Comparing Video Conferencing Systems

By Sheila Shanker
Updated: June 20, 2011

If you think videoconferencing is only for big business, think again. Equipment and video service costs have decreased over the years, while quality has improved dramatically. Instead of clunky equipment and complicated issues, videoconferencing these days is simpler; it uses the Internet to carry video packets along with voice and data. To use modern videoconferencing effectively, you need a high speed, broadband Internet connection -- that's a must.

Many businesses choose to keep videoconferencing equipment and services in-house, especially when their own technical staff is knowledgeable about Internet video, digital compression and the overal tech-aspects of the system. Basic equipment for video conferencing includes:

  • Video input (camera) and output, such as a projector--HD has become a standard in videoconferencing.
  • Audio input (microphone) and output (loudspeaker)
  • Data decoder (codec) and data transfer medium, such as the Internet
  • Echo cancellation, a primary feature of professional videoconferencing, which controls audio signals for quality control.

Budget

As you’re going through this process, consider not only the purchase, but also costs for technical staff and ongoing maintenance. Take into consideration travel savings after the system is up and running. Executive trips-not-taken can save a company substantial amounts and should be considered in the decision to acquire a videoconferencing system.

Quality

Purchase the best system you can afford and go with reputable brand names, such as Cisco and Polycom. You want to purchase from a company that will be around throughout the years. The same goes for vendors and service providers – you want to deal with reputable firms, not a corner business that may fold in a year or two.

Scalability

It’s one thing to conduct a videoconference between two locations. It’s something else when your meeting involves many places. Be sure that your system can adapt, is flexible and can be added to. Many business owners don’t think long term and buy a small system that is fine for now, but cannot be used in a more complex environment.

Security

Videoconferencing employs the Internet, a medium that is prone to virus and hackers. To protect your meeting and your computerized system against these problems, use anti-virus software, firewalls and other tech-protections. Be sure that your videoconferencing system allows for password protection so that only invitees are allowed in the system and in the conference.

Videoconferencing is an affordable option for many businesses that want to save money in travel costs and take advantage of the latest technology. It’s a step above phone conferences and can be very effective in meetings, training and dealing with clients from afar. If you have a small business and conduct professional quality videoconferencing, it can impress many current clients and future clients, who may feel they are dealing with a well-established, forward-thinking firm.

Featured Research
  • Why Q4 is the Perfect Time to Invest in Video Conferencing

    If you’re currently relying on an outdated video conferencing solution - or if you don’t have one at all - you’re in luck. While any time is a good time to invest in video conferencing, Q4 may be the best. One big reason is that Q4 is when you can get the best deals, but there are also other important factors like increased access to seasonal employees. more

  • Video Conferencing Showdown

    If you feel overwhelmed by the video conferencing options available for your business, you aren’t alone. There are dozens and dozens of different solutions, ranging from no-cost options to software that will cost thousands. The question is which one is right for your business and how can you get the most value. more

  • Best Video Conferencing Features for Business

    Most businesses are currently underutilizing their video conferencing software because they aren’t aware of the different ways it can be used. Understanding the different features of video conferencing software can be critical to getting the most out of your investment. These features often vary from one option to the next as well, so it's important to do your homework before choosing a specific service. more

  • 9 Ways Video Conferencing Supports Business Growth

    90% of information is transmitted in the human brain is visual, and people process visuals 60,000 times faster than text. Video and video conferencing is fastly becoming the new must-have business tool for generating profits and successfully growing your business. In fact, over the past four years, the percentage of companies utilizing video conferencing has jumped from 41% to 58%. more

  • 9 Tips for a Compelling Video Presentation

    Face-to-face communication is the most effective way to collaborate and bring ideas to life in your business. Because of this, many businesses invest heavily in travel budgets so they can meet in person to create and nurture business opportunities. However, video technology has become more accessible, affordable, and user-friendly over the years. In fact, the enterprise video business market will reach $36.5 billion by 2018. more