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How technology and traditional align in business
Decades ago most business was conducted in person or via paper letter. There was no such thing as applying online for a bank account or mortgage – this all had to be done in person, with your bank manager. Some communication may have been carried out by letter first, such as making an arrangement for a face to face meeting, as not all individuals had their own phone line. As technology developed and telephones in the home became commonplace more people were able to conduct business over the phone, as well as using traditional mail to send important documents. The same methods were used by business to communicate and trade with each other, and it could sometimes take weeks of communication and typing to get anything agreed between the two parties.
Facsimile (fax) machines revolutionized business communication, as documents could be sent instantly, doing away with the waiting periods for traditional mail to arrive. For international business especially, this made a huge difference to trading as there was no need to wait weeks for airmail or freight to arrive. Email, FTP servers and sites like DropBox have largely replaced the fax, as a means of sending physical documents electronically, and the quality of document transfer is far superior (if you can remember trying to send even a basic picture via fax you'll know how far we have come!).
The good thing about face to face communication was the sense of personality it gave to proceedings. Being able to look a potential business partner or customer in the eye and get a feeling for them from body language probably led to some great deals being forged, and some bullets being dodged, as well. Although the digital age has made business communication easier, there is no substitute for a proper in-person meeting and people are starting to return to this style of communication due to the benefits it brings. After all, it is much easier to back out of a deal with someone you have only emailed, but if you have spoken face to face it is a lot harder.
Tradition and technology can be combined to effect face to face communication with potential partners and clients, bringing that personal feeling to otherwise clinical discussions. Skype for Business, is one of the more popular video conferencing facilities used to allow people to see and speak to each other, even if they are not in the same physical location. Some banks now use video conferencing to set up accounts and loans, if there are not enough staff in branch to deal with every customer personally. Staff based in a central office use telephone headsets and conferencing software to communicate virtually in person with the customer, who may be in a branch which is located hundreds of miles away. The customer still gets that personal touch and the bank can deploy its staff in the most efficient way by using this technology.
Video conference calls can involve anywhere from two to thirty people (any more than that makes it confusing for everyone to follow the call). When there are just two people conversing, a telephone headset that is compatible with Skype for Business (formerly MS Lync) is the best piece of equipment for anyone in a shared office. If there is the facility to conduct the meeting in a separate room, then the inbuilt microphone and speaker in the device may be enough. If there are several people at each location, then a speakerphone is the best option, as this allows everyone to hear and speak, while keeping everyone's hands free for note taking, as with a telephone headset. The model linked above is great for people who travel a lot, as it is very portable and works with Skype.
We may have moved on a long way from telegrams and postal communication, but as humans we still feel the need to communicate face to face for certain things that the internet alone cannot fulfil, and by uniting traditional communication methods with new technology we can have the best of both worlds.