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Points to consider before investing in video communication

Video communication is becoming the most cost effective way for businesses to connect with their global offices, clients, suppliers and remote workers. However, there are so many videoconferencing tools around that it can be confusing knowing which would be the best solution for your company. Should you buy a dedicated system – and if so, which one? Is a software solution sufficient for your needs? Or should you look at the latest cloud technologies?

Here are some of the points to consider before investing in video communication:

  • Will you be communicating with people on a one to one basis, or do you want multiple simultaneous connections?
  • Who will you be conferencing with – internal staff? External suppliers? Global partners? 
  • How often will you use your videoconferencing system – once in a while or every day/week?
  • What return on investment (ROI) will you get on your purchase?
  • Are you happy just seeing headshots of the people you conference with – or do you need to see the whole room?
  • What’s your budget?
  • How good is your bandwidth speed – both at your office and at the premises of everyone you will be conferencing with?

Perhaps the most important point to consider before investing in video communication technology is the last one: how good is your bandwidth speed? Download speeds are not normally an issue, but to send quality video and audio you need fast upload speeds too, and that can be a problem. Even simple videoconferencing solutions such as Skype can fall down when it comes to upload speed. If you install a dedicated videoconferencing system then you will need download and upload speeds of at least 750kb per connection; in other words, if you wish to connect 6 people you need an upload speed of around 4.5MB – which is often not achievable without changing your networking infrastructure.

Bandwidth issues are one of the reasons why more and more companies are starting to use cloud-based or externally hosted videoconferencing solutions. They also deal with one of the other points to consider – how many people you need to conference with at the same time – because most cloud solutions are not affected as much by numbers. For example, LifeSize Connections allows up to 9 people to communicate at once, with no bandwidth problems, and Smarter’s own hosted videoconferencing service can host up to 16 connections simultaneously.

Another key issue is that of viewpoint – do you only need to see the head and shoulders of the people you conference with, or would you prefer to see the whole meeting room? The answer to that question could push you in the direction of either a software-based solution using webcams, or dedicated videoconferencing hardware where the camera can take in the whole room, be repositioned and zoom etc. Of course if you’re thinking about software or hardware, you also need to consider what your budget is.

Finally, on the subject of budget, another point to consider before investing in video communication is the ROI. An operator lease enables companies to install high spec equipment for a low fixed monthly cost. One company we leased equipment to were immediately able to save thousands of pounds every month on travel expenses without having to invest thousands of pounds in the technology to do so. If budget is an issue, or you’d like more flexibility in upgrading your technology, it might be worth thinking about an operator lease rather than buying equipment outright.

If you’d like to know more about the range of videoconferencing solutions available from Smarter Interactive, give us a call on 0118 336 0010 or fill in the form on the right to request a call back.

 

 

 

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