I found an interesting article on "Livable Cities" and my first thoughts were that this would be one of those feel good "green" focus stories on some west coast modern city with great parks and electric trams shuttling passengers from one location to another without any Co2 footprint. However I began to read the article it was centered on the City of New Haven, Connecticut the Elm City, and the home of Yale University and by North American standards an ancient city with modern day challenges.
I became intrigued by the "livable cities initiative" and dug a little deeper. The basic idea is this according to the City of New Haven`s website Livable Cities Initiative New Haven
The Livable City Initiative is a neighborhood focused agency whose primary mission is to enhance the experience of the individuals who live and work in the City of New Haven. The agency seeks to accomplish this mission through:
- Enforcement of the city's housing code and public space requirements.
- Design and implementation of housing programs to support high quality, affordable, and energy efficient housing opportunities.
- Educating and increasing awareness on solutions for neighborhood concerns.
- Design and implementation of public improvements and programs to facilitate safer, healthier, and more attractive communities.
The mission and vision of LCI is achieved by encouraging the involvement of other city agencies, the public and enterprise. Through the cooperative efforts of the private sector, the Livable City Initiative will create an atmosphere of a vibrant exciting city.
Ok what does this have to do with video conferencing? Allow me to use an all too used term "out of the box" thinking as far as how to describe this initiative. Like video conferencing and the use of existing technology many communities are struggling with how to keep companies from leaving, limiting property taxes and more infrastructure improvements and investments in non traditional businesses are last on the list of to do`s for these old cities.
How videoconferencing fits into this equation is simple. With the great technology that has now been redesigned to be more user friendly, at the right price point and easily scalable a city and it`s businesses need less and less to rely on "acquiring" knowledge by the "relocation model" whereas a company hires away a key resource from another town, city, or state or even country. With video conferencing this is not necessary. One can utilize the tools available to acquire that knowledge via video. When an engineering resource is available in Groton, Connecticut why hire them away to work in Des Moines, Iowa? by "commuting" which adds stress to the traditional infrastructure (roads, bridges, transport, and not to say the least the commuter. Less stress = livable city, Knowledge = livable cities, Collaboration = livable cities. In addition videoconferencing allows companies to expand their footprint to anywhere in the world. Collaborate with manufacturers in Asia, Engineering in Europe and Distributors in South America without ever leaving your office.
As future generations of workers graduate to the workforce they will continue implementing changes to the work environment and will to a greater degree dictate how they wish to work. Remotely, Flexibly and via a livable city that has great infrastructure, low stress, and affordable housing that is efficient. Does it sound like Tomorrow Land at the Magic Kingdom? It does but it is happening in cities like New Haven, Connecticut.
To see how video conferencing can help your business please click on the whitepaper below.
This past weekend I headed home to Central Pennsylvania for a family reunion. I know most people gripe about their family reunions, but I actually really enjoy ours. We spend the afternoon sitting down by the lake at my grandparents house eating crabs and drinking beer while doing a little bit of catching up, and a lot of good old family teasing. My family members come from a variety of different career paths, but none of which include videoconferencing. This of course, gave me the stage to explain what I do, and what it means when I say I work for a videoconferencing service provider. I wish I would have thought of this before the reunion- as it would have saved me a lot of time trying to convey the magical idea to those less techie, but on my six hour drive back to New England I came up with the "what you need to know" about Easymeeting- videoconferencing as a service.
- We connect video systems, pc's, mac's, smartphones and tablets into "virtual meeting rooms" to have multi participant, HD quality, videoconferences.
- You can have anywhere from 3-125 participants in your meetings, depending on each companies need.
- We do not compete directly with the large manufaturer's like Polycom, Lifesize, and Radvision. We work with them because our services can work with their products
- Our model is very similar to a cell phone carrier, in which you choose the service package and possibly hardware that is right for you, and pay for the services on a monthly basis to have access to your "virtual meeting room".
- The idea behind Easymeeting is to keep things as seamless and easy to use as possible for our customers. This is clear in everything from our easyNumbers, to our Easymeeting Expert live support, to our Easy Catalog, and our user friendly interfaces.
Because video as a service is still an emerging concept, even some people in the traditional video world have a hard time wrapping their heads around it, not just my family. In the past, for a company to have the capabilities and options available through the Easymeeting services, they would have to invest a lot of money to do so. On top of the initial investment, everything would be hosted within their company, and fall on their IT department to manage, and their bandwidth to host. This disincluded so many companies, and even industries that did not have the up front budget to handle such a heavy financial commitment.
Easymeeting is trying to break the barriers of the traditional video world. You don't need to invest in $200,000 on infrastructure for your office, you don't even need to be in your office. You don't need your tech guy to set the conference up for you before you walk into the room to avoid IP address dialing, just dial a quick six digit easyNumber. We are hopeful and eager to watch the "industry standard" of how many participants are in a typical call start to grow. Right now, the average is between 4.2 and 4.7 participants-- but with new capabilities to connect from the road, the airport, and home- we think that number will continue to grow.
Imagine having the capability of conversing with a business contact from across the world, but feeling like you are sitting just across the table from them. No planes, no trains, just business.
Easymeeting is offering a no commitment 14 day free trial to interested companies. You can use the trial on existing video hardware, or on mobile options like computers and iPad's. During the trial period, our Easymeeting Experts will be available to answer questions and do introductory trainings to teach you about some of the available features with our services. You've got nothin' to lose!
I have never been a huge morning person, my mother, many of my childhood friends, and my husband can all attest to this. I understand that some people are more productive at the wee hours of the morning, but I am not one of them. Because of this, there are a few beliefs that I have. One... the only acceptable reason to be up before 5am, or even 6am, is if you are leaving on a fabulous tropical vacation. It certainly does not seem acceptable for catching a flight for a meeting. I have become accustomed to my career in the video world and value the fact that I can be in several countries across the globe in the matter of a days time, but that I can still attempt to get my much need "beauty rest" in my own house. It's almost as if I was made for videoconferencing, and videoconferencing was made for me. (Sorry, was that too cheesy: )? )
I have friends that travel quite frequently for work, and despite what we thought about how cool this would be when we were growing up, they hate doing it. Sure you are going to amazing places, but your in a hotel, a conference, a convention, and then back on the plane. They are missing weddings, birthdays, and quite simply- quality time with their families because they are "jet-setting" from one meeting to the next. Bummer, huh?
I came across this infographic (See Below) from www.boltinsurance.com yesterday about the Rising Costs with Business Travel and found it to be quite miserably, on point. The average business traveler is a college-educated male, on a tight budget, spending about 4 days away from home at a time with an average cost of $1,837.00 per trip. And, this is happening round about 448 Million times a year. Well that seems cost effective and energy efficient for the way we live our lives in 2012, doesn't it? No, no it doesn't! As mentioned below, mid sized companies could be seeing an annual savings of $144,000 if they asked 10 employees to convert %40 of their travel meetings to video conferences. Maybe businesses aren't doing this because they don't need $144,000 in any other area? That doesn't seem likely either, does it?
(My personal favorite fact on this infographic is that if gas rates raised at the same rate as airline flights, gas would only cost $1.59, imagine!)
As for me, I will continue my mantra of only getting up before the sun if I am leaving for Hawaii, or Paris, or Disney World. If you want to join me, in the video world, not on vacation- then give the Easymeeting services a spin for two weeks, and see if we can spare you from another slice of stale Sbarro pizza in the airport lounge.