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It’s no shocker that higher oil and energy prices are putting pressure on business travel. CNBC.com is reporting that these increased travel costs are beginning to reflect on the bottom line of technology companies that can provide video conferencing and collaboration products.

The article reports that “Manpower has ramped up use of its video conference equipment in the last couple of months” and “office furniture maker Herman Miller has encouraged employees to use video conferencing in addition to conference calls and car-pooling to cut operating costs”.

Manufacturers that focus on unified communication, video conferencing and teleworking can offer businesses enhanced cost savings and increase ROI in these difficult times. However, until the recent spike in energy pricing, demand for these applications was lukewarm at best. Many IT managers looked at these features as a burden on the network and as a low priority item due to cost and difficulty to deploy.

Amazingly enough, these ROI driving features are not a terrible burden on the network, overly expensive or difficult to deploy, depending on the product of course. VoIP communication developer ShoreTel’s latest software release, ShoreTel 8, provides video conferencing and teleworking functionality right out of the box. ShoreTel 8 also supports integration with Microsoft OCS to provide presence and chat functionality integrated with PBX features.

Economic predictions do not foresee travel and energy costs going down anytime soon. IT directors get ready, the CEO might be knocking on your door and asking about video conferencing sooner than you think.

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