Many small businesses believe that video conferencing is only for large companies. They can probably see the benefits that video conferencing brings, but for them, it’s something that exceeds their budget, or they don’t think they will see a big enough return on their investment. Perhaps years ago that may have been the case, but today there are options that firmly place video conferencing within the reach of every small or medium sized enterprise.
At Smarter Interactive we give every business the opportunity to access affordable video conferencing through a Managed Service. The Managed Service is ideal for companies who want to try out video conferencing without having to commit to buying full systems. It’s also perfect for those businesses that aren’t entirely sure how they are going to use video conferencing as it is flexible and can be upscaled as you need it.
To be able to use video conferencing equipment you need a “bridge” – which provides the connection between you and the other parties. Video conferencing systems that include a bridge are costly and often out of the reach of SMEs. With our Managed Service, however, you invest in basic video conferencing equipment or use your existing equipment (including older ISDN systems) and then use a contracted bridging service from us on a monthly basis, over a fixed term contract period (usually 12 months). Each contract costs £79 per month for a video conferencing hardware solution or £39 per month for a PC or mobile user. However, if at any time you find you need additional ports you can add them when required. If at the end of the contract you realise you actually need multiple ports on a regular basis you may find it more economical to purchase equipment that includes a bridge, such as the LifeSize Team (4 ports) or Room (8 ports) systems. Alternatively, you can continue using our Managed Service, utilising as many contracts as you need on a regular basis, and expanding your network as and when required.
The other big advantage of using our Managed Service is that you won’t experience any issues with bandwidth or connection speeds. When purchasing video conferencing equipment, one of the things companies often overlook is their internet connection. Every connection to a conference requires around 1MB of bandwidth so if you have 4 people on a conference call, that’s around 3-4MB needed, or up to 6MB for an 8-way call – both download and upload. The quality of the video conferencing is only ever as good as the bandwidth available to either party so even if you have a very fast internet connection you’re going to find it problematic if the other parties don’t. Our Managed Service has 1GB upload/download bandwidth and can cope with up to 24 conference participants through our 24 way expansion option.
So how can you achieve good ROI with our Managed Service? There are the soft benefits of video conferencing, of course – more time, improved staff morale, increased productivity, better quality of life. But it’s the financial benefits that really pay off. After your initial investment in video conferencing equipment (which can be as little as a webcam!) you only pay for users or hardware systems you require to host a meeting. With the average car costing around £80 a time to fill, up, it won’t require many meetings run over video to deliver a swift return on investment….
If you currently travel to meetings and would like to explore whether using a video conferencing managed service would cut down on travel, give you more time and be a good return on your investment, give us a call on 0118 336 0010 today.