Clear Skies for Virtual Meetings
Ever get annoyed at a late flight? What about if its 5 days? Would it test your patience? Yes. Well that’s happened in the past month- many travellers were stranded after the recent volcanic eruption in Iceland.
I would have been in a similar predicament had I travelled to a telecommunications and the environment conference in Amsterdam last month. Instead I joined the conference via a web and audio conference. I was happy to join the forum remotely. Apart from not ending up stranded, I saved more than $5000 in travel and accommodation costs, and 60+ hours in travel and downtime. The participants and chairperson participated in discussion with me after my talk so it wasn’t one-way. Overall it was a good investment of my time.
Conference orgnanisers have a great opportunity to deliver their services virtually. Virtual events are good for business, can save on travel costs and impacts, and still enable registrants to engage with each other and network. And sometimes it will be the only way to bring conference participants and presenters together.
Leading the charge in the virtual conference space is a company called G2 Events Inc. This organisation is running summits, working with the biggest names in video conferencing hardware and traditional event managers. When I recently spoke to the VP of G2Events, Marc Barounos he indicated how one company has recently moved their annual sales conference onto a virtual platform bringing together their international sales force of 16,500 staff, saving millions of dollars. Much of these savings come from maintaining staff productivity – one of the biggest challenges facing enterprises but a great opportunity for telecommunications. But Mark also told me that the amount of time delegates are spending in the sessions is higher than expected. At a recent virtual summit he ran, this was, on average 2.5 hrs per delegate – not bad for an online event.
One of the fall-outs from natural disasters is that would-be business travellers need to think more creatively about achieving their ends. I’d like to see more traditional conference organisers provide virtual participation and presentation options. The question remains, is the experience worth it? I say definitely yes, particularly when it can minimise disruption to my day job and keep funds in my budget for other initiatives.
Links & Further Information
In previous blogs and presentations, I mentioned how we are measuring travel savings from deployment of video conferencing, remote working and field workforce management solutions. Telstra has trialled the real-time measurement of travel savings from video conferencing and the results are impressive.
Join the discussion on Telstra’s Ideas for Good – a new social media platform for our stakeholders to have their say on sustainability issues.
View Telstra’s Group Managing Director Enterprise & Government, Nerida Caesar, talk about sustainability and a recent case study on how Telstra and Polycom have delivered travel savings across Telstra Countrywide.
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