With 2020 mere moments away, it’s suffice to say that every business needs a video conferencing solution. Whether you are a small business owner, a medium-sized business, or a sprawling large enterprise, phone calls and ineffective video conferencing just aren’t going to cut it for ongoing communications.
But with a range of products on the market it can be difficult to pick the right solution for your business. That’s why we’ve put together a little guide that should make the decision-making a little easier.
Ask yourself these questions to find the answer.
What do you need from a video conferencing solution?
Each organisation has different requirements when it comes to video conferencing. Let’s take a look at some common requirements for video conferencing.
Easy for anyone to operate
This includes people who are tech-adverse, or don’t have the time to be clicking multiple buttons. Your video conferencing solution should be easy for people anywhere, of any tech ability, to operate.
Sure, we have plenty of one to one video conversations, but the ability to have multiple participants is important. Think about the upper limit of how many participants you would need on a call.
The ability to add guests (non-company)
While for businesses with remote teams, most video conferencing will not be done in-house but across distance, you will probably want the option to add outside guests, too. This could be for remote interviewing, talking to clients or potential clients, or other outside contractors.
Ability to use standard equipment
You don’t want to have to invest in a good microphone and webcam for all participants, you want to be able to make do with standard equipment, which may mean in-built mics and cameras that are a few years old.
Cross-platform (Windows, Mac, iPhone, Android)
Because many businesses operate across a range of different platforms (particularly if there is a BYOD policy in house), you want your video conferencing solution to work on any device. You may also want a solution that is workable on Linux.
One way for video conferencing to be truly cross-platform is for there to be a browser-based version of the software. Do be aware that browser-based video conferencing solutions are often less impressive than standalone apps.
Much like you may scramble to write things down during or after a phone call, you could be doing the same if there is no recording function available for your video conference. With recording, you’re able to engage fully with other participants without having to worry you’ll forget what was spoken about.
A solution that doesn’t require huge bandwidth
Choppy video conferencing can be worse than a phone call, and is generally down to slow internet connections, or video conferencing solutions that need a lot of bandwidth (on both sides) to operate.
The system should have close to zero downtime, as you will need scheduled meetings to go ahead as planned.
The ability to use a telephone to dial in
Not everyone always has access to stable internet. For these participants, a telephone dial-in number to hear and speak in the conversation may be necessary.
Screen sharing abilities
Participants should be able to share their screen with the conference with ease. Some allow drawing over the screen, making notes, etc. as well.
For important information that needs to be captured immediately, such as the spelling of a name, or a link to a website, a chat bar makes a handy video conferencing addition.
There are some other considerations that may also influence your decision-making process.
Pricing plans for video conferencing solutions vary. Some are free (such as Google Hangouts, although the business version is not free, but part of GSuite), some are per user, per call, whether phone dial-in is accepted, has a limit on the length of the meeting, etc. Solutions will generally have tiered options available, with the ability to upgrade or purchase add-ons should the need arise.
Will you need dedicated 24/7 customer service? Or are you happy to have backup systems in place until you figure out the answers?
Some video conferencing solutions also offer transcription, which can be handy for meeting reviews.
Think you might need the option for live webinars going out to many participants? This is a feature that some video conferencing providers offer.
Remote access ability
Some companies find remote access to other participants’ machines a handy addition to video conferencing. This is particularly useful for help-desk type situations.
Free trial period
Making sure the solution works as you intend it to is a massive consideration. A free trial period should be included, or a money-back guarantee on your first time-period.
Evaluating the market
As you’ve probably come to realise, there are plenty of options on the market: Zoom, Cisco Webex, Screenconnect, Microsoft Teams, Polycom, and more. If you’d like some help in narrowing down the field (and even rolling out your eventual solution) then make sure to drop us a line. Collaboration solutions is one of our areas of specialty, and we’d love to make sure you get the perfect solution for your business. Chat to us today!
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