With the double whammy of a global recession turning business travel into an expensive indulgence even as swine flu fears make it seem downright dangerous, small and midsize companies have never been more interested in finding ways to do business without leaving their desks.To help push adoption, for example, Avistar is offering a 1,000 Hours of Value plan that promises a money-back guarantee of up to 1000 hours of usage over four months -- for companies with 10 or more usres. The hosted Avistar C3 videoconferencing service normally costs $399 per user or $30 per user month .
In addition, Glowpoint and Affinity VideoNet forged a strategic alliance to offer Glowpoint's IP-based video network and managed video services to thousands of telepresence and videoconferencing suites belonging to Affinity VideoNet's clients and affiliates in 60 countries. These kinds of videoconferencing suites-for-hire are an essential path for SMBs and other occasional users to get acquainted with videoconferencing without massive upfront investments.
The real question, though, is whether deals like this will be enough to get SMBs to actually take the plunge and begin using videoconferencing as a regular part of their business?
I'm thinking that the prospect of catching a deadly disease on the plane to your next meeting might just be enough to overcome any lingering uncomfortableness with videoconferencing.