Purchasing Timeline for Video Conferencing Solutions

By Jelani Harper
Updated: June 29, 2011

The successful implementation of a videoconferencing solution requires strategic planning to enable optimization of this fairly vital communication method. An ideal timeframe to begin planning the purchase of such a solution is six months prior to the procurement of this equipment, and requires careful consideration of the following factors.

Feasibility

One of the initial and essential determinants for the purchase of video conferencing equipment is the overall benefit of its addition to an enterprise. Potential buyers should first determine the practicalities of such a solution, while considering important economic concerns such as cost for capital outlay, its effect on sales and revenue, ongoing costs associated with videoconferencing, ROI and other monetary factors which will confirm or deny the need for such a solution.

Technological Compatibility

Once the feasibility of a videoconferencing solution is ascertained, the next step (approximately 5-6 months before purchase) is gauging and preparing for the technical requirements of this projected addition. It is important to effectively gauge and even prepare a company’s bandwidth capacity to meet those of current videoconferencing standards, which typically range from 256kbps to upwards of 1Mbps. It’s equally necessary to prepare the LAN environment and to ensure WAN performance, the latter of which is essential for allowing traffic prioritization of multi-site conferencing, dedicated connectivity and MPLS.

Vendor Selection

Approximately three months before purchase an enterprise should begin its process of selecting a videoconferencing vendor. Important determinants in choosing a vendor include assessing the needs for this solution, which may include what specific use the videoconferencing will be put towards, what sort of conference options will be utilized the most, as well as ascertaining which systems potential videoconferencing partners are using and their compatibility. High definition is an option many enterprises may want to consider, as it can greatly increase the effectiveness of this technology. Other key factors to consider during vendor selection are ease of integration of a solution with a company’s other communication systems.

End User Training

Once a vendor and a product have been selected, it’s never too early to begin training staff which will be using this technology. Training should begin no less than two months before purchase of a videoconferencing system, and should involve IT departments as well as those who will be actually utilizing the solution.

Logistics

Approximately a month before purchase, the logistics of the video conferencing solution should be considered and tended to. Logistical concerns include room selection for meetings, considerations of light and sound (such as curtained windows and HVAC noises, respectively) as well as the setting up of displays to optimize viewing distance and visual cues.

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