By Jesscia M.
Although it may seem like a simple function to perform – call someone miles and miles away with a little video feed attached – there’s vast array of budget choices and equipment decisions to be made surrounding video conferencing. Today more so than in the past, there seems to be a flavor of video conference equipment for absolutely any size and kind of business – from your newest little startup in Singapore, to the Lion City’s largest and biggest banking giants.
No matter where in the spectrum you and your business fit, if you have clients abroad or work with international employees, you’ll want to invest in today’s video conferencing systems – mostly because they’re nothing like what the industry used to be.
You Don’t Need New Equipment, Just New Software
One of the bigger benefits of the expansion of the Internet is the advent of total connectivity between any and all devices – from smartphones, tablets and computers to your washing machine and refrigerator. The Internet of Things, as it’s called, isn’t the only system on the verge of happening – communication has gotten a serious upgrade as well, making it easy for companies to develop video conferencing technology that can cross-communicate between various different devices.
For small businesses, this is great news – it means they can take advantage of light-weight and fast video conferencing software without having to worry about the hefty price tag of a simultaneous hardware upgrade.
Some Businesses Are Better off with a Dedicated System
That doesn’t mean video conferencing systems are obsolete in today’s world – on the contrary, to produce the proper video and audio quality and host the kind of private networks necessary to safely and securely transfer business files, dedicated hardware and enterprise-level conference suites are recommended. Whatever your video conference equipment provider calls it, there is an actual point to premium services – the biggest point being convenience, and the second-biggest point being security.
A Norton study in 2013 found that Singapore had the highest per capita financial losses on average through hacking – US$1,158 – making the need for better security a clear must. Some businesses may still underestimate the importance of digital security in the modern age, but in a world where hacking and economic cyber warfare is more frequent than one would think, it’s impertinent that large businesses and corporations pay more attention to ensuring that their communications and files are encrypted, and stored safely on dedicated servers deep within well-secured data centers.
The Deal with Video Conferencing in the 2010s
Over the last three decades, video conferencing has gone from being an early technology used by corporations to discuss international business, to an everyday tool for enterprises and small businesses alike. Partially, it’s because of how the technology has become cheaper with time – but partially, the most recent change with video conferencing is to be credited to the inclusion of the cloud.
The cloud is an Internet-based technology that allows various different users to communicate, as well as exchange and host files on dedicated server space kept and held by an independent third party. Acting as a “cloud” that stores and distributes data, high-budget cloud centers keep their files in heavily-secured, constantly monitored data centers to prevent physical damage or theft of the servers and their data. Sophisticated cloud infrastructure also ensures security through high-level encryption on their network.
This is all fine and dandy, but you may be wondering what it has to do with video conferencing.
Why Video Conferencing Is Going Cloud-based
Video conferencing has become more than face-to-face communication – it has become communication of all sorts, including the upkeep of software security and file sharing. The cloud is the perfect way to make video conferencing technology cheaper for small businesses who just want to have access to the power of video conferencing without worrying about the inherent hardware infrastructure usually necessary to run a conferencing set-up, and larger corporations that want the security and ease-of-use that the cloud offers them.
Another major point for companies with pre-existing video conferencing hardware is the IT headaches commonly associated with the constant setting up required to get things running smoothly. As Forbes points out, cloud computing is the default way to run applications – of over 1,000 respondents on a query into the cloud-based industry in 2015, 82 percent have a hybrid cloud strategy, and that’s up 8 percent from last year.
Video conferencing software issues are eliminated with better software and frequent patching, while the hardware offered by newer companies on the video conferencing scene goes through pains to be as simple to implement as possible while retaining the power that, say, Polycom video conferencing equipment possesses. Some companies, like Blue Jeans, even integrate with pre-existing equipment to help businesses upgrade. For instance, a lot of businesses are taking up robust content sharing and live video streaming to connect with their audience, which can only be matched by enterprise-grade video streaming and conferencing technology.
Free and cheaper options like Skype, Google Hangouts are present in the market, but they can’t provide enterprise level video conferencing and live video streaming capabilities to small, medium and large scale businesses. The current paradigm of corporate communication and business solutions have made it imperative for players like Blue Jeans to co-exist with Microsoft’s Skype and Google’s Hangouts, and fill-in the void for contemporary cloud-based video communication requirements.
Saving Money with Newer Video Conferencing Tech
Versus older video conferencing solutions, newer companies offer the same amount of power for as much as a 90 percent reduction in total costs, according to Forbes. Cutting down on the bulk of manpower and equipment needed to run high-power video conferencing technology, and then adding that to the money saved through the cloud by outsourcing digital security and file storage adds up to a mighty cost-effective price tag for absolutely any-sized business.