Video Conferencing: the new standard in business meetings
As little as five years ago, video conferencing and collaboration was considered "leading edge" and only the largest companies could afford the heavy upfront investment for equipment, dedicated room space and a team of people to manage it.
Fast forward to 2019 and the investment has shrunk to pennies on the dollar. You can now "video enable" a conference room for less than $5,000 (in fact, we have room kits for less than $2000). And supporting those rooms doesn't take an army of technical wizards either - any company can have a room up and running in less than a couple days.
Cost and technical expertise is no longer a barrier for any company. What holds many people back is perception, more than reality. There is still a perception that Video Conferencing is difficult or it requires specialized technical knowledge to setup and keep running. The difference between today and the past, is now video conferencing is "software based", meaning most of the complicated video and audio capabilities are now manged by software, rather than hardware.
Support hasn't gone away, you still need to manage the software licenses, train and support users, manage room hardware, etc. but it has been simplified. In fact, the latest versions of Zoom now support consolidated, remote management room hardware, which allows "management" of Zoom Rooms from remotely. On-site personnel are not required to solve most problems.
Picking the right products is key when moving into the world of video conferencing and reaping the benefits of connecting with employees, work teams and customers.
But how to make the the "right" decision when you don't necessarily know the right questions to ask. The key to getting started is understanding two things about your business:
1. WHAT meeting space(s) do you want to "video conference" enable?
Rarely would any company completely transform all their meeting spaces into video conferencing spaces to begin. Most of our clients start off with either a single "room" or a single location. There are lots of things you want learn from this startup phase, including how much the room will be used, how much time/effort it takes to train your employees, what type of support is required (either internally or from an external support group), etc.
Have a plan on the type of space goes a long way in determining what hardware you need. The options aren't endless, most rooms have the same basic setup - Display, Camera, Microphones, Speakers, and Room Controls. The decisions for the type of each of those products is limited (or expanded) by the meeting space.
For example, different products would be used if the meeting space is in "open space" or if it is enclosed, like a regular conference room. There are Cameras specialized if the room has extreme light conditions, such as having windows facing East or West. Also, there are Audio products which provide both standard voice (phone calls) and video conferencing, along with Bluetooth enabled audio products.
That's why, determining the meeting space is a key decision, because the space will determine which products fit best.
2. HOW do you want to use the video conferencing meeting space?
Once you've determine the meeting space, you have to determine how you are going to use that space. We all know there are some rooms within our offices that are better for small groups, and others for large groups. Do you have lots of small teams that need to meet? Are your teams in different locations? Do you have remote employees, are they clustered in a single locations or in home offices.
One of the key benefits, beside being able to see the people in the meeting, is sharing files, collaborating on documents, reviewing project plans, etc. But this isn't limited to only to online sharing. Video conferencing allows everyone in the meeting to have an "in room" experience, that means if you have have whiteboards (either smart or not), you can show what is being written/drawn.
Understanding if the meeting space will be primarily used for team meetings, training, work/project teams, customer presentations, or anything number of other uses, that use will dictate what products fit best.
Regardless of where you start, it's important to understand video conferencing doesn't need to be difficult, in fact, it should be used to enhance your company's current communications and how your employees work today. The benefits far outweigh any disadvantages. For most of our customers, once they start down the path of adding video conferencing to their meeting spaces, they don't stop, they actually accelerate.
If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to reach out to us. We are here to ensure you have the right products for your goals.