Video Conferencing the Eco-Friendly way?

Video conferencing seems to be a GREAT idea when having to commute long distances for meetings each week. Not only is it expensive, but it’s not very Green… The Ingenex interns looked around for alternative methods… I happened to stumble upon Oovoo, which is very similar to the platform Skype.

images-1What makes this platform so unique is the multiple group chat function capabilities. Oovoo states that you can chat up to 6 different people at the same time. This makes video conferencing very convenient. You can also upgrade your account, which enables you to use your phone through Oovoo for long distance calls. You’d think with these types of services the phone providers would be making long distance calls cheaper…(??)

oovoo-6way-even-smallerThe plus about using Oovoo? I really enjoyed the user interface to it. It’s much edgier and easier to navigate around than other platforms. There isn’t a delay in the video chat, even when using 3 people at the same time. This is much more convenient than having to drive an hour for a meeting, when most of the work can be done through a video chat platform and Google docs!

The negatives, if you’re using a low bandwidth, it drops the video chat very easily.

Look into Oovoo, it might be something worth mentioning to your business who is trying to be Green considerate…

Make your business Green!

 

Going green is a constant subject that most companies are trying to be involved with. But where does one start? What are some of the little things that can be done to make a big difference? And are these choices healthy for your company regarding profits, maintenance of programs and successes?

gogreen

According to Fortune Small Business, here are a couple easy steps to follow to get on track with being Eco-Friendly!

Get smart about recycling.

Look at what your company consumes and find ways to recycle, reduce and reuse.

Little things like recycling paper and introducing less-toxic supplies and materials can make a huge difference. Companies such as Green Earth Office Supply sell recycled-paper products to businesses. Another good source is The Green Office, an online retailer of recycled, environmentally friendly, and sustainable business products, school supplies, and paper- and for not a huge price difference than the stuff most non-green friendly suppliers sell.

You can also refill computer ink cartridges rather than add them to the landfill. The same goes for obsolete computers. There are companies, such as California-based Ecohaul, that will, for a fee, remove, refurbish and, short of that, properly dispose of old office equipment and supplies.

Although this may not be the most important thing to be concerned about- but you also might want to check to see if you qualify for any applicable tax credits…

Think outside the gas tank.

Transportation can have a huge impact on the bottom line for businesses large and small. If you need a company car, consider going hybrid. As consumers continue to embrace automotive alternatives, more models are entering the market and incentives continue. In fact, the IRS just announced the 2009 hybrid Saturn Aura was recently certified for an alternative motor vehicle credit. There’s plenty of information on the latest in alternative transportation at car-centric websites such as Edmunds.com and carmax.com too.

Do your research.

Co-op America, a green advocacy organization and eco-driven online catalog, has earned a Business Seal of Approval award for its product assortment as well as offering an inspiring assortment of hints and tips on how to go green. And there are strong resources outside of the United States, such as Friends of the Earth Scotland, an organization that offers a useful online audit to assist in the greening of your office.

Just a little food for thought… There are a lot of companies that make going green much easier now (just look at some of the links included here!)

Branding your story, niche and voice

After a wonderful presentation from Rishad Tobaccowala at the University of Michigan on 2/6/09 (check out my blog for a breakdown of his presentation), there are a couple of quick points I want to highlight. He discussed how important it is for every student to carry a story, niche, and voice about themselves. So, I broke down myself- and figured it all out. It’s actually pretty fun and will work to my advantage when interviewing- check it out!

The first thing to remember: YOU are your own BRAND.

What’s your story? Brands are built by storytelling. YOU are technically a brand- a very specific brand that should be marketed to a particular area you seek. So how do you do that? Format what you’re looking for through your story. My STORY was created a while back, and then dropped into my personal website. Be honest. Be yourself. Be original. You want to set yourself apart from everyone else out there- and there are TONS of people who possess the same qualities as you. It’s all how you market them and carry your story!

What is your niche? You have up to 3 words…. A brand decides what it’s not, much more than what it is. Think about what you are- and what you’re not. My Niche: Future, Change, Fun.

What is your voice? Do not live in other peoples’ minds. We’re too busy with what other people think. Live in your mind. Developing 3 words to describe your voice can give your brand an edge. My Voice: Tenacious, Distinct, Brave.

