Advantages and disadvantages of video conferencing (full sample)
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Advantages and disadvantages of video conferencing
Video conferencing is a powerful technology that allows two or more people to communicate effectively in real time. It uses cameras, monitors, microphones, and sophisticated software and hardware to create a high-quality experience. There are several advantages, and a few disadvantages, to video conferencing.
Advantages of video conferencing
Businesses and individuals don't need to spend money on travel, hotels, meals and other expenses for people to meet one another. These cost savings can be significant, especially in larger organizations.
There are significant time and productivity savings. People can just go to their local video conferencing suite, rather than get in their car or go to a train station or airport. The time that isn't spent traveling can be used to complete other work and personal tasks.
Better communication and commitment
Being able to see the other people in the video conference makes it easier to pick up on subtle cues, body language, and nonverbal communication. This has been shown to enhance communication and build trust. People who can see each other when they speak are more likely to support each other and follow through on their commitments.
Better work-life balance and happier employees
Because people do not need to spend hours traveling, often on their own time, this improves their work-life balance and makes for happier employees. This can help a business build better relationships and means its employees are more likely to put in the extra effort.
It's easier to have meetings across different countries, time zones and international boundaries. There's less time wasted on travel and paperwork.
Lower carbon footprint, reduced environmental impact
If people don't have to travel to meetings, they're burning fewer fossil fuels and reducing the carbon footprint for themselves and their business.
A better way to do business
Overall, for people over multiple locations, video conferencing is simply a more efficient, less stressful, more productive and effective way to hold meetings.
Disadvantages of video conferencing
Cost of video conferencing software and hardware
The cost to purchase the hardware, software and other aspects of the system can be high. Specialized hardware and software are needed and can be expensive, with higher-end systems costing significant amounts. The hardware will need to be maintained on an ongoing basis and software may require licensing and upgrades.
If there is a problem with the hardware, software or network, video conferences can suffer in quality, or might not work at all. Regular maintenance and backup plans can reduce these issues.
Training for video conferencing
People need to be trained in the use of video conferencing; this takes time and money.
May not be a substitute for "being there"
People are more productive when they are physically in the same space. Video conferencing might not be suitable for all types of meetings. Specialized events such as workshops, seminars and the like are better if conducted face-to-face.
Availability of facilities
The more popular video conferencing becomes, the more likely that video-conferencing facilities in an organization will be booked up. A good balance of availability and use means that video conferencing can deliver good value for money.
Ultimately, a business will want to balance the convenience and ongoing cost savings of video conferencing against the costs of installation and maintenance. In most cases, the combination of reduced travel, increased productivity and better communication outweighs the costs of video conferencing.
Content originally written by Paul Maplesden, a freelance writer, and edited by me.