Video Conferencing 101

By Lori Shepherd
Updated: February 15, 2011

 When it comes to conference room impact, videoconferencing wins out over everything else in an ever evolving work environment, but deciphering what to invest in can be a barrier to finding the right solution. A first step is understanding some basics, namely how video conferencing is transforming the traditional Monday morning status meeting and how business owners can benefit by using them. Here’s a brief overview:

Why video conferencing?

With the overall video conferencing market projected to grow 15 percent annually over the next five years reaching $4.3B by 2014, according to Wainhouse Research data, it is likely that many more men and women this year than last year will attend an office conference hosted through video. What’s more, given the underlying factors helping fuel the desire for video conferencing: to keep staff connected and informed, to provide communications that is timely, to connect with small or large groups, and to keep costs low. Other important factors to consider are:

  • Better overall communications technology such as unified communications helps keep costs reasonable, increases connectivity via internet which presents greater access to a variety of video options.
  • The prevalence of globalization requires reaching beyond U.S. borders to connect with dispersed staff, company sectors, customers and general business interests.
  • User experience is supreme given technological advances in CD, audio and HD quality, giving users a far better price per performance than ever.
  • With more governmental rewards offered and mandates defined for businesses, companies can reap rewards and address environmental concerns through the use of video conferencing and reducing the need for staff travel.

Desktop and Multiuser Options

There are a variety of video conferencing options companies large and small are using today. As mobile and remote working staff increases, companies use desktop video conferencing software to conduct staff meetings, training, etc. Video conferencing software operating directly from the laptop is one of the more common options available which helps reduce costs and increase productivity. Although employees may be dispersed across the country, and perhaps the globe, meetings using desktop video conferencing software makes emergency meetings, training session and face-to-face interactions possible. Multiuser videoconferencing is another option. Given the prevalence of high speed internet connections and access to affordable webcams, groups large and small can benefit. There are numerous reputable video conferencing service providers available too. If choosing this option, business owners might engage staff with little more than a web camera, no other hardware. In these scenarios, it is usually necessary to order an installation CD usually and then login to a website and download to a computer.

Keeping Staff Engaged

While video conferencing doesn’t take the place of face-to-face meetings, it does offer traditional business meetings with unique ways to interact which keeps participants engaged. For example, the collaborative tools video conferencing comes with enhances meetings, tools such as document sharing, and white board applications lets participants have hands-on interaction. For the host, the Q&A tools and text messaging allows for easily managing large groups.

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