Calculating Telepresence ROI: The Value of HD Videoconferencing – Part 1

Today we’re going to get mathematical and look at one way to calculate return on investment (ROI) with a telepresence purchase. There are dozens of ways to find the value of a video meeting system. Hard ROI is the measurable dollar figure that you can produce from money saved or lost in an implementation. Soft ROI is the measurable time, energy, or resources that you can use to determine the value of an implementation. Let’s look at an example of how a consultant might use Vu Telepresence to save money with HD videoconferencing.

In this instance, our consultant has a high value client in another region that he needs to keep. Most of their conversation is over the telephone, but our consultant needs to see his client once per month to keep the relationship strong and to avoid any poor communication, conflicts, or mistrust that may arise from too many emails and not enough face time.

To calculate the return on investment for telepresence in the case of our consultant, first let’s look at the costs of his traditional meeting method: hopping on a flight to be there in person.
The diagram below shows that his costs are $8,160 per year to be in front of his client. Not only is he spending a lot of money on airfare, he’s losing 24 hours of time during travel that he could be using to meet with other clients or build his business.

Investment without telepresence

Now let’s consider the costs when he rents a Vu Telepresence system for both his business and his client. We see that he saves a lot of money on the price of airfare, yet he still gets the face-to-face interaction on videoconferencing. Since telepresence is full HD, they have a lifelike conversation without interference. He also saves many hours of precious time by avoiding the airports. Costs turn out to be $4,960 per year.

ROI using Vu Telepresence

We can use this data to find an ROI of $3,200 savings from our telepresence purchase. Our initial ROI calculation includes a yearly telepresence rental for both parties ($1,800 + $1,800). Every additional client will only require one rental ($0.00 + $1,800). This means that if our consultant puts other customers on this same plan the return on investment will be $5,000 per customer.

I encourage you to take out a pen and paper and consider your own business travel requirements. How much are you spending on airfare? How much time are you spending in transit? Do you have high value relationships that you need to support with face-to-face meetings? Calculate your investment and then see how much your return can be if you invest in telepresence.

We’ll continue this ROI series with other business examples. If you have any comments or questions drop a line to feedback@vutelepresence.com. We would love to hear your story.

Skype 10 Year Anniversary – Thoughts on the Evolution of Video Conferencing

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The BBC posted a headline today on the 10 year anniversary of Skype and how it has changed our lives.  Indeed, the free video conferencing service has helped connect families over distances unimaginable 100 years ago.  Grandparents can chat with their grandchildren.  Lovers can swoon from opposite sides of the globe.  One user even witnessed the birth of his newborn baby after being separated from his family by immigration law.

In addition to providing a simple way for families to connect, we are thankful that there was a vision paved for a visually connected future.  There is buzz about the next generation being the video generation.  This makes sense.  Just a short look into the past reveals cell phone adoption following a similar path.

Remember when they said that the next generation home wouldn’t have a phone line?  Guess what, now modern families are opting for personal cell phones and family plans.  Any new phone line installations are complimentary additions to internet packages.  What we’ve seen as the cell phone culture took off is an expanse of application-oriented handsets.  A simple flip phone was all your 16 year old daughter needed, but you demanded a connected BlackBerry for work purposes.  These style differences are noticeable even on old desktop telephones.  A home phone might have a redial key or the ability to save a few contacts while a business phone has built-in voicemail features, a speakerphone, call holding and forwarding.

Likewise, video conferencing culture is taking a similar path.  Skype has been sufficient to connect families but has left businesses wanting more.  Now we see hardware and software vendors swooping in to fill the gap.

What are some of the things people are looking for?  Here’s a list based on application:

  • Financial advisors – Encrypted meetings
  • Legal advisors – Video recording for record keeping
  • Manufacturing – System interoperability
  • Software – Screen sharing
  • Sales – Training systems and PC software
  • Educators – Multi-party conferencing

We can assume that more demands will arise as video conferencing continues to change and grow over the next few years.  Vendors like us are at work every day to make your video conferencing experience as crisp, clear, and collaborative as it can be!

What is the most important feature for your business, and how do you use video conferencing to make your world a better place?  Drop us a line at feedback@vutelepresence.com.  We would love to hear your story!

The 17 Minute Installation

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“Boom, done!” That’s what we said after a quick installation for a demonstration yesterday. From unboxing to software setup we were video conferencing in 17 minutes.

This particular company has a dozen locations around the country, all who need to call into the main office for training and reviews. They were looking for an HD video conferencing solution to bring the telepresence experience into their video meetings. You can see by the photo that they had attempted to use a webcam mounted to the top of the TV to host video meetings, but it didn’t quite cut it. An important factor in the decision making process was finding a system that had a camera which could zoom in and out and capture an entire roomful of employees. Vu Telepresence’s 720p camera was perfect to fit a group of people on camera, in high quality – something not achievable with a webcam.

