Travel is an inescapable reality for some businesses. It is also inescapable that travel is inefficient. Even armed with mobile devices and wireless Internet service, employees still lose otherwise-productive time when they travel. Not to mention, it costs money to travel. But increasingly, travel can be avoided — using tools and services that businesses can afford.
Smartphones, tablets, and notebook and desktop computers can not only perform voice and video conference calls
, but these devices can also be used for “remote desktop access" — controlling one computer from another, or simply sharing access to a distant computer's screen session.
Apps, managed cloud services and IT outsourcing services for this are readily available, and highly affordable — especially compared to travel costs. Audio and video calling, in addition to remote access, is good not just for meetings, but also for customer support, remote system administration, teaching and training, and other business activities.
For activities where larger groups are involved, look into teleconferencing. Depending on how much remote collaboration your business conducts, this can be as flexible as a large display on a desktop or on a rolling cart brought into a conference room, to a “telepresence" meeting room or auditorium equipped with “life-size" video walls, multiple cameras, microphones and speakers, interactive whiteboards, and lighting.
Concerned whether your company can deal with running these activities? Don't be — third-party providers have the IT and AV experts, along with cloud services and collaboration software.