Five Ways in Which Video Conferencing is Changing Business |

We live in a remarkable world. Over the last 20 years, technology (internet technology in particular) has revolutionised the way businesses operate. The rate of advancement shows no sign of abating, and organisations that succeed in riding the crest of the wave will experience unprecedented levels of efficiency, productivity and profitability. Web conferencing is fundamentally altering the way companies do business.

Impact on business travel. For many companies, travel budgets represent a significant portion of their operating costs. Previously, important or high value business transactions between parties in different geographical regions meant that associated travel was a necessary part of the process. This is no longer the case. Web conferencing allows for the creation of virtual meetings where the same ends can be achieved without a plane ticket ever being purchased or a fuel tank ever being filled.

Effective product promotion. Companies now benefit from an easy and economical avenue for promoting their products to customers and retailers. They are able to reach a wider audience than ever before, quicker than ever before. Important product launches can be done in real time over the internet, and the cost to the company is relatively minuscule. For businesses with offices in multiple locations, the advantages when it comes to product training are also substantial. One well planned web conference can eliminate the need for multiple trips to various locations, along with the associated time required to repeat the presentation.

Improved communications and professional relationships. Similarly, web conferencing software is useful for enhancing working relationships between employees in different locations who otherwise would never interact with one another to that degree. Clearer and healthier communication channels benefit the employees, the business, and its customers.

Working remotely. Web conferencing allows employees to effectively work remotely, no longer being tied down to a brick and mortar office. Whether that be working from home in order to reduce travel time and costs, or staying connected during necessary business trips, productivity scarcely has to miss a beat as the virtual office is taken practically anywhere at any time.

Reduction in operation costs. In addition to the reduction in travel costs, conferencing software is also able to drastically reduce telephone costs, which can be considerable for any business. The software completely bypasses regular phones lines, making communication practically free of charge, apart from the cost of the internet connection. For companies that are often involved in international communications, the saving is that much more drastic. Communications may be taking place with someone across the street, or across the planet, and the costs could remain exactly the same.

Web conferencing capability is of particular benefit to companies with regional, national or international operations. Its ability to bridge the geographical barriers between companies, retailers, intermediaries and customers is phenomenal. This technology is a powerful tool which, if harnessed to full effect, can prove to be a powerful weapon in any competitive company’s arsenal.

Useful Travel Tools and Gadgets |

If you are a frequent traveler, it may quickly become difficult to keep track of all aspects of your travels– including your pictures, the places you go, and your budget. After a certain point, it will also be hard to keep track of the different airlines you have flown with and your total number of frequent flyer miles with each company.

The Award Wallet is a free Internet resource that can help you keep track of your frequent flyer miles as well as other award program points. Development of the Award Wallet began in 2004 by Todd Mera and Alexi Vereschaga. As frequent business travelers themselves, they decided that they needed a tool to keep track of the frequent flyer miles they were accumulating. Whether you are traveling for business or for pleasure, the award wallet can help even the average traveler. It will save you time by putting all of your frequent flyer information in one place, no matter how many airlines you have flown before.

If you travel with the right gadgets, you can stay connected and secure. An Ethernet cable is another gadget that is useful to travel with. Not only will it provide you with a faster internet connection, but having an Ethernet cable can also mean the difference between signing on for free or paying for a wi-fi internet connection.

A universal power adaptor is essential if you traveling overseas, but having more than one will come in handy. A reliable adaptor is good to have, but in case you lose or break that one, it is useful to have a spare or two as well.

If you are traveling with other expensive gadgets, such as your laptop, a retractable lock will come in handy. You can lock up your backpack or your laptop, or connect several bags to secure. This is especially useful if you plan on staying in a less secure hostel, or if you plan on sleeping in an airport for the night.

Another one of the many useful travel gadgets to have is a mini flashlight. If you are traveling with others or if you are staying in a hostel, you can search through your backpack in the dark more easily without disturbing anyone else.

Finally, a USB stick is useful to have whether you are traveling or staying at home. A USB stick can hold an ample amount of information depending on its size, including documents you may need while traveling or pictures you take while on your trip. There are 12 downloadable applications to put on your USB stick, including Google Talk and Firefox Portable, that will make your USB more useful to you while on the go. USB sticks are small and easy to lose, so don’t forget to protect your information by using TrueCrypt hidden folders.

Though these gadgets and tools are not necessarily glamorous or attractive, they are useful and more likely to help you than any other flashy product.