Web Conferencing Choices on the Rise - Page 2

 By Jacqueline Emigh
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Travel Cuts Drive the Web Conferencing Surge

Recent travel cuts are one of the major reasons for the Web conferencing surge, analysts agree. "The most obvious driver is that, for a variety of reasons, people don't want to travel as much these days," Mahowald said. "A sales transaction, for example, typically requires several meetings, from the initial meeting with the customer, to the closing. If you can eliminate any of those meetings, you can save money."

"With the recent downturn in the economy, all companies need to tighten their corporate purse strings and find new ways to cut cost out of sales, education, training and support. And, in the months following the [September 11] terrorist attacks, all companies have taken measures to reduce corporate travel and find ways to accomplish the same goals without leaving the office," concurred analysts from Summit Strategies, in a recent report.

Honeywell, a PlaceWare customer, is conducting Web conferencing on a global intranet used by thousands of company engineers. According to R. Lee Allen, Honeywell's manager for eBusiness Operations, Web conferencing saved the company $10 million in travel time and expenses over the first six months alone.

Allen cited another advantage of Web conferencing. "With PlaceWare, we can meet more frequently from anywhere more effectively. I think it's really allowed us to accelerate our projects as well."

More Useful than Videoconferencing?

Videoconferencing, another alternative to corporate travel, is not that feasible yet over the Internet, many experts say. Of course, video isn't always necessary.

"Web conferencing can be a great enhancement to traditional audioconferencing. It can also be a cheap alternative to videoconferencing. There are certain situations where video is very useful. If I'm an engineer, and I want to show you how to work a locking mechanism on a gadget, videoconferencing can make sense. Most meetings, though, don't require face-to-face communications. I don't need to be able to see your face in order to share data with you," said David Alexander, an analyst at Frost & Sullivan.

Page 3: Collaboration "Growing Like Wildfire"

This article was originally published on Jan 14, 2003
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