For a company with 12+ locations, the other important factor was finding a system that could be set up with little to no IT help. Not every office has an IT person. The customer explained to us that they have used other high-end telepresence systems in the past which required IT staff to set up and operate. Fortunately, by following a few simple instructions, Vu Telepresence can be set up with minimal effort – by anyone. Also, software and firmware updates happen automatically, so ongoing maintenance time is non-existent with Vu.

Do you have photos or stories about your Vu Telepresence installation? Send them to James@VuTelepresence.com and we may feature them on the blog, or use your helpful feedback to continually improve the installation experience.

Check out the Easy Setup video!  http://www.vutelepresence.com/video-conference/videos.html

How to look your best on videoconferencing

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No one looks as good as their Facebook profile picture, but not as bad as their driver’s licence picture.  However, looking good on videoconferencing or telepresence is a choice.  By understanding simple tips that newsreaders and actors use to look their best on camera, you can enhance your videoconferencing experience.

cfls-uv

There is nothing more important in photography than good lighting.  Natural light is the best for camera use, however you can create the same effect using off-white CFL lights that are less harsh than tube lights and other white lights.  Avoid spotlights such as halogen that will create shadows on your face.  A one-time investment in good lighting is essential for your Telepresence equipment.

bluegirl

Keep a cool background, literally.  According to research by Vu’s NPDCenter, cooler colours such as light blue work best to enhance your skin tone.  A red background, for example, will immediately add a yellow tone to your skin and make it look unnatural.

Don’t zoom the camera into your face.  Unfortunately, all PC based videoconferencing applications show just your face and highlight all skin imperfections.  Use a system with a camera placed at least 3 feet away from you.

fatman

Avoid the double-chin angle.  The biggest mistake video-conference users do is to keep the camera below chin level and point the lens up.  This will make your jaw look wide and unwieldy. Keep your camera at eye level and use your equipment’s self-view option to adjust your facial profile and try and angle your face at 15 degrees to highlight your facial features.

A camera cannot hide bad posture and most natural and flattering posture is to sit close to a table with your arms rested on it.  Leaning back will highlight a large stomach and leaning forward will spoil proportions.  It’s a good idea to angle your chair to 30 degrees, the way you would do on a conference room table, and let the camera capture your side profile most naturally.

In a later post we’ll show some real before and after comparisons.  Take a look at our “made for the meeting room” page:  http://www.vutelepresence.com/video-conference/experience.html

What are some of your tips for best videoconferencing appearance?  Reply below.

Use Skype and Go to Jail

Jail

Raise your hand if you’ve ever used Skype.  Chances are that many of you have.  I have.  You may be shocked if you were approached by the government with criminal charges because of a Skype call, but in some places you may go directly to jail.  Do not pass go.  Do not collect $200.  In fact, you may have to pay over $200,000.

That scenario may sound harsh but it’s a reality for citizens of the United Arab Emirates, a region with strict telecommunications regulations.  Understandably so.  Big revenues are tied to these regulations.  Etisalat is a UAE telco, majority owned by the government and a monopoly among providers.  The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) has made great strides to protect UAE telcos from competition – going so far as to impose fines and jail time for people who use telecommunications services without proper licenses from Etisalat or Du (another TRA approved provider).

According to Article 71 of the Telecommunications Act, failure to obtain a proper license from a TRA approved provider can land you imprisonment not exceeding two years and a fine no less than Dh50,000 but not more than Dh1,000,000 (or $13,600 to $270,000 USD).

What does this mean for video conferencing?  Well, it certainly sheds light on the seriousness of compliance, as well as the necessity of great communication.  Businesses and governments alike are relying on our communication mediums as a big source of revenue.  Which leads me to ask you two questions:

  • Are you compliant with your local telecommunication standards, by both region and trade?
  • Communication is a big piece of the puzzle, so much so that it’s regulated.  Are you invested in improving your corporate communication for business growth?

If you work in industries regulated by groups such as HIPAA, choose a hardware video conferencing solution like Vu Telepresence, which has 128 bit encryption in order to stay safe.

Even though the UAE is struggling with Skype licensing issues, Vu Telepresence has great customers in the region.  If you have any questions about compliance or the benefits of telepresence, drop us a line!

More details on Skype in UAE:  http://www.alrasub.com/imprisonment-dh1-million-fine-skype-united-arab-emirates/

More details on Vu Telepresence customers:  http://www.vutelepresence.com/video-conference/vu-customers.html

Our Point of Vu

Vu Telepresence Video Conference Headquarters

Guess what.  Vu Telepresence has a blog!  We’re very excited to open a venue for you to share your news with us as we share our news with you.

What should you expect?  Here is the short list of what we’ll be sharing as we go:

  • Industry projections
  • Communication tips
  • How-to guides for successful video meetings
  • Vu product updates
  • Everyday happenings at Vu Telepresence
  • New videos, articles, and white papers
  • Rants, raves, and much more

Check in from time to time and let us know what you think.  Subscribe to the RSS feed or the Vu Telepresence Newsletter to get the latest scoop.

We want to know what’s important to you.  If you have a special request or would like to have your story featured, fill out the form on the right side of the page and we’ll get back to you.