In a world of hi-def TV's and IMAX movie theaters, we can't be blamed if we expect a lot out of our video conferencing tools. We are a people that fully looks forward to reliably talking to our family and friends using video chat over our phones and desktops. The same is true for our work lives. Visual collaborations are integral in business dealings, and can make our business operations more efficient. Video collaboration is a consistent, convenient way for people to maintain business relationships, increase productivity and slash travel expense budgets. New hardware and software products are being introduced on a fairly constant basis to make it even easier for business people to forge connections all over the world. Here are four ways this technology is making this happen.

1.) Video Maintains Employee Connections

Perhaps the most common way to connect employees around the globe with one another is to use video conferencing to streamline processes and operations. Recent studies show that 80 percent of people find value in telecommuting and would like to do this more often, according to Mashable. That being said, video conferencing is highly valuable for retaining employees who have relocated due to work or who must work from home a day or two a week. It saves on costs related to recruiting, retraining and even office space, which is always at a premium. Over the long term, this technology helps keep legacy employees who know your company the best.

Video conferencing also provides immediate connection to employees who need it. It enables workers to get in touch within seconds. Rather than waiting for a quarterly meeting to come around, you can add insight into daily operations whenever you need immediate feedback. Companies like Vidyo, Blue Jeans, Lifesize and Fuze are some of the most well-known video conferencing software companies.

2.) Video Provides Beneficial Face-to-Face Interaction

Live, online video meetings encourage employee participation through face-to-face expressions, unlike the traditional conference call in which everyone sits around a table speaking into a gadget in the center. Although you always want to meet the needs of employees adamant about not appearing on camera, facial expressions and body language can be helpful if seen. They can encourage engagement, leading to more focus and participation in the business at hand. This also allows for strategy sessions and key meetings to be recorded and used as training for future hires, or stored in a library to form a solid base of company information.

3.) Video Means Less Travel Costs

With travel costing so much these days, whether via plane or company car, video conferencing offers an enticing cut in the need for so much travel. Video links allow you to foster open communication with clients regularly, while potentially limiting travel to the most important of meetings. Not only are your travel costs reduced, the hours spent sending staffers all over the country or globe is reduced as well, cutting down on lost time and productivity. The environmental impact of travel is also reduced. According to George Mason University, driving to a meeting one hour away uses just as much electrical power as up 1,000 hours of web conferencing.

4. Video Gives You A Competitive Advantage

The time and money you don't spend on travel or slow intra-company communication means you can gain a competitive advantage. Don't let your product sales, innovative ideas or new releases fall behind your rivals' because you moved too inefficiently. When you provide a medium for your team to collaborate, share knowledge and communicate via video in real time, you're fostering personal relationships between your company and your clients. This encourages client loyalty and reduces the time you spend going back and forth with revisions, quality checks and changes. What once took a week for some projects might take just an hour with videoconferencing. That's the type of business optimization that can make all the difference.

Editor's Note: Looking for Teleconferencing Services for your company? If you would like information to help you choose the one that's right for you, use the questionnaire below to have our partner, BuyerZone, provide you with information for free:

Editor's Note: Looking for Teleconferencing Services for your company? If you would like information to help you choose the one that's right for you, use the questionnaire below to have our partner, BuyerZone, provide you with information for free:

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