It seems that any discussion of modern technology can’t go for long without “the cloud” being brought up. With exceptional advancements in network capability, storage technology, and innovation, Web users worldwide are now able to leverage a number of solutions through “the cloud”, a seemingly surreal place where data can be stored, accessed, shared, and so on. Cloud-based services offer a number of unique solutions, and video conferencing is no different. Let’s take a look at a few of the benefits of cloud-based video conferencing.
- Cost. Cloud-based solutions tend to be cheaper because they do not necessarily rely on sophisticated hardware and do not require installation.
- Adaptability. A cloud-based system will generally work on a wide range of platforms and does not require nearly as much preparation or special concerns prior to being implemented as a solution.
- Scalability. Many non-cloud video conferencing solutions require that you make a large investment or none at all; with cloud-based solutions, you can purchase only what you need.
There are, however, also a few issues that remain with cloud-based conferencing that may cause problems for your business if not handled correctly:
- User Experience. Cloud-based tools that may include the use of different devices in different scenarios can cause confusion and hesitance among the users.
- Quality. As much as those larger investments may hurt or seem undesirable, they generally offer the highest level of video conferencing quality.
With these considerations, it seems that cloud-based video conferencing may be a solution best suited for small-to-medium sized businesses (SMBs). We look forward to the future of cloud-based solutions!
With the rapid growth in popularity of video chats and more comprehensive conferencing solutions around the world, it has become especially important for businesses that either provide video conferencing services or use them to accomplish work tasks to consider how the user experience is affecting productivity and overall success. With the wide range of solutions available on so many distinct devices, it can be difficult for users to grasp the best way to use the technology and for them to be able to apply this knowledge to different areas of work and personal life. Marty Parker of Unified Communications Strategies recently wrote an in-depth analysis of the video conferencing user experience where he broke down the different scenarios and solutions for maintaining a strong user experience.
In his first example of how user experience can be muddled, Parker looks at the use of video conferencing in a business or enterprise environment. He suggests that the use of different tools for desktop conferencing and for conference room calls with larger groups can be problematic. The proposed solution may be highly relevant to businesses currently engaged in this practice:
“One option is to integrate the desktop UC system with the conference room system by enabling the users of UC desktop clients to connect into the video room systems from their UC client; the UC client then looks like a SIP-based video device to the room system. One client, happy users. Increasingly, this option is a proven documented solution between most pairs of desktop and room system vendors, albeit often with some vendor reluctance based on control and revenue.”
On the other hand, many businesses simply do not require or can not support this integrated solution. For businesses that may need to support BYOD conferencing solutions, it may be effective to help locate a video conferencing service that functions on all relevant platforms and meets the specific level of solution needs for your business and its workers. Keeping it uniform can go a long way.
Do you think video conferencing is moving towards a more unified user experience? Share your thoughts in the comments!
We often discuss how video conferencing is an invaluable tool for businesses and institutions around the world. We’ve seen it flourish in health care, education, the justice system, media, government, and in businesses of all kinds everywhere you can imagine. One topic that seems to get less attention is the use of video conferencing for personal endeavors. As much as we’re accustomed to communication methods such as e-mail, text messaging, and telephone conversations, video conferencing offers people a unique and more intimate way of getting in touch.
Let’s say you’re living away from your parents and you haven’t gotten the chance to see them in a while. Video conferencing offers you an extra step of intimacy in communication with them than you would have through the phone. Chat with your family face-to-face, show them your new pet or around your new home, see their smiles, and enjoy a good talk. Once you’ve tried it out, the alternatives really pale in comparison!
Video conferencing can also open up new opportunities for your academic and professional life. If you’re interviewing for a position at a job or for a spot at a school program but you can’t be there in person, it may be possible for you to present yourself via video conference to display your professionalism, skills, and experience. With the right attitude and preparation, video conferencing can really put you in a stronger light than a phone interview. That’s why it’s good to have a personal video conferencing tool – even a free one like Skype – and some experience using it in case you might need to take part in a professional and meaningful video conference.
Programs like Skype and FaceTime are available at no charge and give you a great introduction to the world of video conferencing. Everyone should try it out for themselves!
Video conferencing comes in a wide range of shapes and sizes – and one size rarely fits all. As Search Unified Communications discusses in their recent analysis of Polycom’s newest line of RealPresence products, the Group 300, 500, and 700 series, it is often necessary to develop distinct products to meet the needs of businesses and institutions of different sizes. Polycom’s solution attempts to meet the needs and means of small, medium, and large-sized businesses; setting these products at different parameters and price levels may offer customers a better way of getting the products they need without having to shell out more or less than they want to spend on the technology.
But what is the purpose of the higher-end, “HD” video conferencing tools? One subject the article breaches and considers to be an important distinction between high-end and low-end conferencing software is whether a network and software system will have the ability to stream video alongside a video conference. The article explains:
“Having the unique ability to successfully stream video alongside an active video conference while maintaining the quality of both sessions opens the door for some unique use cases, especially in the education, health care and media spaces, Wainhouse’s Weinstein said.”
Imagine you’re taking part in a remote classroom experience and the lecturer wants to share information through a video. Having the ability to stream this video from your own location may be highly beneficial and could strengthen the learning experience in a significant way. Similar needs may be met in other environments with the right level of power in your video conferencing systems.
HD video conferencing certainly isn’t for everyone, and it can be difficult to find the budget for it. But it’s not just a luxury – it does offer some unique and beneficial features.