A Guide to Video Conferencing: Evaluating your Needs

Decision Making and evaluating Collaboration Needs

Video Conferencing: An Intro

How we communicate in our offices, across our business and with clients and customers is changing. 

Where there was once costly travel, conference calls emerged to speed up the conversation and decision making, remove the barriers of office walls and distance, and improve the way we communicate. Jump forwards almost 2 decades, and we’re seeing a huge growth in the number of home and remote workers (just look around in your local coffee shop), mobile devices have become viable for working from, and people are able to see each other face-to-face, in high quality, wherever they are located around the globe. 

The benefits of Video for communication is finally being recognised, not just by a small few, but by the masses – both helped by improvements in technology to ensure reliability and high quality, and the proliferation of video in day-to-day life. The workplace is now filled with individuals who have grown up with video as a primary communication tool, and it’s expected to be accessible and useable for everyday productivity to take place. 

Cloud video conferencing has made the process even more simple, enabling individuals to be making video calls from anywhere that they can find an internet connection or mobile data. You can be up and running in minutes, making HD video calls from your favourite devices, and the central administrator in the IT department still has complete control over the users, access and security features, keeping everyone managed with centralised analytics for business reporting. For the user, the human element of face-to-face communication provides a more natural experience, and for the administrator, deploying and managing a cloud solution is easier and more secure than ever before.

For almost 20 years, the team at VideoCentric have been providing organisations with the knowledge needed to search out and select the best collaborative solutions for your needs. In the next few blogs, we’ll cover the four classic approaches to video conferencing, the features worth evaluating and the pitfalls to look out for.

In the first blog of this series, “A Guide to Video Conferencing”, we’re going to take a look at evaluating the needs of your business, to help you select the right solution for your employees, teams and office spaces.

Checklist for evaluation

Evaluating Your Video Conferencing Needs

Far to many organisations begin their journey looking at particular vendors and pricing options. In fact the first step should also be to evaluate your company’s needs, which  helps cut through the clutter and marketing fluff and narrow the options down to a select few to be properly evaluated. 

There are many vendors in the market place, but all have their benefits, and all have their downfalls. Some will help address your challenges, some could add to them. If a solution looks cheap, but it doesn’t address the challenges you set out to solve, then it could be a very costly decision. If a solution looks pricey, but addresses all your needs and more, it could be saving thousands in costs elsewhere in your business in the long run, making it a highly valuable addition to your workforce. 

Lifesize Icon Series in Small Meeting Room

One of the great things about a cloud-based solution, however, is that as those needs change, you can easily scale up or down to match.

To start with, consider these questions about your current requirements:

  1. How many locations do we need to connect?

  2. Do we have remote or work-from-home employees?

  3. How many total employees will use the service?

  4. How many meeting rooms need to be video-enabled?

  5. What types of devices does the solution need to support?

    • Meeting room system

    • Mac®

    • PC

    • iOS mobile/tablet

    • AndroidTM mobile/tablet

    • Windows® mobile/tablet

  6. Are security and encryption important factors?

  7. Do we want separate systems for audio and web conferencing?

  8. How will employees use the service?

    • 1:1 conversations

    • Multiway group collaboration

    • Large/all-hands meetings

  9. How technical is our user base?

  10. What are some must-have features for our video solution?

It may also be useful to consider challenges that have been faced in the past, by both your administration and IT teams, and your users. A challenge with any new technology or solution is adoption, and by having your users and teams onboard from the onset, you will ensure the solution is right for their needs and ultimately ensure the end deployment is adopted too.

Match your Priorities to the Solution Set

As video services differentiate themselves, you start to see the importance of matching your priorities to the solution set that best fits your needs. Some services offer a mix of web collaboration and content sharing but fail on multiway video conferencing. Others offer audio, video and web conferencing capabilities but lack enterprise- grade features that businesses look for, like recording and reporting.

Now you’ve got some answers and understanding of some of the needs you wish to address, it’ll be far more simple to narrow down the options and solutions to choose from, and make the right decision when it comes to your deployment and investment.

Our next blog in our “Guide to Video Conferencing” will look at the 4 categories of video conferencing, and the benefits and pitfalls of each. Why not get in touch with our team today to discuss your needs, or let us talk through with you to help you work them out. Have a no-pressure chat with our lovely team on 0118 214 2300.

Already Evaluated?

However if you’ve already evaluated your needs and want to take the evaluation to the next stage, why not try out a free trial of one of our most used Video Conferencing solutions from Lifesize? We can give you a 2 week trial of the cloud here, but if you give us a call, we can arrange for a pair of Video Conferencing systems to get to your HQ and office locations, for you to trial at the same time, to really see how the solution could work for you. 





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