Telepresence is a communication tool of 21st century. Telepresence enables high definition video collaboration and multimedia communication very close to reality. It allows business to connect with each other without actually travelling.
The benefits of telepresence are many, some of the key benefits are discussed below:
Cost Savings: Telepresence is the vital cost reduction tool. It removes the expense, inconvenience, wear and tear and unpredictability of travelling required for traditional way of meeting. It also save the per diem expenses and reduces the airline costs by 30% required for business trips. For instance, a pharmaceutical company of New Jersey cut travel costs by $11 million in the first year after implementing telepresence and $12 million in the next year. Moreover, Aviva achieved a 29% rate of reduction in travel costs in the fiscal year 2008-09 upon using the telepresence along with travel reduction policy.
Enhanced Global Collaboration: Telepresence brings the organization together by ensuring better collaboration of the employees, partners, suppliers and customers scattered over the globe. It is highly beneficial for management and operation of complex projects as it provides the immersive experience of being in the same room even when teams are globes apart. The deployment of telepresence firms is increasing rapidly all over the world. According to the survey in US & UK in the firms with revenue more than $1 billion, there were 994 telepresence rooms in US in 2010 which is expected to increase to 8,000 in 2020 and 245 in UK which is expected to increase to 2,000. It also provides the flexibility to hold virtual meetings that would be difficult to conduct in real life due to time limitations of physical travel. For instance, DHL realized 10% increased collaborative activities with the implementation of telepresence.
Increased Productivity: Telepresence increases the productivity & efficiency of the organization by 30% through better collaboration. It helps to make better faster critical business decision, saves travel transit time and reduce the time cycle to launch and market the new product. It enables all participants to share ideas, make presentations, illustrate images and the experience of face-to-face meeting virtually which helps in tackling complex problems that are difficult to solve over telephonic conversations or e-mails. It also helps in faster completion of projects that require operational reviews by senior level management. Straoil, one of the leading oil and Gas Company significantly reduced their problem-solving time to two weeks which usually took two months by conventional methods by deployment of telepresence solutions. A pharmaceutical company was able to increase their productivity considerably by cutting off five months from the time they needed in the development of new drugs.
Ease of Hiring & Training: It cuts the lengthy & costly process of hiring by conducting interview through telepresence meeting even when multiple interviews are required by the dispersed senior executives. It also provides the flexibility of conducting interviews both in-person and on-video according to the requirements. It also provides the option of recording the video interview, which can be evaluated later on by the managers who were not present over the live interview. It also ensures better training through improved collaboration of the remote employees with their supervisors. It also helps in accessing the best talents all over the world and learns the things through the easy way through expert advice. The corporate training can be provided to even disperse employees to keep them update with the latest trends and technology.
A Green Technology: Telepresence reduces the need to travel and thus reduces the carbon emissions from airlines and vehicles. It helps in substantial decrement of air pollution and leads to greener environment. An organization implementing four telepresence rooms can reduce its CO2 emissions 2,300 metric tons over five years, which is equivalent to greenhouse gas emissions from over 400 passenger vehicles. Vodafone reduced their flights trip by 13,500 per year and reduce their carbon emissions by more than 5,000 tons annually.
Improves Work-Life Balance: Telepresence enables better communication and collaboration among dispersed employees. Employees can attend meetings or even work from their home and avoid the discomfort of travel and wastage of time. It enables them to spend more time with their family and on themselves. Thus, employees can maintain a balance between their work and personal life and also contribute to the greener environment. Through immersive experience of being in the same room, telepresence also makes the meetings more spontaneous and creative which helps in better flow of the ideas. The international design team of Tommy Hilfiger of Amsterdam and New York created virtual fitting rooms using telepresence, which reduced the unnecessary travelling of the design team and improved their efficiency, creativity and decision making capability.
Sustained Competitive Advantage: TelePresence enable companies to realize financial benefits and maintain sustained competitive advantage. It ensures better training, translating, consulting and troubleshooting. It also improves the critical decision making ability and time to manufacture and market new products. It provides a rapid return on investment; an organization can attain payback of its investment in 15 months. It improves and nurtures the business relationships of board members, executives, employees, clients, vendors, shareholders and customers.
How Companies are using Telepresence : Case Study
GE, one of the largest and most valuable corporations of the world, invests around US $1.2 billion annually in training and educating their employees. GE established its corporate business school in Crotonville for the development of managerial leadership, high-level training classes and meetings. But GE wasted a lot of their money on travelling to Crotonville for a meeting. For example, an executive travelling from Asia for a two-hour meeting results in an expense of $30,000 and two days of time are lost in-transit. GE implemented telepresence to replicate the face-to-face meetings and reduce the need to travel and solve the scheduling conflicts. GE required the immersive telepresence solution for the accommodation of 60 participants in the Crotonville’s Lyceum conference room.
Cisco designed a unique, integrated & customized telepresence solution for 60 participants instead of typical 15-18. Besides Lyceum’s unique telepresence room, GE installed 18 other telepresence locations throughout their corporation. As a result, GE easily holds meetings and training sessions across any part of the world. GE is also able to impart better leadership among its executives and contribute to greener environment. It has been able to reduce the time wastage and expense of the travel considerably.