Hosted Conferencing for Small Business

By Ryan Ayers
Updated: April 08, 2011

Video conferencing is no longer the stuff of the science fiction movies that we all grew up on. It has revolutionized the way that we do business and allowed for a greater degree of collaboration and productivity than business has ever known. By providing a reliable method for businesses to conduct meetings from several remote venues at once, video conferencing has cut down on travel time and expense, and allowed for more frequent and productive collaborations.

While just a few short years ago, this remarkable technology was limited to larger businesses with no limitations on their communications budgets, it is now available to almost any business with a reliable Internet connection.

What Video Conferencing Can do for SMB’s

Video conferencing has the ability to level the playing field for small and medium sized businesses (SMB’s). It is among the emerging set of technologies that allow a smaller business, one that traditionally could not harness comparable resources of its larger competitors, to compete on the same level as other businesses in their industries.

Unlike their larger counterparts, SMB’s have often suffered from an inability to continually travel to and arrange meetings because of budgetary concerns. With the advent of video conferencing, an improvement to this situation still seemed out of reach because of unreliable call quality and expensive on premise equipment. Recent advances in technology and the innovative service providers that have followed have made this problem all but nonexistent.

Modern Video Conferencing Options

With modern video conferencing solutions that are service oriented rather than hardware oriented solutions, small businesses have the capability to compete on the same level as their larger counterparts. Many of the video conferencing solutions available today are cost effective enough for most businesses to hold regular video meetings without breaking their budget, enabling them to accomplish tasks more creatively and effectively.

Software vs. On Premise Solutions

Rather than having to purchase hardware in the form of specialized cameras, monitors and telephone handsets to accommodate video conferencing, many services today require only a computer and a dedicated connection to the Internet. These software based solutions allow for video, voice, and integrated data on a desktop or laptop computer.

Many of these services require a nominal monthly or per meeting fee, and allow participants to engage one another in a private meeting space on the web. These solutions are highly accessible and extremely cost effective, while allowing for the same capabilities as the much more involved and expensive on premise solutions.

Flexibility is Key for Small Business

In many ways, these software and web based video conferencing services are more advantageous for small businesses because they allow a greater flexibility and mobility. Most small businesses exist in a constant state of evolution and they require a high degree of adaptability and flexibility in their business technology.

Rather than investing in on premise hardware that resides in a fixed location, many small businesses opt for these more portable video conferencing solutions. Because the services operate using fairly standard computer and mobile telephony equipment, they can be accessed from anywhere with a reliable Internet connection. This provides the advantage of access whether the users are in the office or traveling with minimal disruption.

Video conferencing has become a regular function of doing business, and is no longer limited to enormous corporations with large communications budgets and fixed locations. Small businesses are now able to leverage the same technologies that have traditionally benefited these larger organizations and save expense and time to function more productively and efficiently.

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