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December 7, 2011

Baby boom professionals embrace video conferencing


Richmond —

I saw the opportunity. But I didn’t have the technological resources to take advantage of it.

Like Diogenes searching for an honest man, I spent many years searching for a video conferencing system that would work for me. I also needed to convince the lawyers, mediators and claims people on the other end to be as technologically aware as I was.

I was the first person I knew to use email. It took me a while to find a second person. Same with Facebook, Twitter and social media. I was ahead of the curve and had to bring my customers and peers along with me.

By the time Skype came along, I had moved away from the video conferencing idea. I used Skype several times to appear on television shows (mostly in Canada) but I did not like the connection or how it looked on my computer.

Then I found a Skype television. Mine happens to be a SONY Bravia (which costs about $1,000) but there are several brands. It was simple to set up and suddenly I was video conferencing on a 50-inch screen with perfect sound.

I felt like a news anchor on CNN or Fox. I could talk to a person on the screen like they were in the room with me.

I then asked my baby boomer Facebook friends how they used video conferencing.

Former Lexington Mayor Jim Newberry is the managing partner for the law firm of Hargrove, Madden. That firm, which specializes in estate and tax planning, seems to be the embodiment of John Watt’s vision. They have an “online practice” that combines the use of internet, expertise and video conferencing.

Along with expanding their reach, they use video conferencing to save money. Newberry told me that when interviewing several attorneys for an office in another state, they conducted the initial interviews over video conferencing. They saved thousands of dollars they would have spent in travel costs.

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