As the NBN debate in Australia continues, it can be easy to lose sight of the transformative power of high speed, ubiquitous broadband. With a broadband network that can reliably provide the link to high quality video collaboration services, the lives of many Australians will be revolutionised by the way we work, deliver health care service and teach our children.
Many Australian businesses have bought into the benefits video conferencing can deliver. Based on Ovum research, a third of businesses are already using professional, business- grade video conferencing services, with an additional 34 per cent expecting to use it in the next 12 months.
A recent Blue Jeans Network survey, the State of The Modern Meeting, of Australian and international businesses found nearly three quarters of respondents (71 per cent) believe they lost a deal due to the lack of face-to-face interaction.
The international benefits of video conferencing are most pronounced, with significant savings achieved by cutting down expensive travel costs and lucrative new business gained through conducting meetings face to face. Australian users of video conferencing from Blue Jeans Network have connected with 79 countries and 1,051 cities, with the top cities including San Francisco, Singapore, Zurich, Chicago and Beijing.
Australian businesses, whether they are large multinationals or small start-ups making their first global expansion, stand to benefit from the use of video conferencing when dealing with markets overseas.
However, for the full benefits to be realised, these businesses need be confident they have the broadband infrastructure to deliver a high quality experience.
The value of video in education
Looking at research from the US, even in 2009, educators had realised the positive impact video conferencing could have on their work. A study by Wainhouse Research found that 80 per cent of administrators, policymakers and educators indicated that interactive videoconferencing was helping their schools, districts, and states address and achieve their academic goals.
Looking at tertiary education and services to regional areas, the ability to connect subject matter experts with students is a well-recognised benefit. Through video collaboration, guest lecturers can reach a classroom no matter the location and share not only their thoughts but rich content such as PowerPoint decks and study documents during the presentation.
From our own experience, the value of video for higher education is immense, with many of America’s top universities, including the Wharton School of Business and Stanford University, beaming in guest lecturers and speakers previously unavailable to them. The ability for students to connect with subject experts, irrespective of the location, enriches the learning experience and produces better quality graduates.
The power of collaboration is a key aspect of university learning and with video conferencing the barriers are significantly broken down.
Tapping into telehealth
The aging Australian population, and the continued sprawl of its citizens beyond large and resource rich medical services, mean health administrators will be facing significantly greater challenges to deliver. The cost and the scope of healthcare means that the smart use of health resources is key to ensuring fair, equitable and cost effective medical services.
The ability for telehealth, as it’s often called, to reduce costs in areas such as primary healthcare, post-surgical care and for patients in extremely remote areas is great. With health spending predicted to be a strain on both state and federal budgets, delivering healthcare cheaply and effectively is crucial to a successful system.
The savings discussed with telehealth can be staggering. Data from Feros Healthcare found the cost of various telehealth monitoring services was $7.14 or less per day, while the average acute hospital bed cost $967 per day.
If telehealth can help reduce hospitalisation, it can drive cost savings in one of the greatest growth areas for government expenditure this decade.
As the digital economy becomes the main employer and traditional industries like healthcare and education embrace technology advances such as video collaboration, the importance of Australia having quality, high speed and ubiquitous broadband cannot be overstated.
Krish Ramakrishnan is the CEO and founder of Blue Jeans Network