As the local and global economy battles to rid itself from the hangover of the subprime mortgage clash, which propelled the world into global recession in 2008, companies of all sizes – and in every industry -are moving quickly to adopt video conferencing as a way to stay connected, increase productivity and cut costs.

This is according to Nicolette Kruger, country manager of NFS Technology, the company that boasts more than 1 000 clients worldwide and supplies the market with a range of software focusing on the hospitality market – including video conferencing.

“What is also making this drive more possible is the fact that prices on conferencing equipment are starting to drop more noticeable, making the technology more accessible to companies in general.

“Video conferencing is now becoming an accepted and efficient way for businesses to communicate with one another – and for businesses to communicate with employees.”

This is not good news for airlines, which have been battling to contain rising costs, including the steep rise in the price of petrol. But air travel is still expensive and companies will increasingly look at ways of reducing employee business travel – and business-to-business travel in general.

“These days it is more acceptable for companies with multiple branches to set up video connections – and to talk to staff this way, rather than running up huge travel bills. It is not the norm yet – but it will become the norm. Why fly staff around the globe from various locations to meet at another branch, or head office?”

These days most conferencing systems have features that allow users to share and edit documents, PowerPoint, Visio, etc., in real-time. The ability to easily share and collaborate within various formats has added another dynamic to video communications, which was simply not possible previously.

Decisions are made faster, products or services are brought to market quicker, and the sales cycle can be noticeably reduced. These benefits help increase sales, improve operational efficiency and allow businesses to stay ahead of their competitors

Besides saving money, video conferencing can also decrease a company’s carbon footprint. If more and more companies opt for video conferencing a reduction in the carbon footprint, globally, will also be increasingly realised.

Video communication also helps retain valuable employees who have to relocate or need to work from home a few days a week, or a month.

“This can go a long way towards saving costs,” said Kruger. “It also saves on costly retraining or recruiting fees associated with hiring a new employee. It also allows our ‘mobile warriors’ – those employees who spend a lot of time on the road – to more effortlessly, and quickly, keep track of new policies, developments, as well as adding deeper insights to the day-to-day operations.”