When the American public learned on Sunday that Osama Bin Laden had been killed by an elite unit of Navy SEALs, the country had much reason to celebrate. Since 9/11 our country has endured the high costs of terrorism that occurred on our soil. Not only did we lose thousands of lives, but New York’s economy lost millions of dollars in 2001 alone. The war on terror has created opportunity costs that are associated with any war – the funds that are allocated to military operations are dollars that are not spent elsewhere, such as on education or health care. Our government considers these opportunity costs when making decisions about our priorities and about which investments would benefit us the most.

In business, as in government, we must consider opportunity costs when we make decisions. When we invest in any area, such as in a new technology, we look at the return on investment (ROI), but we should also look at the opportunity costs that would be incurred should we not make the investment. For example, we know that meeting face-to-face is the preferred form of communication in most situations. When we see the other person we can gauge reactions and relate better to each other. When we must meet with other parties remotely, an audio call will simply not deliver the same quality of experience as an in-person meeting, and we are at a disadvantage. When a company has not invested in video conferencing, the opportunity costs of this decision are numerous – a reduction in efficiencies, decreased quality of communication and an increase in travel costs (compared to those organizations using video), and delayed product time to market, among others.

According to most trade reports the video conferencing market place is growing and will be at least a $5 billion industry in the coming year. The opportunity costs of not utilizing video when the competition is will be high.

Polycom is right on the money with its UC offerings and recent additions to its telepresence product portfolio:

http://www.conferencingnews.com/news/36804

According to a press release that just hit the Web, Polycom’s new EagleEye Director creates a user experience that we haven’t seen before. This dual-camera tracking system actually makes sure that whoever is speaking is always highlighted (zoomed in and centered), creating a more personal and realistic meeting experience.

Polycom’s Eagle Eye should limit the need for camera and remote control adjustments.

“Unlike simple camera tracking technology of the past, the EagleEye Director gracefully transitions between highlighting individual speakers to capturing the entire room, allowing users to replicate a life-like conversation and drive more productive meetings.”

More here:

http://www.ivci.com/polycom-eagleeye-director.html

Many of us could stand to increase our powers of observation. Observational skills can be improved if, like working out a muscle, they are used more often. In a business setting an inability to correctly read others’ reactions can be disastrous and lead to poor decision making. More companies are using video conferencing for meetings with business associates at remote locations to get all of the advantages of visual collaboration. Next time you are in a video meeting, pay close attention to other participants’ body language. Think about what their visual cues are telling you that belie their words. The more you do this, the better you will be at reading others in various settings.

WSJ: As videoconferencing technology becomes more sophisticated, it is slowly moving up the corporate ladder to the boardroom—helping to save some directors the hassle of air travel and making it easier for boards to recruit international members.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703907004576279382859573922.html