Speed is everything in today’s technology-based business climate. The faster you can make something happen, the more valuable you will be to your company and clients.
Over the course of the digital boom that we have experienced over the last two decades, communication is the area that has undergone the most major changes. For instance, e-mail has become the norm, and snail mail is largely a thing of the past.
Throughout the past five or so years, video conference calls have had a major impact on businesses – particularly small businesses.
For clarification, Stevens-Koenig defines video conferencing as a "technology [that] allows two or more locations to communicate simultaneously through two-way video and audio transmission." The site further adds, "Traditionally in the legal industry, it’s used to avoid expensive travel and hotel stays for deposing out-of-state witnesses."
Texas personal injury attorney Brian Loncar utilizes video conferencing in a rather lucrative way. Loncar founded the firm Loncar & Associates in Dallas, Texas in 1988. In the years since, it has have grown to include offices in Houston, Tyler, Wichita Falls, El Paso, Beaumont, Lubbock, Odessa and McAllen, Texas. They represent more than 7,000 clients each year.
Loncar's firm utilizes video conferencing in place of face-to-face meetings, which is especially cost effective, as Brian Loncar & Associates currently have offices throughout the enormous state of Texas.
A representative from Loncar and Associates explained to Opposing Views the precise benefits of video conferencing for the firm.
"Technology has a way of bringing people together,” he said. “It's really very amazing. As long as the Internet connection you're using is protected, I see no real issue in the use of video conferencing."
He also commented on the personal touch video conferencing can give to a meeting, stating, "Seeing someone's face when you're speaking with them is always preferred, I think, no matter where you are or what you're doing."
There are other, lesser-known benefits as well.
"There's something intangible about being able to speak to someone face to face,” he continued. “Whether it be in person, or through a video conferencing portal like Skype or Google Hangouts."
One major concern that all this technology has brought on, however, is the issue of maintaining confidentiality and privacy. Being that video conference technologies are available online, it is extremely important to use a trusted, reliable provider, and in some cases it can be difficult to determine which services can be trusted and which cannot. Certain sources, such as the law blog Legal Talk Network, have posted articles and podcasts to help small businesses through this exact problem.
There is also one final decision that must be made by companies as it pertains to this method of communicating. Specifically, in what aspects of a business should video conferencing be utilized and when should good, old-fashioned face-to-face meetings take precedent? This will likely be decided on a case-by-case basis, though it can be very helpful to have company ground rules.
For instance, certain companies might only utilize this technology for meetings within the company. In the case of Brian Loncar & Associates, having video conferences is extremely helpful for inter-company communication, especially because the company has multiple businesses across hundreds of miles.
Many companies will not utilize video conferencing when meeting with prospective clients, as these firms wish to have a more personal touch to the initial meeting. Other companies may, however, be willing to check in with already-established clients with this technology, being that there is already a developed relationship on which to rely.
Again, such decisions are up to the discretion of the individual running the show, but they all have very profound effects on a business.
One thing is for sure, though: these advanced forms of communication aren't going anywhere. They're going to develop, evolve, and become even more prominent in day-to-day operations.