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Limitations of video conferencing in business

Today we value letters of the past. They give us a gateway to what life was like back then. What does our future hold though? Are people one day going to pay money for printed emails? Communication through out time has changed as technology has advanced. Where as once, letters were the normal mode of communication; with technology, our normal mode of communication has become email and instant messaging. Advancements in technology are also changing the way businesses operate.

Whereas travel was par for an executive, it is now being replaced with videoconferencing. What is videoconferencing? “Videoconferencing is a means of conducting a live conference that provides a reasonable facsimile of a face-to-face meeting between two or more participants at different sites. The technology utilizes computer networks to transmit audio and video data to all participating sites. Videoconferencing also provides a way to share other media, including videotapes, whiteboards, and computer programs such as PowerPoint, over a distance (www.wireone. com). ”

“According to leading industry analyst groups, such as Wainhouse Research and Frost & Sullivan, much of the increasing market demand for conferencing software and services can be attributed to worldwide economic growth, which will trigger increased IT spending, better system and

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software interoperability and increased acceptance of the technology itself. From a September 2004 report, Frost estimates that by 2009, web conferencing software and services, including video, voice and data will be a $9 billion industry.

Wainhouse Research noted in its 2005 report, “Rich Media Conferencing”, that web conferencing software sales continue to soar with a growth rate of 48 percent in 2004 and a notable movement away from managed services to self-hosted applications (Wiredred. com). “Videoconferencing also is a monetary savings. With the ease of videoconferencing through your computer for meetings, the company is saving money that would be being spent on air travel, gas, food, lodging, and additional expenses that they occur to send management to meetings abroad.

Whereas the initial outlay due to routing equipment maybe costly, the company will save in the end from less downtime and fewer travel expenses. Videoconferencing technology Videoconferencing also allows you to see the other parties in the conference. This was not available in such communications as audio conferencing and telephoning. Being able to see a person’s facial expressions and movements is a big advantage in any meeting. Their nonverbal communication can be sometimes more useful then their spoken word. The body has a tendency to display a person’s true feelings.

Your facial expressions alone can show boredom, anger, happiness, interest, and others. These can be read through videoconferencing. To me, this is the biggest asset that videoconferencing has. Use of other technology with videoconferencing Seeing more than the people, conferees can also jointly view and discuss images from a document camera or computer, making the videoconference much more like a face-to-face meeting. PowerPoint presentations and other documents can be shared via the videoconference. This is an invaluable tool to a businessperson giving a presentation.

What Are the Limitations Disadvantages of Videoconferencing? There are also some major limitations and disadvantages of videoconferencing. Specialized Equipment Videoconferencing requires specialized equipment. Availability of standard and/or compatible videoconferencing equipment at all conference sites is not as likely as that of phone equipment. Even though videoconferencing has become quite popular, not all businesses have the necessary equipment to make this possible. Especially your smaller businesses or businesses that are just starting do not have the money for this equipment.

We find that it is mainly the big multinational companies that are effectively using this form of communication. Lack of face-to-face communication Videoconferencing does posses the advantage of letting you see the other people, it is still not a replacement for face-to-face communication. Initial meetings and sensitive issues should still be discussed face-to-face and not via a computer or television. Sometimes the personal touch can be more appreciated by another executive. Videoconferencing is an impersonal communication.

Technology still has bugs The technology for videoconferencing still has some bugs. As Professor David Fetterman at Stanford University says, “The technology is still developing, however, and several bugs still need to be worked out. The software options are beta versions, still in the testing mode and thus not compatible with every system. Communication is not completely fluid: because of small lags in time, conversational protocols are needed to signal when each person is finished speaking–much as they do over CB radio.

Such signals can be a simple as “what are your thoughts” or even “over”, and are particularly useful during multiple-user videoconferences (Fetterman 1997). ” With all technological advancements, there comes a period of adjustment and working out all the kinks. Since the statement above, I do think there has been more advancements to the technology and where as this technology still relies heavily today on the internet (which I am sure we all have our personal horror stories to the internet problems), there are still some bugs to work out.

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