Video conferencing gives companies of all sizes opportunities to save money on travel without sacrificing the face-to-face communication. Your team can more easily collaborate on projects and understand each other fully, even at a distance.
But before you start using video conferencing, you should learn about the types of video conferencing, the necessary tools, and the features to look for when choosing a service.
“Technology allows for teams to collaborate regardless of location. This means the ability to build stronger, more diverse teams that can execute more effectively and efficiently.” – Forbes
Popular types of video conferencing
Most options falls into one of four categories.
On-premises video conferencing
Traditional on-premises video conferencing has largely fallen out of favor with SMBs because the option requires expensive equipment and maintenance from an IT team.
Web conferencing works like an enhanced audio conference call. It tends to work well when a small number of people want to present information to a larger audience that doesn’t participate in the conversation.
Meet-me video services
Meet-me video services are similar to web conferencing. The difference is that web conferencing usually requires a reservation while you can use meet-me video services at any time.
Cloud video conferencing
Cloud video conferencing is one of the best options for SMBs because it’s typically very secure and doesn’t require expensive hardware.
Tools needed for video conferencing
The tools that you need for video conferencing depends on the type of solution your business prefers. For the most basic video conference, you only need a computer or mobile device with a microphone and video camera.
For larger, more professional video conferences, you may want to invest in equipment like a 360-degree video camera, microphones, speakerphone and remote control. Some companies even make video conferencing kits that include everything you need to participate in a call.
Depending on the number of people you want to take part in the conference call and the quality that you expect, you can spend anywhere from $500 to $5,000 on a kit.
Features to look for when choosing a service
Services can differ significantly from company to company. When comparing your options, you should pay attention to important features like:
- Security with encryption and firewalls that prevent unauthorized users from accessing the conference
- Administrative tools that let you add participants and change security permissions easily
- Flexibility that allows people to connect to the video conference with any type of device, including mobile devices and desktop computers
Other features to consider include:
- Scheduling integrations
- Screen sharing
- Live chat
- Call escalation
- 24/7 customer support
“In the modern workplace the user experience cannot be hampered by security controls – yet we have to make sure corporate information and assets remain protected.” – CIO
How video conferencing benefits businesses
Although you need to invest in equipment and services before you can use video conferencing, these costs pale in comparison to the cost of business travel. This option helps you avoid paying for flights, taxis, car rentals, hotel rooms and meals.
When you consider how many people need to participate in a discussion, it becomes obvious how much money businesses can save by using video conferences.
Video conferencing also helps you:
- Stay connected with remote workers
- Train employees
- Form relationships
- Schedule meetings at any time of day
Each business has unique needs. As long as you explore your options and compare features, you should be able to choose equipment and services that work well for your company.
If you need more specific, strategic advice on the best options for your business, contact your managed IT services provider.