Videoconferencing may be the ultimate tool for bringing long-distance relationships up close and personal. And its advantages are considerable: It creates the image of a cutting-edge company focused on customer satisfaction.
Basically, desktop videoconferencing systems consist of a camera, capture card and software that record participants and send the images over a network, such as the Internet or a phone line, to be viewed on the other end. With specialized software, both participants may also view documents and edit information during the videoconference.
David Goswick, 41, president and principal of Houston-based Goswick Advertising Inc. (http://www.goswick.com), an $18 million full-service marketing firm, says his company has grown measurably thanks to the installation of videoconferencing equipment in nine company offices and 15 client locations (the cost is included in retainer fees). The firm uses Intel's TeamStation System and ProShare Video System 500 products. The TeamStation System is a conference room workstation that provides audio, video and data conferencing, and comes equipped with a PC, videoconferencing software, wireless keyboard and mouse, a videocamera, and an audio system. The ProShare Video System 500 gives employees desktop videoconferencing capabilities. The system includes a headset, microphone and camera. Using the system, Goswick Advertising and its clients can review ads, look at reports and budgets, and edit them from either end.
For businesses that want to look smart, videoconferencing does more than overcome distances. "We're in the age of the networked business environment, and the next wave is definitely being able to talk screen-to-screen, face-to-face," says Goswick. "It builds relationships."