Videoconferencing Quickly Pays for Itself

by Matt McDowell

As the drive to a more global economy continues, companies must address new communication challenges. With workers, partners, and vendors all over the world, it grows more costly and less practical to get people together in person. Videoconferencing has proven to be an excellent alternative for many businesses, including the Dallas-based long-distance company, VarTec Telecom®, Inc.

The company is expanding its presence in both the European and Mexican markets. It has been a challenge to conduct business between executives at the Texas headquarters and the teams in the United Kingdom, Germany, and Mexico. Further, it meant that several senior level managers were flying to various destinations on a weekly basis, incurring significant costs on airfare, hotels, and meals and losing many precious hours of otherwise productive time.

One of the executives suggested that they try videoconferencing for some of their meetings—and it has worked out so well that it has become a standard way to conduct business. Aubrey Price, Director of Business Development at VarTec Telecom, and frequent user of videoconferencing, states that “the new videoconferencing equipment is easy to install and genuinely user friendly—teaching our assistants and staff to use it has been simple."

Rick Marez, Director of New Technology at VarTec Telecom, estimates that the company will save enough money in the first year alone to more than pay for its investment in the videoconferencing system. For an investment of less than $65,000, videoconferencing equipment has been installed in the Dallas facility and in each of the 4 European sites. Additionally, plans are wrapping up on an installation in Mexico, while 8 additional units are slated to be installed in U.S. offices before the end of the year. All units will be linked through the company network via an ISDN or LAN connection.

VarTec has standardized on the high-performance ViewStation™ from Polycom, the world's leading manufacturer of videoconferencing devices. Marez did considerable research and testing before making the decision to use the Polycom products. He explains, "These are the only videoconferencers on the market today that provide TV-quality broadcast. Plus, they interface well with devices made by other manufacturers. This is important when we have a need to communicate with people outside of our company."

"As I see it," adds Price, "the most notable feature of an effective videoconferencing system is that it allows all parties to more frequently communicate with each other, face-to-face, to address problems or issues for quicker resolution."

Without a doubt, VarTec Telecom's commitment to good communication has contributed to this privately held company's success. It has grown into a billion-dollar business in just 11 years.