I also have a fun exercise that deems to be beneficial. Sit down and come up with 10 questions that you want to ask yourself. And then answer them- however you can only answer them in 4-5 sentences each. I dropped a few of my questions and answers below. You could bring these questions to an interview with you- show them a thing or two about who’s running the interview (KIDDING). But it’s another great way to give employers a STORY about yourself, without them having to ask.

A quick interview with Jeff Bobick.

What/who inspires you? My aunt and uncle have worked so hard in their careers to be where they are today by working extra hours, traveling around the world, and still maintaining a sophisticated social life. If I have a positive, passionate attitude towards life and my work, like my aunt and uncle, I can get the best out of life- and it will show.

What are you passionate about? My career and future, or at least what I’m trying to make of it. I have been determined to go out, work with a smile and not settle for anything less than success. My accomplishments of discovering who I am are held deep inside of me- I learn from my mistakes and live with no regrets. The only mistake I can make, is not marketing myself to the world. The only mistake they can make is passing me up.

What cheers you up? Any of Sergei Rachmaninoff’s piano works, his Prelude in C# Minor particularly. Most of his music is very dark and dreary, especially this one. Whenever I am stressed out or in a bad mood this is the first song to be played on my iPod. It starts out very dark and works into a very fast-paced ride that stirs up my senses. I play piano, so I have a deep respect for complicated pieces and this shines.

What is your favorite food? Thai food with spice. Egg noodles, ordered “hot.” My nose needs to be running in order for me to really enjoy the spiciness of the Thai food. It’s not a painful “hot” sensation in your mouth, but something that can be enjoyed with a little bit of water.

Coffee or tea? That’s a touchy subject. Coffee, for sure, bit it’s much more than just a “cup of coffee” to me. I go to Starbucks at least 4-5 times per week, ordering a venti non-fat vanilla latte for the sweet taste of vanilla against the bitter espresso. The calm, sophisticated atmosphere of the barista adds to my coffee experience too.

What are you known for among your friends and family the most? My smile and attitude. I always carry my smile with me in my pocket and I try to view everything positively- even though I know that’s not always going to be possible. The smile and the positive attitude go hand-in-hand when helping others. Not only is it gratifying for me but I think that my friends and family really appreciate it when times are particularly rough.

box.net accessible anywhere

I stumbled upon this very unique tech piece that is being used a lot in the industry today.

It’s called box. It is a completely web-based interface software database that you can access from any kind of computer. You are able to store content and files online so that they can be accessible and sharable in any format from essentially anywhere. But box was designed with specific access controls in mind. This means that the user can control who has access to the system- whether it be to view or to edit the files.

Now, you’re probably thinking- why not just email the piece to the person that needs to view it? What if it’s a piece that needs to be constantly edited or needs to be passed on to other people along the way? You’re having to work with teams, partners, and clients. Business today is different. Partners work in remote locations, teammates telecommute, and frequent flyers rely on mobile phones. Shouldn’t the tools we use be different, too? If it’s in a central database, accessible to specific users, they are able to get to it when they want and where they want.

Another great feature that box has is its sharing/collaborations. For example, if you were using a program file and sent it through box to someone else. If they don’t have that software on their computer, they are still able to open, edit/use the file due to the intense collaboration systems that box is partnered with.

With over 2 million users as of September 2008, the company is growing in revenue and features. They recently announced that they will be partnering with Dell in their new releases of the Inspiron Mini 9. Box will come pre-installed on these mini computers for users to share files anywhere.

Now how much does something like this cost? Well, if you’re looking for simple transfers, it’s free. With the free service you get 5 Collaboration folders, 1GB of storage and 25MB file uploads. If you want to upgrade, they have an individual package at $7.95/month. This includes 5 Collaboration folders, 5GB of storage, unlimited bandwidth and 24/7 email support. There are also business packages available.

Looking at this company from an eco-friendly view, this is realistically saving on paper and the endless photocopies of documents that are thrown out while going through revisions. A lot of companies can use this system to have most of their files digital- and when necessary to have a hard copy, print. But in the long run, this has potential to save us quite a few trees. The only disadvantage I see in this system would be that you have to be connected to the internet in order to access the database. But with today’s technologies, many are connected almost 24/7. I see this company only getting bigger if they implement their marketing strategies for the brand correctly- and right now, they seem to be doing their job.