Data Conferencing Takes Over From Boardrooms

Bangalore: | Updated: Feb 28 2003, 05:30am hrs
In the era of seamless images and data passing through terabytes of bandwidth capacity, communication services could become a key factor in cutting costs and improving operational efficiency for corporates. The latest in this genre of communication service is data conferencing and India Inc both belonging to the new and old economy sectors is having a careful look at the possibilities opened by the new service.

Speaking to eFE, Cyber Bazar India (P) Ltd, managing director Rajeev K Purnaiya said, With the growth of IT services and ITES (IT enabled services) companies and with the bandwidth issue getting solved, we expect a 100 per cent growth for the data conferencing market excluding applications like e-learning.

Cyber Bazar introduced data conferencing to customers around mid 2002 and it is fast catching up as a preferred communication method among corporates, he said. Cyber Bazaar is the only provider of data conferencing in the country and has tied up with WebEx, which has a 60 per cent share of the data conferencing market worldwide, he added.

Explaining the concept, Mr Purnaiya said unlike audio conferencing involving only voice communication and video conferencing which requires considerable investments, data conferencing acts as a virtual meeting place by sharing both voice and data of any kind simultaneously to multiple users at multiple locations.

Its features include presentation sharing, document sharing, file transfer, web browser sharing, white boarding (allows users to write and draw on an unlimited number of shared pages that can be saved and printed), etc.

Some of the commonly used data conferencing applications are in sales and marketing conferences, training programmes, forecasting and reviews, software demos, software testing, product launches, global meetings etc.

Asked why a company would resort to a third party vendor for such services, Mr Purnaiya said cost effectiveness is the key benefit for companies who outsource these services to a third party service providers. With third party vendors, corporates dont have to worry about the service, maintenance, upgradation, etc as in the case of their own internal means of conferencing. Customers pay us for the time they use.

Companies can save on travel costs, time to market and convey the message to multiple users in multiple sites, collaborate in real time and increase productivity.

We can assure at least 50 per cent travel cost savings by using data conferencing, he added.

In India, companies like Johnson & Johnson, Mindtree Consulting, SAP, Strand Genomics, Digital Global Soft are using data conferencing.

Johnson & Johnson regional R&D centre manager MS Prabhakar said his department has been able to save at least 70 to 80 per cent on travel costs which otherwise would have amounted to Rs 15-20 lakhs per annum. We use data conferencing regularly for project collaboration with counterparts in US. My whole team is able to participate in many important seminars conducted globally through data conferencing and most importantly, real time interaction with the speakers and important people is possible which is not as easy in a seminar hall, he said.

Strand Genomics CTO Ramesh Hariharan said that the company used data conferencing for a software demonstration to a client abroad having multiple sites instead of sending a team to each of these sites. The company would go for it again as and when need arises, he added.