As little as 5 years ago, video conferencing was reserved for only big organizations, and even with those, it was used to have video meetings within companies. There were two major reason for this
(1) the expense of the equipment and
(2) the support required to maintain it. It was a job reserved for a few specialists within the IT department to plan, install and support these systems.
Fast forward to today. Not only has the expense been dramatically been reduced. We are seeing an explosion of high quality, professional grade products hit the market which are much easier to install, setup and support. What would have taken days or weeks to get ready for use, now takes hours. Literally, we can setup a Zoom Rooms Video Conference room in a few yours and it's fully operational the same day. That just wasn't possible before.
The other wild thing about what's be happening the past year is just how many video conferencing enabled rooms there are - we are seeing what can only be described as an explosion. Those same companies that had a maybe a dozen "video" rooms 10 years ago, now have hundreds. All running on standardized, "off the shelf" hardware, over the same network, without crashing or having low quality video/audio. It is truly amazing what innovations are happening today.
But when you think about it, it's only a natural extension of what's happening with technology across the board. Once you lower the barrier of entry (the expense), and sprinkle in new technology and innovation - you get a revolution, not an evolution. Think about it - your table, chairs and full-wall-length whiteboard probably cost more than the video conferencing equipment. When you have full room kits starting at less than $3,000, and the video conferencing application is only a few hundred dollars a year - it starts to make sense to video conferencing enable all your conference rooms and huddle spaces.
Think about it - what does it cost to get one of your teams together, or to do a sales presentation to win that new client? Travel is expensive - it's estimated to be about $300 a day per person - if you are bringing together a team of 5 for three days, you have spent more than the cost to video conference enable one conference room ($3000 vs $4500).
Recently, one of my friends told me about a sales presentation to a new client, where his company brought in people from all over the US (all at the last minute), for a 2 hour meeting. They could have bought the equipment, sent it to their prospective client and let them keep it (regardless of becoming a customer or not) and spent less money - and that's not calculating the time lost to travel for those people in attendance.
Travel expense and time are just two reasons why video conferencing is quickly becoming the new "mode" for business - but the biggest impact may be the ability to have meetings with anyone in the world. Our clients are using them to bring globally diverse project teams together. Now we can combine the ever present conference call with being able to see someone's face (along with their facial expression), and share information like never before. In the office - no problem, get several people together in the room and then get dozens of other people together to review your progress. Have team mates from multiple continents? No problem, get them all on the same conference call (or record it - depending on its importance). There are so many ways video conferencing makes sense for companies and organizations of all sizes.
And we haven't even mentioned the impact from the ability to create distance learning curriculum. Internal training or formal education - both benefit from all the advances and innovations of today's video conferencing. Live or recorded, there is something special about having quality video and audio, along with screen sharing, integrated instant messaging, dynamic data available and the ability to add productivity tools together - once again, it's a revolution that is gaining speed.
We've been waiting for this to happen for years, and today it is. When we talk to a new customer, and they start telling us about what they have today, and where they want to go - we can only smile, because we realize, they have no idea the impact these new rooms will have. We have seen larger companies come in an idea of just "switching" over their existing rooms - and we tell them to expect to expand that number to 5 times. We've seen it happen over and over again. Once their employees start using them, the only want more, and those rooms are always booked. Some companies have a problem with individual employees or teams going out and purchasing their own equipment - because they can't use the video conferencing rooms (because they are always booked).
So be forewarned, when you go down this path, it will grow larger than you expect. And these rooms will be used more often, and in ways you didn't expect. That's the power of moving beyond a simple conference call - into the world of video conferencing. And the Revolution has only begun!
And if you get stuck, or need some help, we're here to help.