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Golden Conferencing Opportunities

Posted on 10/05/2012

The Olympic Games has thrust audio conferencing firmly into the spotlight as businesses are encouraged to embrace more flexible working practices to maintain peak performance. But distributor Nimans is urging dealers to think beyond this summer’s sporting spectacular and ‘go for gold’ on a longer term basis.

“The Olympic Games will undoubtedly have a positive impact but there’s a much broader picture to consider,” said Head of Conferencing Ian Brindle. “Yes it highlights how people that normally commute will be potentially working from home more, especially inLondon. Many will embrace this technology for the first time but let’s not forget there are more and more people adopting new working practices away from the traditional office in any event. These general trends represent a far greater opportunity for resellers on a much longer term and wider basis.

“The Olympics will provide a short term spike but there will be a bigger benefit because once people start to embrace audio conferencing and understand it, this will further drive demand.”

Ian says the current economic picture also lends itself to audio conferencing because companies are increasingly being influenced by return on investment, before making any outlay. “If a business invests in audio conferencing they will quickly recoup their expenditure. Anything from £400-£500 retail can easily be recovered in just a couple of overnight business trips.”

Ian says another significant development surrounds the perception of how audio conferencing devices are now being used. “Conferencing doesn’t necessarily need to be a traditional desktop device any more,” he emphasised. “We are seeing a big uptake in USB devices from manufacturers such as ClearOne and Jabra. These can be connected straight into a laptop wherever a person is working, with full audio performance.  They are portable, easy to use and don’t require a lot of set-up.”

In terms of general market trends, Ian observed. “I don’t think the market is underserved as distributors such as Nimans carry a very broad product portfolio. However the key for resellers is to be given the right amount of sales support.  We’ve been working hard to provide them with the sales tools to actually make - what is classed generically as a peripheral sale - to take a strong message out to their customers, from straightforward guides about why people should be using conferencing, to demo kits and a ‘try before you buy’ facility. There’s a lot of back office work been done so that we can make it easy for them.”

He continued: “The audio conferencing market has been heading in a steady rather than spectacular direction for the last few years. We expect consistent growth to continue but the key for resellers is to have the right vehicle to send out a powerful message. We can provide them with their own brand website facility; a great shop window for all value-add peripheral devices, especially audio conferencing.”

Ian concluded: “Audio conferencing is wrongly perceived by many as an add-on sale and a fairly low margin opportunity. But many businesses have more than one meeting room, so the key is to think in multiples, rather than single devices, to accelerate revenue streams.

“Resellers have all got customer bases. We know from our own research that the penetration rate can be as low as 12% so there’s massive amount of untapped business out there to target the remaining 80-odd per cent. Get active is my message for success. Don’t just sit there. Be proactive rather than reactive. We can provide with all the support and marketing collateral they need.”

eCommerce by: Cohesion Digital