INTRO TO VIDEO CONFERENCING SOLUTIONS
With the rise of digitalization, traditional communication methods like telephone calls, audio conferences, and even in-person meetings are no longer efficient for current organizations. In today's business environment, companies demand faster, easier, and engaging communication solutions to enhance productivity and collaboration among their partners and team members. That's why video conferencing solutions have quickly become a core collaborative business tool. In this guide, you will get to know all the essential aspects to choose the best video conferencing solution for your company's needs.
WHAT IS VIDEO CONFERENCING?
Video conferencing is a remote collaboration technology that enables face-to-face meetings from anywhere. It transmits both live video and audio thanks to an Internet connection (IP network). With this flexible meeting method, businesses of all sizes can connect in real-time with international partners, workers, customers, and team members dispersed in multiple locations. Generally, this technology is used by businesses for different purposes, for example, in webinars, team meetings or collaborations, job interviews, product demos, training and support, and remote working. Nonetheless, video conferencing solutions can also be used in different fields like distance healthcare diagnostics, online education programs in universities, and even for legal purposes in courtrooms.
WHAT TYPE OF EQUIPMENT IS NEEDED FOR VIDEO CONFERENCING MEETINGS?
For conducting a video conference call, there are some essential elements involved:
Video conferencing system
Internet connection through Wi-Fi or ethernet
Displays (TV screens, laptops, tablets, etc.)
WHAT'S THE IMPACT OF VIDEO CONFERENCING CONFERENCING IN TODAY'S BUSINESS WORLD?
Based on the report by Lifesize, 59 percent of employees are using video communications solutions at the workplace, where 45 percent of whom revealed to use video calling. By using video conferencing solutions, companies reduce travel time and expenses, speed up decision making, elevate the overall productivity with better audiovisual interaction, and drive higher collaborative work across departments and locations. In a data report by Owl Labs, it was revealed that 90 percent recognized that video conferencing solutions are efficient at improving the effectiveness of teams, while 71 percent agreed that these strengthen customer relationships. Furthermore, when it comes to employee retention, studies determined that U.S. employees between the ages of 22 and 65, who works remotely, are pleased in their jobs and are more likely to stay loyal to their organizations ―in comparison with on-site workers. Certainly, thanks to video conferencing solutions, businesses are more competitive in this digitalized world.
FUTURE OF VIDEO CONFERENCING
It is worth mentioning that video conferencing solutions will continue to be on the ascent as the video is becoming the next generation of communication. In the latest Cisco Visual Networking Index, it is forecast that Internet Protocol (IP) video traffic ―including video-on-demand services, game streaming, video files, and video conferencing― will represent 82 percent of overall IP traffic by 2022. Moreover, it was estimated that the video conferencing market would grow annually ―from 2018 to 2023― at a compound growth rate of 12.1%, reaching in 2023 USD 13.82 billion. This growth is due to the rapid embrace of next-gen devices as well as intelligent services that prioritize the video as the favored mode of effective communication. Additionally, according to research studies, 83% of large businesses, 56.2% of medium-sized businesses, and 27.6% of small businesses have stated that probable will buy a video collaboration solution for their organization.
CHAPTER 1. CHOOSING A VIDEO CONFERENCING SYSTEM
It is a fact that video conferencing solutions have drastically changed the way people interact and collaborate within the workplace, offering exceptional benefits for companies indeed. However, before choosing a video conferencing solution, some aspects should be evaluated depending on your unique business needs. Let's consider the next questions:
How many attendees will use this technology?
Do you need a plug-and-play solution (easy to manage)?
How many meeting rooms will need audio and video equipment?
Do you need a solution that can be integrated into your current hardware and/or existing infrastructure?
Are you looking for a secure video conferencing solution?
What are the must-have features for your video conferencing solution?
TYPES OF VIDEO CONFERENCING SYSTEMS
For the right collaborative solution, it is important to analyze the main features and differences between the two types of video conferencing systems: standards-based and software-based.
