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Death of The International Businessman: Has VoIP Made Long Distance Meetings Redundant?

The way that people communicate with each other has changed significantly over time. Advances in technology has meant that business leaders can these days easily communicate and conduct meetings using VoIP systems, without the need to travel to meet face to face. So, does this mean that long distance meetings are now a thing of the past? 

What is VoIP?

Voice over Internet Protocol (or VoIP) systems have gained in momentum in recent years for both personal users and business partnerships, as a way of easily communicating with others across a distance. The systems are basically technology that enables a user to make calls, send emails, conduct video conferencing or share data through the internet. Skype is probably the most widely recognised VoIP system in use today. 

Why has VoIP usage grown?

We live in a global environment, where business relationships are frequently conducted on an international level. In times gone by, meeting with foreign partners necessitated costly air travel and gobbled up time that could have been spent doing more productive tasks. With the rise of VoIP systems, many businesses have recognised the huge benefits to be gained from conducting meetings and communicating with long-distance colleagues using technology over the internet. Not only does this reduce the cost of travel, but many VoIP systems are either free to use or charge minimal amounts, which can result in significant savings to a business. As technology improves, voice and sound quality have also got better, and businesses can take advantage of a wide range of services that a VoIP system can offer to suit its needs. You don't just need to use the system through a computer either, as it can also be used via a phone, which gives it wider flexibility for business people on the go. 

The death of long distance meetings

It seems obvious, that with the associated cost and time savings, that increasing numbers of business leaders will prefer to conduct meetings using VoIP systems rather than face to face. So does that mean the end of long distance meetings? Many people don't think so. In fact, some business people still heavily rely on face-to-face meetings in certain situations, rather than using VoIP systems. For instance, new relationships are often said to be better forged in person than from over a distance. It is easier to build up trust, understanding and negotiate when that person is in the same room as you. Such meetings can eliminate instances of misinterpretation, which can often occur when a person isn't physically present. 

Whilst VoIP technology has got better over time, there are still improvements to be made which may put off many business people from using it for important meetings. If there are problems with an internet connection, then it can cut off a VoIP communication, which wouldn't be ideal if you are in the midst of a business deal. Sound quality and a delay in voice conversation can still be an issue for many, and if the information isn't delivered in a clear and concise manner it may be open to misinterpretation or misunderstanding. Not all VoIP systems are compatible with others, so your recipients will need to have the same software to achieve the most benefits. 

Although there is a place for VoIP communications in many business relationships, there will certainly be situations where face-to-face meetings will still be necessary to every organisation.

The post was written on behalf of Maintel - experts in unified communications and telecommunication.