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Videoconferencing Surges

Cash-strapped companies put the brakes on business travel

eTN Staff Writer  Jan 30, 2009

DALLAS, TX - Business travelers are trading in their suitcases and boarding passes for a trip to a videoconferencing studio. The Regus Group, operator of the world's largest network of public access studios with more than 600 global locations, reported a 40 percent spike in videoconferencing bookings as cutbacks in business travel forced companies to change the way they do business.

"Given the tough economic conditions, we expect the slowdown in business travel to continue," said Regus Group CEO Mark Dixon. "The quality of virtual tools available have improved so dramatically in recent years, I can't imagine any company reverting back to its old way of conducting a meeting."

2009 will be a decisive year for businesses, as the grip from the global recession remains firm. Determined to survive, companies will need to examine every process and procedure and make significant modifications in order to effectively compete.

Dixon thinks this may be the year companies finally embrace applications and technologies that have been on the periphery of their radar screen and bring them to the forefront resulting in increased productivity and reduced operational costs.

Regus calculates a videoconference meeting cuts the average cost of business travel by 75 percent and removes the hassle of the commute. Dixon points to the environmental benefits to be had by hosting a virtual meeting, particularly if it removes the need to fly.

"Remote meetings enable effective collaboration among dispersed colleagues and eliminates the headaches and high-cost of travel," added Dixon. "Companies can also help the environment by hosting a videoconference - lower hydrocarbon emissions, reduced fuel consumption, and less traffic congestion makes videoconferencing a greener way to work."

In order to meet the growing demand for videoconferencing services, Regus will be rolling out an advanced telepresence product this year. Companies considering telepresence should look at the benefits of this technology, including:

- The ability to expands services to a wider customer base
- Access to experts or employees in remote locations easily and cost-effectively
- Better hiring decisions due to wider and deeper recruiting from anywhere in the world

Dallas-based Taylor Winfield, an executive recruiting firm, is using Regus' videoconferencing services to maximize time and broaden its search for executives.

Connie Adair, CEO of Taylor Winfield, has been conducting videoconferences for the past seven years and states her company's use of the service has increased about 40 percent over the past year.

"Our clients have cut back on their corporate travel. Anyone who owns a service company has to be cognizant of what their clients are doing," said Adair. While I am traveling, I want to make the most of my time. If I am visiting our California office, I also find time to conduct videoconferences with prospects in other markets like St. Louis, Denver, or Washington, DC. The technology allows me to decrease my travel and increase the amount of candidates I meet with. It makes my day more efficient," she added.

Cash-strapped companies put the brakes on business travel
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