by Lisa Banks

Oncall slashes travel costs with video conferencing

Apr 06, 2011

Interpreters and translators agency, Oncall, has slashed its travel costs and enabled greater flexibility in its workforce by deploying video conferencing across its Australian business.

The company, which provides translation services via its various Australian offices, chose video conferencing to make the most of its scattered workforce. Finding the right person for a job can be difficult when staff are located throughout Australia. It was a whole of business decision, said Oncall’s corporate manager, Ari Pappas.

“We’re an Australia-wide company and we feel we need to utilise resources from a variety of geographical locations,” Pappas said. “The challenge was to find someone [from within our team] from another state and video conferencing has allowed us to do this.”

Clients often wish to interact with interpreters face to face, and Pappas said the cost of flying employees to where they were needed was becoming too high.

“Clients are continually reviewing expenditure, and travel is one such discretionary expense,” he said. “Our clients were spending about $200,000 on travel per year for interpreting services.”

The company researched the market and decided on LifeSize for the project due to its approach.

“We found LifeSize was the most corporate of the lot and the support was excellent,” Pappas said. “The alternative [to video conferencing] would have been telephone interpreting and while audio can be used up to one point, we had to have a high definition solution.”

Read the business case for video conferencing.

Despite being hesitant to deploy video conferencing due to its perceived high cost, Pappas said Oncall had already achieved a return on investment (ROI) thanks to a reduction in travel costs.

“In 12 months, the system paid for itself and our travel cost was drastically reduced from the previous year,” he said.

The rollout of facilities took about eight months and Oncall’s Melbourne and Sydney’s offices have been equipped with the high definition system since April 2009.

The system also stood the company in good stead during the recent Brisbane floods.

“While the Brisbane communication facilities were made redundant due to the flood, video conferencing was able to meet the needs of Queensland Health during these floods,” he said.

Next on Pappas’ agenda is the rollout of more mobile units as the organisation moves to deliver video communications more directly to clients.

“The feedback from clients has been so positive that we have decided to place video communications directly into their offices to help manage the client relationship by delivering readily accessible interpreting services quickly and easily,” he said.

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