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I have been thinking during our lockdown here in South Africa, what will boardrooms be like after this lockdown? I have been asking myself various other questions in this regard that I have decided to share with you:
How will I meet with the different branches in my company?
Will I be allowed to meet with potential clients physically?
Will there be a need for boardrooms?
Will people accept meetings online?
How will a VMR(Virtual Meeting Room) change a business?
What will the cost implications be?
How do I meet different people with different systems?
Should I host my own VMR or take a hosted one?
What are the different platforms available?
If you can relate to these questions or have more, please do ask and I will try to answer those that I can with my current experience and knowledge of over 10 years in the telecommunication industry. These are times where shared knowledge is important for business owners and management within a business can benefit.
1. How will I meet with different branches in my company?
The answer has been known for many years, video conferencing equipment. The biggest struggle has always been the price with a lot of SME's that could not afford it but that has changed over the past 2-3 years. Video conferencing equipment has become a lot more affordable with different solutions in the market but the limited need was still a blocking factor. Working in this industry, we can see the massive demand that companies now have and it is certainly worth the investment with international and a local travel ban that is in place.
2. Will I be allowed to meet with potential clients physically?
With a travel ban in place, some people do want to get out and meet with clients or new potential clients. There is however those that believe this virus is a big risk and some that believe it is a total lie but unfortunately your view might not get you that physical meeting. Some people also have an underlying disease and would rather not meet physically but the question remains, do you need a boardroom?
3. Will there be a need for boardrooms?
This pandemic will not be over tomorrow but certainly will not be here forever. The question you should be asking yourself is do you need video conferencing in a boardroom RIGHT NOW. I am sure you remember a time where your website had to look professional to get those contracts in, now you need a professional website and a professional meeting space/ boardroom. First impressions last and that is why you need to look professional in those meetings.
4. Will people accept meetings online?
For some it is a new experience and for others, well we have been doing it in our personal lives over a Skype or WhatsApp video call. With the current events it is more acceptable and almost suggested instead of a physical meeting. Life after lockdown will certainly continue this trend because you no longer have to travel and it saves travel time while making people more productive.
5. How will a VMR (Virtual Meeting Room) change a business?
You need to be able to meet with different people and also different qty's. One meeting might be with a financial planner and another with a board of directors. If you are meeting with a board of directors online, it is easier to do it online instead of waiting for all of them to have an open schedule and be in the same place at the same time. A VMR will increase productivity while reducing a sales cycle.
6. What will the cost implications be?
No, what will the damage be to your business. Not having a VMR is like hiring an external sales consultant without a car. Not having proper equipment is like hiring an external sales consultant but not giving them a laptop or samples to show to clients. It is so crucial to have it when you need to do business, it is not just about a video call but sharing documents online while changing them live in the meeting. It is about doing a sales presentation and presenting your company in a professional way.
7. How do I meet different people with different systems?
This is a tricky one because there are so many different systems out there to meet on but there are some key elements you should consider when buying a video platform:
Can you join from standards based H.323 video conferencing equipment?
Can you dial in via a web browser?
Can you dial in on from a landline/mobile phone?
Can you share documents into the call?
Is it secure to meet on?
Are there a redundancy to the solution?
If you have these 6 basic ones, you have a good system. If you do not have a platform yet, please get in touch so I can do a demo on a few of these VMR's and units.
8. Should I host my own VMR or take a hosted one?
This is a very interesting question but it all depends on your need and investment. If you want to be in control of the security, then you can host your own bridge but you need to consider the total investment and limitations. You will need to host it in a data centre with a sufficient data line to support every person connecting, your server needs to be able to handle all the connections and you will have to do your own support. You will need to consider a second server for redundancy and perhaps hosting in different countries while connecting those countries on a VPN tunnel to ensure security. This is why the cloud-based vendors have built a solution that takes care of security, interoperability, firmware updates, redundancy and a global connection of servers.
9. What are the different platforms available?
Feel free to speak to me about YealinkMeeting, Pexip, Zoom and Microsoft Teams.
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