Evaluating Top Video Conference Vendors

By Neil Zawacki
Updated: June 28, 2011

Video conferencing is a modern communication tool that allows a company to have meetings with multiple employees at the same time, including ones who are traveling or working from home. The process of evaluating a video conference vendor can be a somewhat difficult task since there are so many different choices available on the market.

One of the first things to consider is whether the vendor has a strong company history. If they’ve been around for a few years, there’s a good chance that they know what they’re doing. If they’re a relatively new company or have experienced financial difficulties, you run a greater risk of them going out of business after you’ve purchased the video conferencing system.

You should then take a look at the features that are offered by the vendor. Some video conferencing systems come with a white board that people can draw on during a presentation. Others offer the ability to share the contents of your desktop or put the system into a lecture mode so a person can speak without being interrupted. If a video conference vendor does not have a particular feature that you feel might be useful, you may want to move on to a different one.

Another factor to consider is the overall level of customer support that is provided by the company. Most vendors offer phone and email support, while others have an employee who can answer your questions through instant messaging. There’s also the matter of whether they charge for the technical support. Most vendors offer it for free, but some require you to pay a monthly fee.

You may also want to find out what previous customers have to say about the vendor. This information can generally be located by visiting consumer websites and reading the comments that have been made by different users. If the majority of people are happy or unhappy with a particular vendor, you should take this into account when narrowing down your choices. Keep in mind that some of the customers may just be disgruntled or had an unusual experience.

One of the final steps you should take is to determine the video and audio quality of the video conferencing system. This can typically be accomplished by contacting the vendor and asking for a free demonstration of the software. You can then see how smooth the video feed runs and whether the voices sync up properly whenever different people speak. If the vendor is unwilling to come to your company to show off the system, it’s generally considered a bad sign.

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