Expert Insights for Video Conferencing Systems

By Robin Wilding
Updated: July 08, 2011

Video conferencing has finally made it from your 12-year old's computer to the business world—this time around its a little more advanced. Video conferencing is now feature-rich software with advanced functionality; functionality that includes:

  • Multipoint video conferencing
  • Virtual meeting elements
  • Presentation mode
  • Desktop sharing
  • White boarding
  • Recording
  • Text chat
  • File transfer
  • Active directory
  • User privileges assignment
  • UDP multicast

When choosing a video conferencing solution you must wade through the possibilities, to find the solution for you. The following advice has been gathered from video-con experts around the globe—gleaned from their years of experience in audio visual telecommunications.

  1. Seek Security
    File transfers are extremely vulnerable to viruses, worms, and hacker attacks. And modern video conferencing systems are essentially huge file transferring programs (those files being sequential pictures and aufio). Ensure that the video conferencing solutions you are looking at are inline with your company's security policy. It is critical to ensure that your new software won't poke holes in your anti-virus, firewall, or other security measures. 
     
  2. Run Wild—Sort Of
    Run wild with the features—the cooler your system is, the more people will use it--and more importantly people will actually pay attention during the conferencing. Then, somehow, try to stay on budget. 
     
  3. Budget
    Create a Budget. Stick with it. 

    While that may sound limiting, that is exactly the point. Having a budget will help you focus your search on just the solutions within your realm. Just somehow manage to mix this point with the last one—and find a happy medium. 
     
  4. Understand your Vendor's Big Picture
    The last thing you want to do is buy a software/hardware solution that will be obsolete in 6 months. Find out your vendor's product lifecycle. If you are near the end, ensure that you will be included in the next upgrade. Find out what their client policy is when it comes to new advances in their technology, how much will upgrades by? Will they be manual or automatic upgrades? Do they have any new features in the works now?
     
  5. Decide the System's Role BEFORE You Buy
    Having a complete visual of your solution before you buy is critical. Decide what role it will play and who will use it. This will help. For example, if it is only being used for the occasional casual chat or for employee-to-employee meetings, then you may not need HD (which will save you on bandwidth and initial costs). Also consider how many locations you will need to connect simultaneously, how computer-literate are the users? What type of equipment to users need to connect? Does that work with your IT standardization policy? Considering all the elements will ensure you pick the right solution. 
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