Crestron Video Conference Room
Photo courtesy of Crestron
If you run a small-to-midsize business or even a Fortune 500 corporation, you’ve probably seen a few studies on how telecommuting policies for your employees can save you money.

And it’s true.

Less office overheard, fewer equipment worries or IT costs, not to mention happier, more productive employees.

But maybe you’re not ready to make that change or give up that much control in your organization yet. Have you thought about how a state-of-the-art conference room with the best in easy-to-use audio visual systems could reduce travel costs and make your employees more productive?

Imagine replacing just one sales visit per month, or one trade show each quarter, with a videoconference or a virtual trade show. (Yes, that’s a thing.)

Costs of Employee Travel
A report released at the beginning of the year predicted that domestic travel would increase by 4.6 percent in 2014, with international airfare rising almost twice that much, by 8.3 percent.

Depending on which study you read, travel prices are actually dropping slightly compared to 2012. However, according to a study done by Travel Leaders Corporate, the average price of a domestic trip is still close to $1,000, including airfare, hotel and rental car. That does not include meals on the road, which are often covered by the company, entertainment expenses that may be covered (always a fun area to explain to your bookkeeping department and your tax accountant!), or lost employee productivity while on the road. (Which is often inversely proportional to that entertainment expense account.)

Why not keep your employees in the office during the day and home with their families at night with a cost-effective video conference room?

What Your Video Conference Room Needs (Hint: It’s Less Than You Think)
An effective video conferencing room needs:

  • a screen
  • a projector
  • near side cameras (that is, cameras that show what is going on in your conference room)
  • videoconferencing codec
  • microphones
  • ceiling or wall-mounted speakers
  • amplifiers
  • simple volume control/mute for the speakers
  • Additional components could include:

    • a “smart” whiteboard
    • Additional screens or LED monitors to show slides or a feed from the near-side camera
    • 5.1 surround sound
    • a control system (such as Crestron)
    • When you get into the additional components list, this could drive up the cost, but will also improve the experience of the video conference for your employees, which could result in increased sales and a greater return-on-investment.

      If we use that “sky’s-the-limit” attitude, we can look at telepresence and high definition videoconferencing systems, which can make it feel as if the person on the other end is in the room with you. If you want to alleviate any sense of self-consciousness in your employees and “Wow” visitors with your vc systems, this is the way to go.

      The Investment that Keeps On Giving
      Whether you choose HD video and high-end components or simply the basics, the important thing to remember if you’re investing in conference room audio visual systems is that it’s a one-time cost. With the exception of licensing fees that may have to be paid to ultra-high-end video conference system software, once you buy your equipment and pay your audio visual installer to design and integrate the systems in your conference room, you can use the room as often as you’d like without paying more money.

      To figure out the ROI of your new conference room, just take the amount you paid and, every time you hold a video conference instead of sending employees on the road, deduct those travel costs. You’ll see how quickly your conference room has “paid for itself” and every successful virtual meeting after that is pure profit.

      Why not talk to an audiovisual systems designer who specializes in high-end video conference rooms and find out how much more productive you can be without leaving your corporate office?