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Video Conferencing is Changing Businesses in Many Ways

The BrainYard - Where collaborative minds congregate.
This week at Interop, I moderated a panel discussion on the value of video conferencing in the enterprise. We had four terrific speakers representing a variety of industries and company sizes, and although each deployment was different they had one thing in common: In all cases, video conferecing has changed the way these companies' business gets done.Laurie Heltsley, Director of Global Business Services at Proctor & Gamble, talked about how the company has taken collaboration on as a mission throughout the enterprise, with complete support from the CEO. Telepresence is a big part of that movement, and P & G has about 40 telepresence rooms deployed around the world. They support high-level discussions and the need to see, down to the tiniest detail, the products under discussion. Interestlingly, Laurie noted that the company has separately shrunk its standard video conferencing rooms from 300 to 200, getting rid of those sites that were seeing little to no usage, and increasing the usage and value of those that remain.Bob Brumm, Senior Systems Programmer at Tampa Electric Company, noted that TECO loves video conferencing because it truly supports the company's mission of safety by keeping managers off windy, windswept roads along the East Coast, and limiting flights to Guatamala. Of course, those trips also take (or took) a lot of time, time the company is measuring in days and weeks, not hours. It's also using video conferencing in unexpected ways, including to bring remote employees into the companies health and fitness programs.Thomas Fenady, Director of Information Technology at Activision Publishing, outlined how the game developer uses high-definition video conferencing to bring programmers together in a virtual collaboration environment. Even as the cost of developing video games has risen to multiple millions of dollars, Activision has kept its own operational costs down, thanks in part to VC. What's more, what takes most game publishers two years to develop still takes Activision 8-12 monthsa reduction in time to market that has led to significant competitive gains.Finally, Morgan Fischer, a partner at Beth Melsky Sattelite casting, talked about how video conferencing allowed the company to shrink the lag time between casting a commercial and actually shooting it. It was news to me that commercials typicaly cast just days before filming, and as you can imagine, that puts enormous time pressure on the process. With video conferencing, that casting can now be done remotely, which means the commercial's director and producers don't need to fly themselves and their entourages around the country to screen actors--and when they settle on a cast, they can shoot the next day.Do you have a VC story? Share it right here!

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