Reach out and see somebody

Posted on January 6, 2007  /  0 Comments

Seems like a good business idea for entrepreneurs in countries like Bngladesh, India, Indonesia, the Philippines and Sri Lanka, with large migrant populations. Even at double the US set up costs, it won’t take long to start earning returns. Of course, good broadband is a necessary condition.

Abroad at Home – New York Times

Because of stricter border enforcement since 9/11, increased broadband access and reduced cost of video equipment, more businesses are offering videoconferencing services to reunite immigrants with their families back home. Typically found in or near places immigrants frequent like money-transfer operations or consular offices, these kinds of services are often reserved for weeks in advance. “I’m booked Dec. 20 through Jan. 1,” said Ivan Fernando Rojas, owner of a small videoconferencing business in Bay Shore, N.Y., called A Tu Alcance, which means Reach Out.Such businesses are often run by immigrants like Mr. Rojas who is from Colombia: “I know how it feels being in a country without your family.” He started A Tu Alcance in 2004 with money he saved from cleaning office buildings: “I got the idea 12 years ago when I was dusting videoconference equipment in an office.” But back then, the technology cost $10,000 to $20,000. Today, a complete videoconference setup costs as little as $2,000, according to Laura Shay, director for marketing at Polycom, a leading brand.

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