Video Conferencing Buying Checklist

By Sheila Shanker
Updated: September 02, 2011

Video Conferencing Buying Checklist

Many businesses are taking advantage of Internet technology not only for phone services, but also for video conferencing, where individuals meet via cameras and screens . This growing technology uses the Internet for video and audio communications in real-time. There is no longer the need to travel for meetings or training – a video conferencing system may fit the bill quite nicely in many circumstances. According to Information Week, videoconferencing and telepresence spending is set to double by 2015 – it’s not just a fad and is here to stay.

Don’t buy any video conferencing systems before checking these items:

Existing connection - inquire about your existing Internet and network connections, which may not be good enough to conduct quality video meetings. You may need to upgrade your setup before installing a video conference system. Talk to your IT person about this.

Budget - buy the best products and services for your money. The budget should include upfront and periodic expenses that should be considered. This system can be expensive, especially if you buy brand-name top of the line equipment, such as HD screens.

Flexibility -  if you add more offices and need more equipment, is video conferencing going to be easy to do?. What if you need to talk to 10 individuals at the same time – can your existing system do that on-the-fly? Can your system connect with other firms using Skype?

Reliability - this is an important issue – you don’t want to be all set up for a video conferencing and then audio or video doesn't work.  What does the vendor has to offer to avoid this problem? Does it offer technical post-sales support available 24/7?

Quality - with video conferencing, quality is a must. Go for well-known brands and well-reputed vendors. Avoid brand names that are new in the market, which could sell for less, but could be of less quality and give you problems later. You also don’t want to be the first one to buy a system as soon as it comes out – wait for others to utilize it and resolve the inevitable bugs.

Video conferencing can be a complex system, and selecting the best setup for you can be challenging. Inquire about equipment and services warranties to protect your investment. Test your setup --you want to make sure video is of great quality, and audio follows mouth movements without distracting delays. Overall, be sure your video conferencing will meet your needs, not only for now, but for the long haul.

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