Comparing Video Conferencing Products

By Kristine Hegglin
Updated: April 01, 2011

There are a plethora of vendors on the market today that offer video conferencing products and services. Some video conferencing solutions are made specifically for certain sized businesses while others will suit any sized business. Before shopping for a video conferencing product, identify needs and gaps and decide how a video conferencing solution should function to improve those needs. Establish a budget for a video conferencing solution. Video conferencing solutions can cost as little as one hundred dollars to hundreds of thousands of dollars to implement. Video conferencing solutions have the ability to bridge gaps in communication processes. It’s important to research video conferencing solutions to find one with the functionality and features needed. Some video conferencing solutions perform better than others and some solutions offer better warranties than others.

Comparing Types of Video Conferencing Solutions

There are two types of video conferencing solutions; hosted and on-premise. Hosted video conferencing solutions are implemented at an off-site or vendor run location. Companies generally pay a monthly fee for these types of solutions. On-premise video conferencing solutions are implemented at the company’s site. Companies pay an upfront cost to purchase the solution and all associated equipment.

Comparing Types of On-Site Video Conferencing Solutions

There are two types of on-site video conferencing solutions; open-source and proprietary. Open-source video conferencing solutions have become popular, reliable, and rich in functionality over the past decade. Many companies are adopting open-source solutions. The cost to implement open-source video solution comes from purchasing service contracts with a number of vendors competing to support the same product. Proprietary video conferencing solutions require companies to purchase a licensing fee for the product, which is not required for open-source solutions. Some leading open-source video conferencing solutions are; Dimdim Open Source, Ekiga, and Openmeetings. For a very inexpensive video conferencing solution, Skype is very popular. This product only requires payment when calling out to the traditional POTS (Plain Old Telephone Systems) lines.

Comparing Video Conferencing Solution Vendors

Working with a video conferencing solution vendor creates a partnership. Before a video conferencing solution vendor is selected, make sure your requirements are clearly defined and that the vision is understood and shared between company and vendor. Performing research on vendors is a good idea.
 

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