Archive for September, 2009

Hurricane Disrupting Communications? Online Video Conferencing Can Help.

Posted on September 19, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

10 years ago this week Hurricane Floyd impacted the east coast of the United States. Businesses were impacted from eastern Carolinas, northeast to New Jersey, and adjacent areas along the east coast into Maine. In North Carolina alone 15-20 inches of rain fell across the eastern half of the state causing many rivers to set new flood records. Entire communities were underwater for days, and even weeks. The infrastructure of the eastern counties such as roads, bridges, and water plants were heavily damaged.

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If you own a business, how do you function when an office is inaccessible? Most disaster recovery plans suggest having alternative locations from which to work. Online video conferencing services from companies such as Vonei allow people to work from any location with broadband Internet. A computer with a webcam, speakers, and microphone can serve as an office-in-a-box, allowing employees to work from remote areas.

If you haven’t tried an online video conferencing service such as Vonei Meeting, now is a great time to get familiar with the tools. While you can sign up for service after disaster strikes, it sure makes sense to be prepared and have a service already in place and employees trained with how it works. Vonei offers 14 Day Free Trials of their 5-person Vonei Meeting service. Sign up today at http://www.vonei.com.

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Why don’t businesses use webcams for video conferencing and video mail?

Posted on September 17, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , |

Consumers have quickly adopted webcams on home computers for video communications. This is evidenced by the rapid growth in Skype, YouTube videos, Vonei Meeting, and video chat programs. In the business world it seems natural that the proven tool of video conferencing would migrate from the expensive room based systems to computer webcam based video conferencing service. The power of sending video emails, instead of text emails, also appears to be a prime tool for businesses to communicate on a more personal level. So why have businesses been slow to migrate to these webcam based services?

The first barrier is of course having a webcam. It seems that 90% of new laptop computers have built-in webcams, and 100% of the netbooks have built-in webcams. For older laptops and desktops one can purchase external webcams for less than $50. There is a migration to wider video camera availability in the workplace, but without a conscious effort to use video many business people stick to text and audio phone calls.

The second barrier is some people want to “hide” behind the technology. It does make one pay attention when the other person can see you, and you have to make sure you are dressed appropriately. No more multi-tasking when the others can see you; it keeps you on your toes. If you are the boss this is something you should like. If you are an attendee and like to mulitask then the live video conferencing service on the computer may be undesirable.

A third barrier is incurring the cost of the service. Video conferencing with webcams is a widely available service that costs less than $50/month. The first in-person meeting that is canceled and held online instead will pay for the cost of the webcams and service. However some businesses are so focused on the small outlay for the service and webcams that they forget the cost savings. Or sometimes employees simply like traveling, and don’t want to replace it with online meetings.

A fourth barrier is simply that the technology is new, and unless there is wide spread use many people will shy away from new tools. Some of the video mail services are free, and yet they struggle to gain users. Why? One needs to have a webcam to record the video that is to be mailed. Without the webcam the free service cannot be used.

Are webcams the solution for increased business usage of video conferencing and video mail? Well I wouldn’t say the solution, but I would say they are enablers. With a webcam one can take advantage of video communications, and without it one is stuck with text and audio only.

Does anyone have a success story of deploying webcams in the business environment? We’d love to hear from you!

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Happy 40th Birthday Internet

Posted on September 2, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , |

Vonei would like to wish the Internet a happy 40th birthday today. Back on 9/2/69 two computers connected with a 15 foot cable passed test data in a lab at the University of California, Los Angeles. UCLA professor Len Kleinrock and graduate students Vinton Cerf and Stephen Crocker conducted the initial tests.

About a month later the Stanford Research Institute joined ARPANET, followed by US Santa Barbara and the University of Utah. The Internet was born. Of course no one knew back then the applications that would be developed, and the extent that people would be using Internet services such as Skype, Facebook, Twitter, and online video conferencing services like Vonei Meeting.

Today people email, IM, exchange documents, conduct audio calls, and conduct video calls online. With broadband Internet access widely deployed people worldwide have access to more information and faster communication with others. And it all started 40 years ago today.

Happy Birthday Internet!

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