1. STANDARDS-BASED SYSTEMS
A VC system based on hardware codecs installed and configured in your meeting room. It essentially comprises multiple communications endpoints like cameras, microphones, multipoint interfaces, speakers, remote controls, conference phones, and other kinds of hardware. This kind of system communicates over standard algorithms that have been established by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), such as H.263, H.264, H.323, and SIP. With this, your VC system will transmit video data and audio signals with other systems based on the same protocol across IP networks. The most accepted standards-based systems are from enterprises like Cisco, Poly, and Logitech.
Facilitates communication with other users owning a standards-based system (same SIP gateway), without requiring to reinvest in hardware (all-in-one system).
Emphasizes on security and reliable solutions for your conference room through encryption.
Higher video and audio quality thanks to specialized hardware.
Use of advanced hardware with dedicated bandwidth for stable video transmission.
It requires constant support and maintenance throughout its lifetime.
Lack of portability as these systems are generally used in fixed meeting rooms.
Hardware needs to be updated or replaced according to IT trends, every 2 or 3 years
.Unable to conduct a conference with someone using software-based codecs ―Video-based Screen Sharing (VbSS) or Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP).
2. SOFTWARE-BASED SYSTEMS
A system that uses software-based codecs, typically known as web-based video conferencing platforms ―for example, Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Google Hangouts, BlueJeans, etc. This system must be previously downloaded and installed on devices like tablets, laptops, desktops, and smartphones to lead a conference call. Also, it is not necessary to integrate additional hardware like cameras and microphones.
Access to a diversity of VC functionalities out of the box. For example, real-time messaging, sharing files and images, creating a directory, collaborative browsing, apply annotation tools, scheduling a meeting, customized backgrounds, call moderation, view a specific speaker, conference statistics, etc.
Generally, these systems include mobile apps dedicated to users that regularly connect on the road, at home, or in any other location.
Easy setup as they don’t require anything more than a download and an automatic installment process.
It requires constant support and maintenance throughout its lifetime.They are considered as proprietary systems, meaning that they cannot communicate with other software codecs platforms or to some H.323 systems.
Audio and video quality depend directly on a stable and reliable Internet connection. They use a lot of bandwidth.
The support is based on the manufacturer.
TOP SOFTWARE-BASED SYSTEMS
Here are the main features of the current leading video conferencing software:
1. MICROSOFT TEAMS
Microsoft Teams is the new upgrade of Skype for Business that, over the past two years, has quickly become a preferred software currently used by more than 500,000 companies worldwide. Created by Microsoft Corp, this platform includes some special features focused on enhancing productivity and collaborative work during meetings. For example, with Microsoft Teams you can customize backgrounds to minimize any distraction, transfer calls, turn on live captions and subtitles, restrict channel participation and exposure, invite any guest, prevent data loss, add an extra camera to capture content from whiteboards, record the meeting, and even share files or edit content from the Office 365 platform. Additionally, Teams can integrate third-party applications specialized in project management, such as Adobe Creative Cloud, Asana, Bizzy, Microsoft Azure, Hootsuite, Jira Cloud, Smartsheet, Intercom, Power BI, among others. Nevertheless, if you are looking for better functionalities like scheduling conferences in advance, you will have to purchase an upgraded plan.
Zoom is also a software-based system used by many worldwide companies ―such as GoDaddy and Uber. It is worth mentioning that 51 percent of the leading Fortune 1000 companies and 58 percent of the Fortune 500 use Zoom as their preferred video conferencing solution. Even more, studies revealed that 96 percent of the top 200 universities in the U.S. also use this platform. This easy-to-use platform integrates some outstanding features, such as:
Dynamic voice detection functionality.
High Definition (HD) video quality.
It allows you to share files or screen-sharing, manage and schedule meetings, record videoconferences, and invite attendees even if they don't use or have a Zoom account.
Option to have videoconferences with a wide range of participants, from 100 interactive participants to 10,000 view-only attendees.
