3 Considerations When Choosing a Video Conferencing Solution

April 8, 2020 Graham Baker

Now more than ever it's critical that you empower your employees with the right video conferencing and collaboration solutions to ensure business longevity.

Successfully deploying the right video conferencing solution means assessing equipment capabilities, addressing meeting room design and connectivity issues, while keeping a keen eye on the importance of delivering a meaningful user experience.

Aligning Equipment Capabilities with User Needs

Whether leveraging an already installed base of conferencing equipment or completely transitioning to a cloud-based offering, achieving interoperability is essential. For example, if most conference calls are either within the enterprise or to contacts on the same platform (e.g. Microsoft Teams) there’s less need for interoperability at each endpoint. However, dedicated spaces are often necessary for external conferences. Inconsistency can result in frustration and a poor user experience for your employees.

As the need for collaboration increases, device compatibility and content sharing capabilities have become key components to enterprise-grade solutions. Making the right selection starts with understanding what devices types (laptops, tablets or other mobile devices) team members will utilize, and how the solution enables content sharing—whether it’s wirelessly or through a dedicated table-top connector.

One of the key benefits of today's conferencing services is the ability to support any device, from anywhere, at any time. Supporting employees with video conferecning solutions at home, is now just as important as the ability to collaborate within the workplace. It is estimated that 43 percent of employees worked from home at least once a week, before the COVID-19 crisis, and that number has drastically increased since.

It’s also essential to consider how other software applications integrate with the conferencing system. Integration plays a pivotal role in room booking and scheduling through calendars as well as collaboration and messaging tools like Slack. Team members are far more likely to embrace conferencing systems that fit naturally into their workflow.

Prioritizing Meeting Room Design

Understandably, most organizations require a mix of deployments. In addition to empowering remote work, IT professionals should consider how meeting room design will need to change in the new way of work.

When designing these spaces, the decision to utilize standardized equipment and user interfaces across all rooms provides team members with the same experience regardless of the location. This not only increases adoption rates for new systems, it dramatically reduces the amount of training and day-to-day IT support necessary, while enabling rapid rollouts to other locations when needed.

Social distancing measures will need to be enforced by companies once employees return to work, and as a result IT Teams need to ensure that their meeting room microphones can pick up speech from every corner of the room.  Not being able to hear clearly is far worse than not being able to see someone. Poor audio can result in miscommunication, bad decision making and much frustration for all parties involved. 

Working with a knowledgeable AV integrator can help ensure that meeting room design meets the  requirements of the new way of work. Other key considerations include adjusting camera angles and microphones so that everyone can be seen and heard in the dispersed room, while also ensuring everyone has a clear view of the display.

Connectivity concerns

LAN performance is still critical to successful conferencing. A typical video conference call requires around 1 to 2Mb/s for HD images. Conferencing systems are designed to adjust image quality depending on the available bandwidth, but there is only so much that can be done before video and then audio quality suffer.

WiFi network coverage is equally important. Poor connectivity can quickly ruin a video conference. For the best results, take the time to check coverage for your access points — adding or adjusting as necessary. For dedicated room systems, it might be worth considering a wired network connection.

Bottom line: The right video conferencing solution can go a long ways to improving team collaboration and productivity, this is especially true as today’s workforce continues to evolve. Of course getting it right means factoring in all the key concerns and making a decision that team members will actually use.

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