Video Conference Buyer's Guide

By Catherine Hensley
Updated: June 20, 2011

With so many telecommunications options available on the market, it can be overwhelming deciding which one is right for your business. Video conference technology is one tool that combines both functionality and affordability, making it an attractive option for companies wanting to stay connected with clients and partners around the world. Use this basic buyer’s guide to help you pick out the right video conference system for your business.

Determine Your Conference Capability Needs

The first step in choosing a video conference system is determining the size and scope of your conferencing needs. If you are looking only for individuals or small groups of employees to stay visually and virtually connected, the most basic desktop system and a reliable Internet protocol (IP) connection will suffice. These systems can be accessed from small cubicles and other such simple set-ups. However, if your company needs to broadcast large meetings and presentations, a “room system” is likely the direction you’ll want to go in. A room system is outfitted with multiple video conferencing tools like monitors, microphones, and cameras, and it is highly customizable based on the needs of the user. Such dedicated facilities will represent a significant investment in the video conferencing technology.

Vendor Assessment and Pricing

When selecting from whom to purchase the video conference system, it will be necessary to research the business ratings and consumer feedback on the company and its products and services. Ask for detailed information on what features, services, and tools they provide, as well as on those they don’t. Also, be sure to get a pricing list to compare it to your company’s budget and telecommunications spending capacity. Some vendors off “pay as you go” plans, which are practical for smaller businesses looking to limit the amount spent on this technology. Bigger companies can purchase licensed software when video conferencing is a consistent part of doing the job.

Consider Additional Costs

Keep track of additional fees for tools and services that pop up. Examples of such additional costs include web cameras, operator-assisted conferences, archival services for conferences, and customizing your company’s logo or brand graphics onto video conferencing interfaces. Fees for these options range from $50.00 to upwards of $5,000.00.

Once you’ve determined which video conference system meets the demands of your company’s telecommunications needs, you’ll be well on your way to staying connected with partners and clients around the globe. Be sure to do your research, ask questions, and evaluate the level at which your business uses video conferencing as way to get the job done.
 

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