How to select a Video Conferencing System that meets your needs

By Neil Zawacki
Updated: August 10, 2011

Every small business is slightly different. Some take up a single office, while others are stretched across multiple floors or buildings. If you’re looking for a video conferencing solution, it’s important to select one that fits your company.

You should start by asking the following questions:

How many people will take part in the video conferences?
How many different locations will take part in the video conferences?
How much bandwidth do you have available?
What sort of information will need to be exchanged?
Will you be contacting any people who are not within your firewall?

Once you have gathered this information, you can use it to determine the type of video conferencing solution that suits your company.

The possibilities include:

Computer-Based – This is where your employees use a computer and webcam to take part in the video conference. It’s the cheapest solution, but the visual quality tends to be somewhat limited. You will want to use it on a one-on-one basis.

Rollabout – This is a video conferencing solution that is mounted on a trolley. You can wheel it into different rooms and store it in a closet when you’re the conference is over. It’s a good choice if your meetings will generally have between three to fifteen people.

Installed – This is where you have the video conferencing solution installed in a specific room in your office. It can support up to thirty people at once and generally offers the best visual quality and robust features. It also tends to be the most expensive option.

Each of these types offer specific benefits. If you’ve got a small office or people working from home, you may want to go with a computer-based system. If you’ve got free office space available, it might be a good idea to go with a rollabout or installed video conferencing solution.

You can narrow the decision down further by taking a look at the features available. If you’re going to be discussing corporate secrets during the video conferencing sessions, you will probably want a solution that offers top notch security. If you want to show charts and graphs during a meeting, you should make sure the solution has that function built in or has the ability to work with existing applications.

The price of the video conferencing solution will also probably be an important factor. You’ll need to stay within your budget, and remove any systems that are too expensive from your list. That said, it may be worth it to spend a little extra if there’s a special feature you really want – you’re going to be using the video conferencing system at your office for some time.

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