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October 28, 2012

Businesses Cut Travel in Katrina's Wake

While Hurricane Katrina wreaked devastating damage and massive suffering in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama, the economic impact of the storm is being felt far beyond the Gulf Coast region. With the price of a gallon of gasoline hovering near three dollars and airlines compensating for rising fuel costs by increasing round-trip fares by as much as thirty dollars, the travel budgets of companies across the U.S. are straining at the seams. Increasing travel costs, combined with general economic uncertainty, are leading business owners and company executives to help secure their bottom lines by seeking less expensive technological alternatives to routine business travel. 

According to Erik Boos, VP Marketing of BeamYourScreen , developers of innovative technology-based communication tools, "For many companies, having employees travel to trainings or sending sales representatives to prospective customers' work sites is no longer economically feasible." 

In addition to gasoline, airfare, hotel, and meal expenses, Erik Boos notes that traditional business travel consumes a significant amount of time, thereby negatively impacting employee productivity. "Flying from coast to coast can take an entire day, and even local meetings require a significant amount of drive time, which is compounded by traffic jams and the challenges of finding parking. This increases the cost of on-site meetings and represents time that could be spent generating revenue." 

While acknowledging that business travel is sometimes necessary, Erik Boos asserts that many on-site meetings can be replaced by online meetings at a fraction of the cost. With BeamYourScreen's proprietary desktop sharing technology, sales representatives can conduct live product demonstrations or presentations to prospective customers and employees can be trained from remote locations. "Online meetings offer the advantage that everyone can stay in his or her office and present slides or collaborate on documents or show applications instantly. There's no travel time involved, as meetings start with a click. And there's no travel cost involved, because everyone stays where they are." says Erik Boos. 

After downloading and installing the BeamYourScreen sender software, the host user can initiate meetings with up to 20 participants, who connect for free using their Internet browsers. As guests connect, they can see the host user's computer desktop. The host can then conduct presentations or trainings in real time, utilizing the resources on his or her own computer. The BeamYourScreen technology can also be used to enhance customer support by demonstrating solutions during telephone support calls, to enable consultants to easily and securely review sensitive documents with clients, and to facilitate team projects by jointly working on documents during team meetings. 

BeamYourScreen offers two types of software licenses, each with flat rate pricing. Prices range from $29 per month for a single host/single guest license to $89 per month for multiple hosts/20 guests license. As there is no per-minute or per-session fee, companies can host as many online meetings as they'd like at no additional cost. According to Erik Boos, "We're pleased to be able to offer small and medium-sized businesses the core functionality of online meeting solutions at a fraction of the price that large companies pay for fully integrated solutions." 

About the author:

Mark Zondler 

Written by: Mark Zondler
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