Research Tips for Video Conferencing

By Sheila Shanker
Updated: June 28, 2011

Video conferencing is not a rarity anymore. Many business owners have embraced this style of communication to conduct internal meetings, training and dealing with clients. The system is usually affordable and easy to use, utilizing “Voice Over Internet Protocol,” also known as VoIP, to transmit video and voice data with high quality and reliability.

No more waiting at the airport, along with the stress and unpleasantness of travel these days – you can conduct business using video conferencing, saving money and being professional at the same time. Showing that you use the latest technology can only benefit your business. According to “Infonetics Research,” the video conferencing and telepresence market will more than double by year 2015 – this method of communication is not a fad and is here to stay.

You may be used to video conferencing through free programs, such as Skype, used by many individuals; however, if you’re looking for better overall quality of service, you should consider business-class equipment and service. You may be surprised at how advanced and dependable these systems are.

Below are some tips to help you research business video conferencing systems:

Type

In-house or hosted? In-house video conferencing system makes sense if you have internal expertise in this technology, someone who can instal and maintain the system. The hosted option would work better if you don’t want to be responsible for the video and audio setup and may need outside help. Usually the hosted option is cheaper than in-house because the hosting firm owns and maintains the system. As you research video conferencing setups, be aware of these different options, or you will be comparing apples and oranges.

Budget

When researching video conferencing products and services, keep a budget in mind. Have a range that you’re comfortable with, including how much you can spend upfront and any future monthly payments, including maintenance of the system. Start with less expensive systems and move up from there – it doesn’t make sense to purchase an expensive setup when a more affordable one is available and would work as well. Be aware that the many cheaper equipment and systems may not give you the best quality, so make sure to test the equipment and service before making a decision.

Functionalities

Make a list of your required functionalities, such as the capability to connect to at least five individuals in one video conference, or the need for HD equipment. Maybe you want to have a specific screen size, for instance. Write these down and keep them handy when reviewing video conferencing systems;it’s too easy to get distracted and forget about your basic requirements. Other functions you may consider is the ability to use the Internet at the same time as the video conference is going on, good security to avoid eaves-dropping, such as the ability to access the conference with a password.

Scalability

Scalability relates to how easy is for the system to grow as your business grows. Maybe in the near future you will need to conduct video conferencing with ten different individuals at ten different places, including offshore locations.  Therefore, you will want a system do that without a major overhaul or expense. When you make an investment with video conferencing, you want to be sure that you can use it long term and not have to purchase a replacement within a few years.

Don’t miss the chance to use this affordable technology to lower your travel costs along with absences and stress levels. As you conduct research in this area, be sure to get the best equipment and service you can afford. And don’t forget to test any system you select to make sure it works with your existing Internet set up and equipment.

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