Top Features when Purchasing Video Conferencing

By Neil Zawacki
Updated: June 27, 2011

Video conferencing systems tend to have a wide variety of special features available. Some of them are more useful than others, however, especially if a business plans to use the function extensively.

Here are some top features to consider when purchasing a system:

Lecture Mode – This is a special mode that allows a person to give a presentation without being interrupted by focusing all of the different endpoints on a single speaker for a fixed period of time.

White Board – A white board provides a collaborative space for people to write text and draw pictures during a video conference session. The diagrams and design models can normally be saved and viewed again at a future date.

Desktop Sharing – This feature allows you to show the contents of your desktop to other people during a session, and tends to be helpful if you need to explain how to solve a problem or run a computer program.

Help Desk – A video help desk can help people who are experiencing difficulty connecting to a conference session or accessing specific function. The person simply clicks on the help desk icon and they are given access to different videos which show how to resolve the issue.

Green Room – This is a private room that people can meet in ahead of time before the video conference begins. It can be restricted to specific individuals, and be used to discuss the content of the presentation and make any changes that might be needed.

Presentation Viewing – This feature allows the speaker put on a slide show while giving a presentation. The slides are simply streamed in the background and encoded in a secure manner with SSL.

Chat Sessions – With this feature, you can chat privately with other users at a video conference and not interrupt the presentation. The function is similar to instant messaging and online chat rooms.

Video Recording – This allows you to record the videoconference and save it as a media file (typically .WMV format). You can then re-watch the session at a later date to see if there was anything that you missed.

File Transfer – You can use this feature to transfer documents, images, and video files during the video conference. The interface tends to be simple to use, and eliminates the need for third-party solutions to achieve the same goal.

Voice Activated Switching – This is a viewing mode that focuses on whoever is speaking at the present time. If someone else at the conference begins to speak, the video feed automatically switches to them.

Active Directory – The active directory feature allows you to integrate the video conferencing system with your address book. This can save you a substantial amount of time since you won’t have to enter in the contacts manually.

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