Videoconferencing set for take-off

Videoconferencing could be the biggest thing to hit business since email and the fax says Rob Love of AVC-Tandberg, which is installing videoconferencing systems at Auckland's Middlemore Hospital and at Northland Health.

Videoconferencing could be the biggest thing to hit business since email and the fax says Rob Love of AVC-Tandberg, which is installing videoconferencing systems at Auckland’s Middlemore Hospital and at Northland Health.

Last week, the firm also unveiled a facility at Auckland’s CityLife Hotel, using Norwegian Tandberg gear.

AVC’s Rob Love admits videoconferencing is hardly new but believes it is set for take-off.

The US-based Wainhouse Research group says 18,258 units were shipped in Q2 2000, 6% up on the previous quarter and 19% up on the year.

Tandberg sales in 2000 were $US111.1 million, up 80% on 1998, with markets in the US and Europe now achieving “critical mass,” says Love.

Wainhome now expects annual global sales of $US2 billion to top $US10 billion in 2005.

“Videoconferencing is an idea whose time has come,” Love continues.

The 24X7 hotel service costs $600 for its first hour and $100 an hour after that.

However, Love says this works out cheaper than having executives flying overseas and having ‘downtime’ while on a plane.

A range of units is available, suitable for small meetings to large conferences. It adds to two other videoconferencing services already available in Auckland. The hotel and AVC also have a database of videoconferencing bureau around the world.

Love says hospitals use videoconferencing to link medical staff, such as between hospitals across Northland or internationally. Northland Health had five systems delivered over Christmas for its district hospitals.

Recruitment firms have also used systems for interviewing people from overseas. CityLife used its system to interview an Irishman who then succeeded in getting a job here. Another company used it to send family Christmas messages overseas and the Royal Commission on Genetic Engineering is also taking evidence this way.

Love says the systems transmit through ISDN lines and web broadcasting is also possible.

But users at CityLife must give them three days notice to ensure it is set up right.

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