Local News

More Companies Turning To Virtual Meetings

Posted September 27, 2001

— In the wake of the terrorist attacks and the sluggish economy, many companies are choosing not to travel, so they are turning to virtual meetings.

Schedule cutbacks and increased security make flying to meetings more difficult. Plus, there is the expense and time involved. SAS uses webcasts to communicate quickly with employees in 53 countries and does more than 800 video conferences a month.

"Rather than having to wait and chew things up to talk to people about and then buy that plane ticket a month from now, we can address those issues as they come up," says Jim Davis, SAS Chief Marketing officer.

Raleigh's Videofonics developed FrameSync. It incorporates video, text and graphics for training and presentations.

"The advantage, of course, is it's an approximation of the user's experience in a real meeting," says Larry Gardner, CEO of Videofonics.

Gardner says companies are moving toward teleconferencing to save on travel and time.

"It's not really a substitute for face-to-face meetings, but it is a much more expedient way to do it," he says.

The Whitlock Group offers teleconferencing from its Durham office to locations around the country and the world. ISDN phone lines are used to transmit video and audio for about $250 an hour.

The company is also offering free videoconferencing to family members and companies affected by the terrorist attacks. Many companies are using inexpensive desktop conferencing products like Microsoft's Netmeeting and inexpensive web cams with high-speed connections to let families connect with video and audio.


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