5 myths about virtual meetings

New research shows that three out of five UK SMEs plan to introduce virtual meetings within the next five years. But despite the growing popularity, many smaller businesses think that video conferencing is out of their reach.

Cutting down on business-related travel, reducing costs and time savings are common reasons that businesses are using virtual conferencing, with a third of SMEs having already made the switch. Yet there are still misconceptions that are stopping many smaller businesses from reaping the benefits. Here are our top five virtual conferencing myths:

• Myth 1: It’s too expensive
Many think that virtual meetings are still the realm of big businesses and require huge upfront investment, but that’s not the case. The development of web conferencing software has made it much more affordable for smaller businesses.

• Myth 2: I need a special room and specialist equipment
Some worry that they need a room with a film set, plus dedicated broadband. However, virtual meetings can now be run securely from standard desktop PCs or laptops, using an existing webcam and internet connection. Anyone with this basic set-up can be invited and take part in a virtual meeting, with only the host needing a software licence.

• Myth 3: It’s not that much better than a conference call
Unlike conference calls, web conferencing is really like entering a virtual meeting room. It gives the benefit of ‘face-to-face’ interaction, as well as enabling you to easily share documents and host presentations.

• Myth 4: It’s not for everyday use
The great thing about desktop video conferencing is that it gets the technology out of the boardroom and into everyday work processes. Once you have web conferencing software installed, ‘meetings’ can be set-up within seconds, and can be used for client meetings, team catch-ups and even instead of a telephone call (great if you want to cut down on the cost of overseas calls!).

• Myth 5: It requires training
Unlike specialist video equipment, the great thing about web conferencing is it’s as easy to use as other everyday office software, so you don’t need formal training to operate it. This means you can hold impressive virtual meetings from “watercooler chat” to important client presentations, without an IT specialist on hand.

It really has never been easier to adopt video conferencing – it’s hassle-free, you can use existing equipment, and it could have an immediate effect to the bottom line.

For ambitious SMEs, virtual meetings are a great way of broadening their reach too, with all the advantages of corporate-level communications technology.

This sponsored post was written by Richard Thomas, Product Planning Manager at Brother International Europe. He and his team have just launched Brother’s new HD web conferencing service and collaboration platform, OmniJoin, in Europe. http://webconferencing.brother.co.uk

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