Arguably the single most memorable element of Thanksgiving 2014 was the day that preceded it. November 26th saw a major snowstorm blanket much of the Northeast. In many areas, total accumulation reached or even surpassed 12 inches, causing road closures, flight delays, and cancelations. Considering that the day before Thanksgiving is the single busiest travel day of the year, this naturally interrupted millions of people's holiday plans. In Chicago's Midway International Airport, for example, security lines eventually snaked out for more than a mile, thanks to these problems.
One takeaway from these complications is that travelers would be well-served to do everything in their power to head home a day or two earlier.
However, there's another moral to this story: Businesses can see major value gains by embracing video conferencing solutions sooner rather than later.
After all, this storm will be far from the only weather-related incident to cause chaos for U.S. travelers this winter. On the contrary, this early, major snowfall likely signals a particularly devastating travel environment in the coming months. For businesses, such storms can delay or cancel meetings, ruin client visits, and lead to exhausted, unhappy sales and support staff.
Any organization eager to avoid these outcomes should seriously consider investing in and heavily utilizing video conferencing technology. These tools have advanced significantly in recent years, to the point that they can effectively replace in-person meetings in a wide range of capacities. This is especially true when video conferencing tools are incorporated as part of a broader cloud-based unified communications platform. When this is the case, users gain access to features such as screen-sharing, file transfers, and more, all of which make the video conferencing experience more immersive and personal. When based in the cloud, these solutions become available at all times, regardless of the user's location.
Video conferencing cannot totally eliminate the need for problematic winter travel. But it can go a long way in this direction.