With fuel prices rocketing, highway tolls about to become a reality and government pushing to contain corporate carbon footprints, South African organisations have plenty of financial incentive to adopt video conferencing technologies.
Once perceived as a high price to pay for mediocre reward, video conferencing has undergone some pretty impressive advances in recent years. Every aspect of IT – from device to network to data centre – has evolved significantly to support quality video communications.
According to Lubabalo Dyantyi, Senior National General Manager, Public Sector Dimension Data Middle East and Africa, each new generation of technology released is supporting the shift to unified and converged communications. Because internal and external collaboration is the lifeblood of any enterprise, technology is often driven by communication needs. Even the cost of bandwidth in South Africa is declining rapidly in response to pressure to provide competitively priced communication services. This makes visual interaction more affordable than ever before.
“However, the most important element to ensuring the success of video and even teleconferencing is that government departments broaden their perception of the technology as a pure financial exercise and take into consideration the business transformation potential that is able to add huge value to the organisation,” says Dyantyi.
Enable global business expansion
Most organisations have operations with partners and stakeholders in multiple locations and that span several time zones. This is particularly true in South Africa, where foreign investment is on the rise as multinationals seek to capitalise on the continent’s emerging markets. “Video conferencing creates the perfect link for these interactions to take place without hours of unproductive and exhausting travel. While travel cannot be entirely eliminated, it can be drastically reduced, without the loss of the ability to collaborate effectively,” says Dyantyi. “Video is opening up opportunity where geography was once an inhibitor.”
Leverage knowledge and skills resources
South Africa, as a developing nation, does have a shortage of certain skills, particularly highly specialised skills that take time and are costly to acquire. Video conferencing provides the ability to interact in a rich context and creates a realistic and affordable means of knowledge sharing and up-skilling.
Video conferencing can enable organisations, including government departments, to maximize and leverage scarce knowledge resources. In fields such as engineering, for example, where highly specialised skills are in short supply, companies are able to leverage their rare (and often expensive) skills in the best possible manner without wasting precious hours in transit. Video conferencing makes knowledge capital available anytime, anywhere, at a fraction of the cost and with a high quality experience.
Attract the best talent
Today’s demanding lifestyle and the need to always be available is seldom conducive to a balanced work-life ratio. The concept of improving quality of life is becoming increasingly important to employees, who are beginning to attach as much value to a prospective employer’s commitment to help them achieve this as they are to remuneration.
“More and more people want to be able to work remotely, either because they want to be able to work flexi hours to accommodate more personal time, or because they have chosen a ‘quality’ lifestyle in urban outskirts that allows them the means to de-stress. Video and tele-conferencing enables people to become techno-commuters, and this flexibility often equates to greater productivity and effectiveness,” says Dyantyi.
“We are living in a digital age, where today’s up and coming are increasingly technology savvy, incorporating things like mobile technology and video-based communications into their personal lives. They are coming to expect the same kind of enablement in the workplace and organisations seeking to attract top skills will have to offer them the kind of package that will meet these new human resource requirements. Creating a desirable place of employment now means taking that workplace anywhere the employee may wish to be,” says Dyantyi.