Communications, the global leader in high definition video communications, believes that telepresence is a far superior alternative to travel.
“Now is the ideal time to introduce high definition video in your organization,” said Craig Malloy, LifeSize CEO. “High definition video delivers cost savings immediately and boosts productivity quickly. It is the best investment you can make with your IT dollar – or your travel budget.”
“High definition makes video communication a pleasant business experience,” said Malloy. “The image is clear. The motion is fluid. It feels natural, like being in the same room with someone. You have eye contact, you connect, and the ideas flow. Users get as much in and out of a session as they might in a face-to-face meeting, but without the cost and pain of modern business travel.”
By implementing video communication as an alternative to travel, companies can immediately reduce expenses and quickly see gains in productivity and business performance thanks to improved communication, accelerated business decision cycles, increased employee morale and decreased turnover. These benefits are now available to companies of any size.
More than 25 percent of U.S. mid-market companies have more than 10 locations, many of which are outside the United States. Implementing high definition video communications eliminates frequent trips between company locations, resulting in enormous cost savings and productivity gains. Once viewed as an expensive, complex technology only found in the large global enterprises, LifeSize has developed systems that bring telepresence to any room for less than $5000.
“We did not have videoconferencing in our IT budget for the year,” said Greg Baxter, Director of IT and Targeted Marketing for Atlanta-based Vanguard Truck Centers, a LifeSize customer. “But the LifeSize system paid for itself almost immediately through travel savings.”
Industry analyst Peter Brockmann of Brockmann & Company sees high definition video as one of the most productive investments a company can make.
“Our research shows that companies that use video more have higher customer satisfaction, higher employee satisfaction, and higher revenue per employee,” said Brockmann. “There is a strong correlation between video adoption and business performance.”
Brockmann noted that travel and turnover have long been correlated and recent travel nightmares have made travel a hot-button issue for human resource professionals. “Top performing people don’t need to stay in a job that has them wasting time in airports, so smart employers need to keep their best employees happy. With high definition video, you’re providing a tool that lets them be more productive and travel less, which improves satisfaction and retention.”
“The value of being face-to-face with our employees, even though they are states away, is priceless,” said Baxter. “We actually enjoy using LifeSize so much, the only time we use our cell or desk phones is when we’re away from the system!”
LifeSize’s all-HD video product portfolio is now the industry’s broadest and most affordable high definition product line, ranging from simple point-to-point video video conferencing systems to highly customized, multi-display, multi-HD camera video systems. All LifeSize products provide stunning quality that delivers an immersive, high definition telepresence experience over existing broadband networks. Compared to expensive telepresence suites costing hundreds of thousands of dollars, LifeSize systems start at as little as $4999.
“At that price, you can do the math in your head – a few domestic business trips or a single international trip and the system has paid for itself,” said Malloy. “The HD dividends continue to roll in as you see other productivity gains – days previously lost to travel are now days spent moving the business forward.”