SCREEN TIME: Allied Court Reporters and Video Conference Centers President Jeff Grenier, right, holds a video meeting with company scheduling coordinator Alex Martinez and Human Resources Manager Allison Grenier. The firm credits burdensome travel costs as a driver of videoconferencing.
In a small state like Rhode Island, videoconferencing and live streaming connect companies to the world, and the world to the Ocean State.
“We do a huge volume of videoconferencing every day,” said Jeff Grenier, president of Allied Court Reporters and Video Conference Centers in Cranston. “We’re available 24/7 because our clients are connecting with people in England, Hong Kong or Shanghai. I come in at 2 a.m. if we have a videoconference scheduled.”
Airport security since Sept. 11, the cost of travel and the nation’s economic woes have resulted in dramatic cutbacks in business travel. When that’s added to continuing technological developments in real-time video streaming over the Internet and videoconferencing, the global office means face-to-face communication even across hundreds or thousands of miles.
Allied Court Reporters and Video Conference Centers is benefiting from the intersection of technology and economic pressures.
“Our business has tripled in the past five years,” said Grenier.
The company was founded in 1969 by Grenier’s mother, Elaine Piccirilli, for court reporting, and Grenier joined the business in 1977.
“We had videoconferencing prior to 9/11, but no one knew about it and the technology was a little rough,” said Grenier. “After 9/11, with the airport security and the cost, people just didn’t want to fly as much.
“The technology for videoconferencing really took off in 2009 and in the last two years, with the addition of fiber optics, with T1 lines that are a dedicated network with the lines going underground, the speed is constant,” said Grenier. “With things like Skype, it can get choppy.”
About 90 percent of Allied’s business is with attorneys, but the client base is broadening.