In light of my most recent post on the use of technology as a substitute for face-to-face communications, I found the following news quite interesting.
Just yesterday, Verizon Business announced that it is providing immersive video technology, via Cisco TelePresence ™, for The First American Corporation. The advanced conferencing system is intended to help The First American Corporation’s employees collaborate from afar.
According to Verizon Business, “immersive video goes far beyond traditional video conferencing by replicating face-to-face interaction so realistically that it feels as though everyone is in the same room, even though they may be thousands of miles apart.”
The technology is credited with saving travel costs, improving productivity, and reducing environmental impact.
On the same day, Verizon released the results of a study on the use of collaborative technology in business and government, called “Meetings Around the World II: Charting the Course of Advanced Collaboration.”
Read: Study, Sponsored by Verizon and Cisco, First to Quantify Improved Performance from Advanced Collaboration; Frost & Sullivan Research Finds Dramatic Return on Investments in Advanced Collaboration Tools; IP Networks Growing as Business Platform (Verizon Business, October 14, 2009)
Not surprisingly, the study concluded that organizations that employ advanced Internet collaboration tools are more successful than those that don’t. And, of course, online collaboration is better than no collaboration.
But what the study does not take into consideration (understandably, considering its sponsors) is whether online collaboration can achieve the same intangible results as face-to-face.
While it is more difficult to put a price tag on employee engagement, job satisfaction, and team dynamics, there is no question that these factors contribute to a company’s bottom line. The extent to which Internet collaboration can positively affect these less tangible, but still critical, factors should be an important consideration for companies as these advanced tools become available.
(Photo credit: Cisco)