From executive roundtables and corporate training across multiple locations, to department meetings and sales calls, the uses of videoconferencing on all levels of the corporate hierarchy are virtually limitless.

Previously considered a “nice-to-have” tool used exclusively by senior management and major stakeholders as a way to reduce travel costs, videoconferencing is quickly becoming a company-wide “must have” for enterprises seeking to boost productivity, efficiency and quality of communication.

As a result, the question has shifted from “Do I need videoconferencing?” to “What videoconferencing solution is right for my company?” To answer this question, you need a basic understanding of the three general categories of videoconferencing solutions:

  1. Telepresence. This solution most closely resembles an in-person meeting. Telepresence uses large-screens, high-definition video and high-fidelity audio in conference rooms that have been specifically designed for this purpose. This highly secure videoconferencing solution is the most expensive to implement and operate, and requires all meeting participants to use similarly equipped facilities.
  2. Desktop Videoconferencing. This solution works with desktop computers, IP phone systems and mobile devices, enabling anyone with Internet access to transform their workspace into a videoconferencing center. Desktop videoconferencing includes a number of interactive, business and administrative features, and is cost-effective and simple to implement enterprise-wide.
  3. Freemium. As the name suggests, the base services and functions are free, although additional features are available for a fee. Commonly used for social videoconferencing, not business, Freemium solutions are very easy to use, but offer poor video quality and a lack of security, reliability, scalability and business features.

While the cost of Freemium is certainly appealing, its limitations are not. Using personal mobile devices in a BYOD environment doesn’t mean you have to use consumer-grade videoconferencing apps. Freemium solutions simply don’t offer the quality of enterprise-level solutions and are much better suited for personal use.

There are a number of features you should look for in a videoconferencing solution. It should be integrated with your IP telephony system and use high-definition video to create a clean, smooth user experience. Look for the highest possible frame rate and output resolution to prevent video lag and ensure high image quality. Your solution should allow for desktop screen sharing, instant messaging among meeting participants and muting.

From an administrative standpoint, your videoconferencing solution should enable simple scheduling, attendance reporting, recording and archiving of meetings. Password protection, data encryption and remote control by an administrator will help keep your videoconferences secure.

When you choose a videoconferencing solution, look beyond hard cost savings and seek input from users about how they might be able to take advantage of this technology. The more you integrate videoconferencing into everyday business processes, the sooner you’ll realize a full return on your investment.

Let’s discuss how your company can tap into the full power of videoconferencing to improve how you do business.

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