Like every other company, we are looking for ways to cut costs. One of the things we have been experimenting with is video conferencing.
Two years ago, I looked at a very sophisticated video conferencing system. It had cameras that you could move and zoom on both ends of the conversation. But it was about $80,000—a little more than I wanted to spend.So, we decided to give it a go with some inexpensive USB computer cameras and ooVoo software. (It’s free.) We’ve been using the setup in our weekly executive leadership team meetings. We have one person in Dallas and the rest of us in Nashville.
Our Bible department recently used similar equipment for a meeting they had. Audrey Kidd, our Bible Marketing VP reported on the experience:
Five of us had a video meeting with [Company X] yesterday. It was a highly effective meeting, and I cannot imagine that it would have been more so had we physically traveled to [City]. In fact, had we traveled to the [Company] offices for this meeting, we would have taken only two, perhaps three, people and some important contributions to the discussion might have been missed.
Not only did we save the cost of travel, but the convenience of stepping downstairs for the afternoon vs. the time it would have taken to travel to and from their offices was tremendous. And, as an extra bonus, everyone slept in their own bed last night and we saved some fossil fuel.
I always thought something was lost in conference calls, but those concerns are all addressed with the video component of this technology.
The great thing about this equipment is that it is very, very cheap. Most of the newer Macs come with built-in iSight cameras. But you can buy an external, high-quality USB camera for less than $100.