Why Buy a Video Conferencing System over Skype

By Sheila Shanker
Updated: August 23, 2011

Skype is a free or cheap option for video conferencing. Many individuals use this simple system to communicate with friends, family and even employers. Quite a few businesses also use this setup, saving money and keeping up communications between offices and other areas. The main reasons firms purchase video conferencing systems are higher quality and security concerns.

Skype is designed to offer peer-to-peer communications, where two points are connected. The more parties are involved in the system, the more problems you’re likely to have, such as the voice and lips not synching up. After awhile, the audio and video problems can be distracting, diluting the value of the call. If the party you need to connect uses a video conferencing system, you may be able to use Skype’s audio function only and not video.

A good quality video conferencing system offers crisp and clear video and audio, including echo cancelation and other advanced features to make the experience more business-like with no distractions. With many video systems, you can transfer files and can use your computer, as the virtual meeting progresses.

While the camera used in most Skype video conferencing is static and often is a small webcam, the cameras used for business-class virtual meetings are more flexible, allowing for zooming in and out and pre-set directions. The remote controls are also handled differently with Skype requiring the use of a computer, and the other video conferencing equipment using an infrared remote control that can be used anywhere in the room.

Since Skype is a public directory service, many firms can get fake video call requests that can become a nuisance. According to Darmouth College,

A number of users at Dartmouth have reported fake contact requests from adult sites, fake security software, and foreign money scams.

This institution also realized that identifying individuals using Skype can be a challenge because of similar or identical names. A person can use someone else’s name with the intent to masquerade and create confusion.

Many experts advise Skype users to only connect with individuals they personally know, making certain video conferences not viable and quite risky. Also be aware that Skype is a closed-sourced software, not allowing for third parties to reivew the code, which could have undetected vulnerabilities.

As you can see, Skype is limited in its functionalities and quality of video conferencing. It can work for many firms, but others prefer a higher level in its video conference setup. Skype has been making improvements in its systems, but hasn’t yet matched the Cisco or Polycom quality and functionality.

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