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Show and tell: how Airdex uses Skype to beat the language barrier

Imagine your company has developed ultra-lightweight, recyclable packaging to make shipping safer, more cost effective and green, and you’d like to tell potential partners in China what it looks like, what it’s made of, how big it is and how it works. And suppose there’s something you realize would be helpful to say … in Chinese.

Russell Valvo, sales manager at Las Vegas-based AIRDEX INTERNATIONAL, says he can do all that and more with the help of Skype. AIRDEX developed and manufactures an ultra-lightweight shipping product designed to cut transportation costs for customers moving items like electronics, perishables or pharmaceuticals. Valvo frequently uses video calling to show potential customers and partners exactly how large and how lightweight his company’s product is. If there’s a tricky concept he wants to convey in their native language, he brings up Bing translator, types in what he wants to say and copies the result into the group chat.

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With fewer than 20 employees and a global reach, AIRDEX relies heavily on its communications tools. Video and audio conferencing with Skype saves the small business hundreds of thousands of dollars, and allows them to avoid needless travel, Valvo says. Not only do the company’s remote workforce in the U.S. and its team in China use IM, audio and video calling to communicate internally, they also use Skype to negotiate with potential customers and partners in faraway countries, from the Republic of Georgia to Chile to Australia.

“A trip to Chile alone costs us $10,000,” says Valvo. “I go around the world all day every day, right from here.

“Skype is a better form of communication. It breaks the language barrier down pretty quickly if you can show customers what you’re talking about. Right now I’m researching companies in Asia that can help us become suppliers. If I talk about foam and hips (outside coating), they don’t understand. When I show them the product, then they understand.”

Currently Valvo and his team are getting started with group video calling, so they can pull in as many as 10 participants anywhere in the world on one face-to-face call.

How are you using Skype’s tools to collaborate across borders? Tell us your story in the comments below. Or, if you’d like to learn more about the benefits of using Skype in your business, a Skype representative would be glad to discuss the possibilities with you.

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