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5 ways SMEs can benefit from video conferencing

Chua I-Pin, Managing Director, Southeast Asia, Polycom | May 20, 2016
Video conferencing defies distance and allows customers and employees to communicate anytime and from anywhere.

This vendor-written piece has been edited by Executive Networks Media to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favour the submitter's approach.

A recent annual SME Development survey conducted by DP Information Group found that 71 percent of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Singapore are looking to improve their productivity in the next 12 months. As they face numerous challenges including rising costs of manpower, retaining talent as well as managing a sustainable business environment, business owners see technology as a key enabler in achieving greater success.

According to the survey, 68 percent of the respondents have already invested in technology with a view to increasing enterprise productivity. More significantly, 47 percent of the respondents are looking at productivity solutions and are reviewing automation tools while 35 percent of those respondents are looking at improved business solutions and practices.

According to the study, SMEs recognise that technology is a key enabler and tool to help increase productivity and address market challenges; enabling them to become more efficient and competitive.

As such, collaboration technology tools, especially in video communications, support the increase in productivity and efficiency by enhancing business communications and contributing to building relationships over geographical boundaries. As video communications become more ubiquitous through popular applications including Apple's FaceTime, Google's Hangout and Skype, our modern workforce is becoming increasingly familiar with video conferencing in their daily social lives.

In fact, according to a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) global survey, 52% of Singaporeans surveyed expect to use their mobile devices in the workplace to check mail, conduct business correspondences and even meetings. Being collaboration savvy, the younger generation entering the workforce readily embraces technology.

It is now up to business owners of SMEs to recognise the signs and implement collaboration tools for greater productivity gains. Here are five ways SMEs can benefit from video conferencing:

1) Being connected - Increasing productivity

In this day and age, the context of "work" has no location boundaries. With the availability of technology, people are connected all the time. Video conferencing defies distance and allows customers and employees to communicate anytime and from anywhere. 

Most SMEs use phone, e-mail, instant messaging (IM), or other workflow applications. However, 80% of communications consist of non-verbal, visual cues. The ability to understand, process, and collaborate over distance using the aforementioned messaging methods is, at best, halting, and at worst, severely impeded. Wherever video is added to a meeting, participants are more likely to stay focused, because they can be seen as well as heard. Expressions of satisfaction, concern, confusion and understanding, can be easily seen.


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