Meetings, More-for-less: a concept proposal
Face-to-face interaction between staff and management is proven to be more effective than other methods. This concept proposal describes a way to increase that interaction across multi-site organisations, but save expenditure on travel. The result being more dynamic management interaction with staff, for less outlay. Therefore: better outcomes for less money.
Here is a business case we presented to a multi-site NFP organisation. They liked it. This model is relevant to any organisation that regularly conducts interoffice staff training / interstate sales meetings / management meetings.
The explanation behind the pitch:
Condition: Company X has X State / Regional Offices across Australia, at which policy, training, and management meetings occur (among other activities). Currently managers and trainers travel in person to these sites in delivering training, and attending meetings, with local staff: This incurs travel, accommodation, and meal expenses. The negatives of such being three-fold:
Negative 1) Per visit expenses are high
Negative 2) Each visit is restricted by time. To the extent that mission objectives might not always be sufficiently met.
Negative 3) Visits are calendar bound, requiring forward planning. There is no scope for ad hoc visit scheduling at short notice.
This concept proposal eliminates Negative 1) and drastically mitigates the effects of Negatives 2) and 3): thus providing the following benefits:
Benefit 1) Significant improvements in internal service delivery, by way of:
i) Increased face-to-face time between head office and regional staff, providing substantial improvements in communication and team building.
ii) The ability to instantly call ad hoc meetings and ‘crisis meetings’ should the need arise.
Benefit 2) Improved response agility to legislative change and concomitant implementation / mobilisation requirements: By way of facilitating training provision and planning / implementation meetings between operational units separated by geography. Simply put, as soon as the central management team become aware of new legislation, all staff can be adequately trained to meet it.
Benefit 3) Substantial cost savings compared to the current operational model, despite improved service provision. For example, the cost of Capital Equipment serving 3 years is estimated at cheaper than one year’s travel expenses at the current rate, on top of which, these savings are enhanced by financing the transition: amortising Capital Expenses across the finance term in the form of monthly Op-Ex payments.
To furnish training / meeting rooms with fully interactive Audio Visual interfaces and interactive presentation panels or interactive projectors, creating a permanent network between sites, connected via secure cloud based conferencing technology . This provides instant conferencing between, and across the entire organisation, as well as the delivery of complex training material and multi-directional, collaborative content manipulation and dissemination / distribution. In maintaining this ability across the entire organisation, it is not necessary for all organisational nodes to invest in the higher-level hardware: At levels further removed from the central administrative hub, it is suggested encrypted conference participation via any video enabled device (from smart ‘phones to desktops) be obtained via individual Cloud Conferencing licenses for key personnel more geographically isolated.
Each major regional site would require the installation of an interactive panel (or interactive projector), conferencing cameras (two in the head-office training room), a codec, and audio interfaces. Using robust cloud conferencing IaaS (infrastructure as a service) there is no longer a need for expensive bridging-to-the-network hardware or designated on-site servers, so this concept proposal is notably cost effective over similar functionality predominant in the market until recently. Cloud conferencing providers offer solid Service Level Agreements to maximise service continuity. That the infrastructure is cloud based also abrogates the need for designated IT teams at each regional centre: Presenting the organisation with further cost reduction benefits.
Here’s a short video from Sharp exhibiting their newest interactive panel:
An interactive LCD panel is an electronic screen Input / Output device the size of a whiteboard. Like a computer it is on The Web. Like a computer also it can also access data from portable drives (such as USB or flash-drives) and other linked input devices, such as keyboards, or tablets, a laptop, even a smart-‘phone. The screen can be split into discreet zones; such that one zone might be working as a monitor (maybe displaying some video content) whilst documents are worked on concurrently in another zone. Picture a multi-site presentation with one part of the screen assigning to video-conferencing, whilst at the same time assigning the rest of the screen as a whiteboard or an input, the contents of which can be seen on or off-site by everyone party to the presentation: All of which can be printed, shared, or published online instantly.
An interactive LCD panel also functions similarly to a conventional whiteboard / blackboard, except that chalk or marker-pens are done away with: Touch-screen technology allows the presenter to manipulate what is on the screen by using hand gestures like we use to operate a tablet or smart-‘phone. Alternatively, there are also special stylus devices (similar in form to a marker-pen) that simulate the manner in which one would use a marker-pen; not everyone likes to use a tablet after all. ‘Snap-shots‘ can be taken of what is on the panel, so it can be ‘wiped clean’ and the snap-shots can again be invoked later for re-use. Diagrams can be drawn over photographs or video stills ‘on the fly’. We can print and publish directly from the panel.
The addition of collaboration interfaces allows meeting participants to take part in the presentation as well: Two way collaboration with the presentation between the presenter and the audience. This allows for multi-user collaborative / co-creative training sessions.
Projectors are also available with the same functions.
Cloud Based Video Conferencing Platform:
Cloud Based Video Conferencing refers to third-party-vendor IssA. Any video enabled devise can be used as a terminal, from Interactive Panels to Smart-Phones.
Cloud Based Video Conferencing is subscribed to on a per seat basis, usually on rolling contracts which are fairly easy to cancel, allowing for switching between vendors. Being a subscription service provides scalability and agility.
This sounds like video conferencing packages which are free; only the free offerings suffer from drop outs, and lagging. Not only are the professional Cloud Based Video Conferencing solutions robust (thus avoiding drop out and lagging), but they also provide for the following functions:
In-meeting text chat:
Dial out, not in:
Participant pass-code security:
Interoperability between I/O devises.
In the interests of brevity these functions will not be described fully in this document but feel free to contact us for more information at any time.
The combination of multi-function presentation / monitoring technology hardware linked by a robust Video Conferencing Cloud service will provide COMPANY X maximum inter-site communicative capacity and agility. Cost reduction benefits based on current activities will only be amplified by the increased communication and training facilitated by the abovementioned system.
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