Integrates into web browsers like Google Chrome and Firefox.
Works well with low bandwidth.
CHAPTER 2. VIDEO CONFERENCING HARDWARE
As video and audio communication are essential elements for conducting highly professional conferences, it is important to find the ideal conferencing hardware for your meeting rooms. According to recent video conferencing stats by Lifesize, 40 percent of users mentioned that video quality most often hinders a good video communication experience, while 46 percent think the same but with poor audio quality. If you want to get the best out of your video conferencing solution, here is what you need to know for selecting the right one.
1. VIDEO CONFERENCE CAMERA
Video conferencing cameras allow us to visually interact and connect with other participants as we can get to see facial expressions and each other's body language. In this way, cameras are responsible for enhancing the quality of conferences by delivering crystal clear images to create more human and inclusive meetings. With an HD video conference camera, you can indeed improve effective collaboration between all attendees and see increased productivity among team members. However, as you need to find the right webcam for your business's needs, it is essential to answer some questions. Do you need it for small conference rooms or for a big hall? Are you seeking for smarter features like automatic zoom/pan/tilt? Is it compatible with your current conferencing system? Do you require a wide or short field of view webcam?
FEATURES TO CONSIDER WHEN SELECTING A VIDEO CONFERENCE CAMERA
If you don't want to pay for extra features that you or your team members will never use, learn about the essential webcam features.
Image Quality - For high-definition conferences, you should consider buying a webcam with a video resolution of 720 pixels. If you want a professional and natural corporate image to your associates, you can select a camera with Full HD (1080p) or with 4K screen resolution.
Frames Per Second - For smooth live video conferences, choose a webcam with a range between 30 FPS and 60 FPS.
Compatibility - Verify if the webcam connection ports are compatible with your devices (laptops, tablets, TV displays, etc.) In this case, your camera should at least include a USB 2.0 connection or even allow a wireless connection through Bluetooth or Wi-Fi.
Tracking capacity - Next-gen cameras automatically identify, detect, and track active speakers within meeting rooms. These cameras can zoom in to the speaker's face in real-time, even in larger groups.
Lighting - Opt for webcams that reduce image or video noise, offer natural-looking results, optimize light balance, correct the effects of backlighting, and identify between participants and background conditions.
Field of view (FOV) - Webcams field of view generally range between 60 degrees to 180 degrees. For huddle rooms, opt for 90° FOV, but for conference halls, choose a larger FOV (180°).
Microphone - If you don't want to spend extra money on an external audio system, select a webcam that includes a microphone. Some of these cameras integrate noise-canceling functionalities.
BEST SMARTER VIDEO CONFERENCE CAMERAS
Thanks to new technological advancements, there are more sophisticated and smarter features in video conference cameras to favoring face-to-face communication. Let's check the best smarter webcams for your meeting rooms.
Polycom EagleEye Director II
Integrates a dual-camera with 1080p resolution.
Includes a tracking technology that zooms in automatically on active speakers without needing a remote control ―tracking them up to 10m.
Identifies active speakers before displaying the video. Attendees cannot see camera movements like pan, tilt, or zoom.
To improve the meeting, it deploys two cameras in the same meeting room as a way to obtain different camera angles.
Advanced 4K resolution technology.
It is easily connected to any device through a USB connection (plug-and-play).
Cancels acoustic echo and provides full-duplex conversations.
Includes automatic people framing and speaker tracking.
5x electronic zoom activated when someone is talking.
120-degree field of view with advanced technology that minimizes image distortion.
HuddleCamHD SimplTrack 2
Includes a 60-degree field of view.
By using its two lenses, it tracks people at distances up to 50ft away.
Streams a clear video quality, between 1080p and 60 FPS.
Compatible with online or cloud-based VC software like GoToMeeting, Zoom, and WebEx; without needing additional drivers.
Easy connection of your camera through USB 3.0 video.
