Video conferencing facilities have been a standard at almost every Technopolis campus for years now. The equipment was upgraded at the end of last year, and the quality and usability now meet all the latest requirements. The new pricing is also extremely customer-friendly.
I’m talking to Minna Kemppainen, who describes the revamped video system. Minna is the Technopolis Concept Manager responsible for the video conferencing services. She works in Oulu, while I’m in Hirvensalmi. I often visit the video facilities in various Technopolis campuses all over the country. I’ve never met Minna face to face but we know each other through our video conferences.
Better, easier and more flexible
“Video conferences have gained popularity among the conference services that we offer,” says Minna Kemppainen. “The previous equipment was six years old, which is quite ancient for any IT equipment. We upgraded the equipment in November and December, and Elisa Videra supplied the state-of-the-art system.”
“The video quality is better, the system is more versatile and what’s more important, is that the equipment is very easy to use. The old control device, which looked like a TV remote control, was replaced with a touch panel. According to customer feedback, the new device is very easy to use. And even though it is a very straightforward system, we will set up the connection if the client so wishes.”
Kemppainen explains that a significant improvement in the system is the feature that allows users to spontaneously invite other people to join in during a meeting. The host simply sends them an invitation code and they can take part in the meeting while sitting at their own desk.
Video conferencing is an easy way to contact people in the other side of town, but it really shows its power when you want to get in touch with someone on a different continent. Technopolis can use its wide network to find the nearest video conferencing facility for a partner located in India, for example.
The cost of arranging a meeting
I checked the price of a flight from Helsinki to Oulu for tomorrow. 180 euros. Going to Kuopio would cost me 375 euros. Kemppainen tells me that during peak hours a flight to Oulu can cost up to 400 euros and to Kuopio 500 euros now that there are fewer flights. The basic rent for a video conferencing room for a company located at a Technopolis campus is 50 euros per hour.
In fact, it is the working time that makes up a huge proportion of costs for a meeting; traveling to the airport or driving – even a short distance – to the venue. Queuing at the security check, finding a parking space. Car expenses, working time, daily allowances; the list goes on and on.
When you arrange a video conference, you just arrive at the meeting room and you are ready to go. The campus restaurant will deliver tea and coffee or even a lunch if necessary. A video conference is usually efficient and only takes the time allocated to it as people do not tend to chat about issues that are not on the agenda.
Plenty of room for more users
At Technopolis, staff have used video conferencing for internal communications for years. The managing director decided to cut down on unnecessary traveling: “We have the tools, use them!” Video conferencing is now such an integral part of internal communications at Technopolis that staff could hardly do without it.
Many companies have not taken advantage of the possibilities offered by video conferencing yet. There is availability in many of the Technopolis video conferencing facilities, and more can be built as the demand increases.
It could be that people are not aware of the possibility, or perhaps they are just used to driving or flying. Technopolis staff are happy to show everyone around at the video conferencing facilities. Those who are used to video conferencing find it a very commendable solution, and many say that they are in closer contact with their business partners because of it.
Perhaps more managing directors should instruct their staff to hold a video conference whenever possible. This does not mean that staff meetings should be abandoned altogether. It is always a good idea to meet once but most issues can then be taken care of over a video conference. Technopolis customers have the facilities to do so at a reasonable cost.
Written by Jouko Lampila