Hosted Video Conferencing Reliability

By Sheila Shanker
Updated: February 25, 2011

Video conferencing systems are not just for the big business -- small business can afford a hosted video conferencing system. Many small firms use video conferencing to contact clients, vendors, conduct employee training and manage remote locations. Instead of using your old phone and other equipment, you may use your computer for video and audio, saving lots of money in unnecessary travel expenses.

Many businesses don’t want to deal with the expense and maintenance of owning a video conferencing equipment and instead “farm it out” to a company that owns and manages video conferencing services. This set up in known as a "hosted" video conference system. Firms pay an affordable monthly fee for services and conduct conferences with video and voice through the Internet. It's the perfect solution for the small business because there are no major cash outlays for service and equipment. You don't need to use your regular phone either when using a hosted video conference – voice over Internet protocol, also known as "VoIP," is usually part of conferencing services.

Participants should have a high-speed, broadband Internet connection and modern computers, which increases the reliability and effectiveness of a video conference. Other items that affect the reliability of a hosted video conferencing service are:

Network Requirements for Video Conferencing

Make sure that your network can handle the requirements of video conferencing services. Review your existing bandwidth and consider upgrading if needed. It would be a shame for the video not to work properly because too many people are using the phone, taking up too much bandwidth. A 50Kbps or 100Kbps Internet connection is usually good enough, allowing for Wi-Fi connections. Your network should also be flexible with great scalability, in case you need to invest more in Internet driven technology.

Video Conferencing Quality

Purchase or rent the best quality video system you can afford. Since prices of HD monitors and TV screens have become so affordable, many businesses consider only video systems with HD capability. Even if you cannot use this function now, it is always good to think long-term and consider this need  in the future. Don't spend a fortune in HD monitors or any other type of video equipment, because they get obsolete fast; but get a quality system that can improve reliability of the video service.

Vendors

Reliability of a hosted service is directly related to the vendor's own reliability. Don't hire a "fly-by-night"outfit; instead, get references and check out the company to be sure that it will be around for awhile. Be sure to know what limitations you have in terms of times and days to conduct video conferences. Do your homework and test the video system before you need to use it. Ask if you need to contact the host before a conference is set up and understand exactly how the service works to avoid unpleasant surprises later. If you need to conduct conferences at odd hours of the night because of offshore business, is this something that can be done? If you have problems, are there technical people to help you at that time?

Video conferencing can save you time and money by minimizing travel expenses. It can help you in sales, customer service and training areas, especially if you're a small business. Utilizing the latest technology shows how up-to-date you are, which can impress current and prospective clients. Video lets you see individuals' facial expressions, and it’s a superior method of communication, when compared with emails and simple phone calls.

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