How Do I Choose the Best Video Conferencing Equipment?

Malcolm Tatum

Choosing the right video conferencing equipment for your business is a task that requires strict attention to detail. Since the components of this type of system can be expensive, care should be taken to consider key factors such as the resolution quality of the conference monitors and screens, the sound clarity of the video conference phones connected with the system, the range of features provided for use by attendees and moderators, and the difficulty in operating the system. By comparing several different systems carefully, it is possible to purchase the right equipment and enjoy consistent quality in video conference usage for a number of years.

Video conferencing may help reduce a business's travel expenses.
Video conferencing may help reduce a business's travel expenses.

Before attempting to evaluate any video conferencing equipment, it is important to determine what you want in the system. Many companies make use of internal systems that essentially make use of some central hardware placed at a corporate headquarters which helps to support usage of other components at each of the locations on the network. Others choose to go with self-contained systems spotted at each location, capable of working independently of each other. If the idea is to set up a network that allows each location to manage their own conferences, then taking this into consideration will impact the type of equipment that is purchased.

A webcam that is able to accurately pick up dialogue is important for a video conference.
A webcam that is able to accurately pick up dialogue is important for a video conference.

Along with flexibility in usage, factors related to the actual execution of the video conference will also be important. For example, some video conference equipment will allow the moderator to split the display to view each of the attending locations in a single conference at the same time, rather than having to manually move from one to the next, or set the system to display the location that is currently talking or active in some other way. More advanced systems will also allow the moderator to initiate connections with attendees, bringing those locations into the meeting, or to disconnect locations from a meeting once they are no longer needed. Features such as muting or allowing the moderator to pull one or two locations aside for a private conference independent of the main meeting is also another feature that may be worth consideration.

Once decisions are made about the type of hardware and software features that are considered necessary, the task of locating the best video conferencing equipment will focus on finding systems that will be a good fit. This will often involve working with sales representatives to identify specific systems and configurations, as well as attending demonstrations of those systems. Unlike the purchase of other types of business communication systems, actually seeing the video conferencing equipment in use is imperative to making an informed decision.

After identifying a couple of video conferencing equipment packages that seem to meet your needs, take the time to compare those systems in terms of quality, ease of use, sound and picture quality, and overall cost, including installation and maintenance. Taking the time to look closely at each of these aspects will make it easier to determine which system will provide the highest level of service for the best price, making the purchase more cost-effective. Always look closely at the terms of the service agreement and warranty, and lock in the best terms possible. This will help to minimize the expense of owning and operating the video conferencing equipment, making it easier to stay within budget.

You might also Like

Discuss this Article

Post your comments
Forgot password?