How to skip meetings without getting busted

New podcast services let you listen to your meetings when and where you want, reports Business 2.0 Magazine.

By Siri Schubert, Business 2.0 Magazine

(Business 2.0 Magazine) -- Who likes going to meetings?

Nobody. The same goes for dialing in to conference calls and listening to some disembodied executive blabber on. In a perfect world, you'd be able to TiVo the conversation and listen to it later, in the car or at the airport, if you must.

LiveOffice's customers downloaded 30% more podcasts each month of 2006 after the service began in August.

The world still isn't perfect, but a few conference-call companies are definitely moving it in the right direction: New podcasting services allow the meeting-intolerant to subscribe to in-house meeting feeds.

LiveOffice, a traditional conference-call provider, racked up more than 100,000 subscriber downloads in 2006 after launching its podcast service in late August. In fact, usage grew about 30 percent each month, the company says.

"People want to do business on their own time," explains LiveOffice CEO Alexander Rusich. He estimates that podcasting, which LiveOffice integrates into its service at no extra cost, will help add as much as 10 percent to the company's revenue this year.

LiveOffice turned a profit in 2006 as sales reached $15 million. How? Podcasting creates loyalty among its customers. "We see a significant decrease in turnover," Rusich says.

LiveOffice isn't alone in the podcast game. Free Conferencing is among the rival call providers that have gotten into the act, and startups like TalkShoe, which originally focused on bloggers, have begun signing up businesses that want to record and distribute their meetings; TalkShoe plans to add a video version next year.

"There is an absolute need for [podcasting]," agrees Elliot Gold, president of TeleSpan, a teleconferencing-industry consulting firm. "We're going to see a lot of people on the freeway driving home from work adding two or three meetings to their workday by listening to them on their iPods."

Let's hope this doesn't increase the number of drivers asleep at the wheel.


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