It is powered by an Artificial Intelligence (AI) system. Its neural engine recognizes, understands, and reacts to the environment in real-time, also detect people and a diversity of background objects.
With embedded microphones.
Works with accurate automation capabilities.
150-degree wide-angle view; adjusting the angle automatically when people move within the conference room. Perfect for video conferences with several participants.
Smoothly zooms in on participants and frames them―ensuring rich image quality.
It provides you meaningful data insights as it evaluates, measures, and analyzes info related to meeting spaces usage.
It offers a 4K UHD video quality―accurate color―and 16x zoom with Pan/Tilt/Zoom.
Automatically frames everyone in your meeting room.
86° wide field of view.
It provides backlight compensation as well as reducing image noise for improving light balance regardless of lighting conditions.
Collects and analyzes people-counting data for a better understanding of meeting-space usage.
A well as video quality, audio can significantly hinder your video communication, especially when there is background noise within the room or when participants cannot be heard because they are too far from the audio system. So, to overcome these audio issues, you need to understand the different functionalities used in speakers, conference phones, and microphones. Check out the top 5 audio conferencing systems.
2. AUDIO CONFERENCING SYSTEMS
TOP AUDIO-CONFERENCING HARDWARE
A smart conference phone integrating exclusive technology that automatically mutes when there is background noise.
Specializes in excellent voice quality without hindering the adequate performance of the video.
Excellent audio output with a wide microphone coverage and pickup range.
Easy wired or wireless pairing.
Capability to high definition content sharing.
Option to attach additional expansion mics.
It offers high audio clarity.
Easy to mount on the ceiling, and it can be connected with other similar devices.
Support USB connectivity.
Scalable audio solutions for creating professional conference rooms.
It can be attached to the wall for better sound quality.
Allows expansion mics.
Through its microphone system technology, it enables participants to be perfectly heard within the room no matter where they are.
It provides a great audio reception.
All-in-one system. It offers great video capability and audio fidelity―including three microphones for optimal speaking and listening.
Ideal for small-room acoustics, delivering maximum efficiency and no setbacks.
Combines exceptional video quality with enriching audio.
Perfect for any meeting room.
Easy to deploy.
It was found that more than 50 percent of video conference users waste around 10 minutes in setting up their meeting solutions. Certainly, this represents a great obstacle for companies as this wasted time directly interferes with business goals and growth.
THE IMPORTANCE OF STANDARDIZING YOUR VIDEO CONFERENCING HARDWARE
Therefore, if you want to eliminate these technical issues in your meeting rooms and even increase overall efficiency, you should consider standardizing your video conferencing hardware. But why? Standardization refers to how functional and easy-to-use is your VC technology by deploying similar hardware elements in all your meeting rooms. In this sense, users can become familiar with the company's VC solutions, knowing exactly how to operate them while obtaining a higher user experience. Based on the State of Video Conferencing 2018, standardization of the company's video conferencing software is one of the main reasons for choosing VC platforms.
TYPES OF VIDEO CONFERENCING ROOMS
Currently, you can find multiple types of meeting spaces that perfectly fit your different business needs. But in order to find the ideal VC room, it is important to consider the next aspects:
Room size - Do you need individual, small, mid-size, or large meeting space?
Meeting purposes - Do you need this space for conducting interviews, workshops, 1-1 sessions, customer-facing events, or large group conferences?
Video conferencing hardware - For your meeting purposes, what kind of hardware do you need? Cameras, microphones, displays, speakers, conference phones, headsets, etc.
Video conferencing system - You can opt for using software-based VC platforms like Microsoft Teams, Zoom, BlueJeans, Cisco Webex, GoToMeeting, etc.
Get to know the most common video conferencing rooms and choose the one that goes better with your needs:
Phone Booth Rooms
Mini space solutions ideal for holding one-on-one video conferences without interruptions thanks to its completely private and individual space.
Small VC room of up to 5 or 6 participants, perfect for faster problem-solving meetings.
Mid-size conference rooms adapted for groups with up to 30 participants. This room enables efficient face-to-face communications between all attendees.
High-level meeting rooms regularly employed for professional conferences; designed to satisfy superior VC solutions.
Larger than standard conference rooms; commonly used for seminars, workshops, onboarding processes, and training rooms.
All-Hands Meeting Rooms
It is considered for bringing together an entire company, used by medium-sized enterprises or companies with many departments, needing to implement conferences with all the members.
CHAPTER 3. THE IMPORTANCE OF A SECURE VIDEO CONFERENCING SOLUTION
In this digital era, companies are at risk of experiencing a data breach or cyber-attacks. Generally, these breaks are carried out through the spreading of malicious programs after being connected to unsecured networks ―even while conducting an online video conference. In the 2018 Cisco report, it was revealed that 53 percent of medium-sized companies had experienced a data breach. For this reason, it is crucial to choose a secure video conferencing solution in order to protect your company's confidential information ―such as product patents, details of finances, operating procedures, or contracts. Certainly, a data breach represents a major problem for businesses as cyber-attackers can leak and divulge sensitive data on the Internet. As a result, companies can lose their business partners as well as a great number of customers due to the negative perception of the corporate's image, revenue, and new business opportunities, indeed. It was predicted by 2019 that the costs of data breaches would increase, estimating global costs of USD 2.1 trillion. According to Juniper Research, this forecast costs in 2019 grew almost four times compared to 2015. To avoid data breaches in your video conferencing system, you should take into account the next essential considerations:
1. NETWORK SECURITY, DATA ENCRYPTION AND PASSWORDS
Verify that your video conferencing system includes:
Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) protection above 128-bit data encryption. With this encryption, you will secure all your video sessions from calls and chat messages to screen sharing.
Anti-malware functions alongside a secure company's IPS (Intrusion Prevention System) network.
Transport Layer Security (TLS) encryption for all content shared via HTTPS.
Multiple functionalities for user authentication like Single Sign-On (SSO) for knowing which users have access to video conferences.
Ability to track user credentials, giving or denying access to different members, and lock the system.
In the case of healthcare organizations, financial institutions, and law firms, it is a must to protect all sensitive information from breaches by complying with the next data protection regulations:
Easy to deploy.PIPEDA (Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act)
HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act)
PHIPA (Personal Health Information Protection Act)
GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation)
SLA (Service Level Agreement)
WHY VIVO IS YOUR VIDEO CONFERENCING SOLUTION PARTNER
As businesses demand superior collaborative technologies for the current digital world, it is crucial to partner with experts who have a deep understanding of the video conferencing industry. That's why Vivo Technologies is the best alternative for opening you up to new ways of interacting and collaborating within your organization. Our solutions are meant to drive business productivity and efficiency, IT deployment easiness, as well as providing a strong competitive advantage for your company's growth. At Vivo, we offer versatile and plug & play solutions for your different meeting spaces while taking advantage of software-based platform Zoom, creating our VizoRooms indeed. Our solutions are centered on reducing your business operational costs by integrating the most advanced technology as well as the right video conferencing hardware in your meeting rooms for greater user experience ―from huddle rooms to executive spaces. Moreover, we offer technology assessment. Our IT experts will conduct an extensive analysis of your collaborative and meeting needs. As our specialists own an in-depth understanding of the leading video conferencing systems and hardware, they will evaluate your current state and provide two or three standardized fits for your rooms. Additionally, with our Buy & Try Program, you can get 30 days testing period to confirm if your video conferencing solution is what you expected. Furthermore, we understand the importance of protecting data and information in the digital space; that's why Vivo provides secure video conferencing services designed specifically for the needs of professional organizations. Our services are aimed to secure your company against different data risks. With our managed services, you will obtain:
End-to-end consultation with scheduled maintenance.
Continuous monitoring of your room solution to reduce data breaches.
Full support of your video conferencing system
Include advanced replacement parts.