When video conferencing landed in the executive boardroom 40 years ago, it was a revelation! Senior representatives of large or international organisations could have face to face meetings without the cost and time associated with traveling across country. But then those senior people wanted to speak to other executives in different businesses, who happened to be on a different video conferencing system. Technology was used to bridge the gap but this slowed the system and added a new level of complexity for maintenance, repairs and ultimately usability.
Today, people have video communication tools on their personal smart phones but video conferencing still hasn’t truly taken off in the workplace mainstream. Why is this? We know it can alleviate the pressures and costs of business travel, we know it can help to improve collaboration and build relationships. Video conferencing is more widely available, reliable and cost effective than ever before but there is still a hesitation, or an assumption that video conferencing is an expensive solution suitable only for big business, or that it’s too technical or unreliable to be used as a preferred method of contact.
In this blog, we review the UK based company taking the video conferencing market by storm – StarLeaf, and how their cloud-based video conferencing solution can overcome many of the concerns, frustrations or shortfalls of traditional video communications.
Meet StarLeaf Cloud-based Video Conferencing:
StarLeaf is a cloud-based video conferencing and calling system, offering hardware, software and a network through which you can make and receive video calls. Through careful research and development, StarLeaf have addressed some of the biggest problems business people face with existing video communication with a complete offering that any business could use. Here’s how:
1. A Cost Effective, Simple Solution
StarLeaf offers a series of endpoint solutions, providing codec, camera, speakers and intuitive touch screen controllers that plug into a display screen – as soon as it’s set up, you’re ready to start conferencing! Because the network is cloud based there is no other expensive hardware or servers that can cost money and space, making it particularly cost effective. The control interface is as simple to use as dialing on a phone and you can call anyone – whether they have a video calling system themselves or not. All they need is a web browser and StarLeaf will do the rest.
2. One Meeting Room System = Desktop Video Calling For All
Any purchase of a Starleaf endpoint with a conference licence will provide you with a licence for business-wide desktop video calling and conferencing. Any person in that business can download the StarLeaf App to provide simple video calling from their PC, laptop or tablet to any other user at any time. They can even video call someone who doesn’t have the StarLeaf App using a click-to-call link. Companies that have introduced company-wide video calling as the preferred method of communication have noted a significant improvement in collaboration across departments and a boost to productivity as email conversations decrease and people get answers quicker and more efficiently.
3. Click to Call
For video calling to work, it needs to be as straightforward as dialing a number or picking up a phone. Asking people to download software before calling is fine if you’re going to be in regular contact but for off-the-cuff calling you need something without barriers. So StarLeaf have introduced Click-to-call. It’s Web-RTC based and allows anyone with access to a web browser to call another StarLeaf end point – either on a meeting room system or using the app. Offering a one click solution for face-to-face communication can become a real point of difference to customers or clients or external associates. You can even include a link on your email signature so anyone can video call you at the touch of a button.
4. Interoperability between systems
Remember the first video conferencers of 40 years ago? They struggled to connect with people on different video systems but the same can still be said of video callers today. The problem is that many of the ‘legacy’ systems like Cisco and Polycom need additional bridging hardware to enable cross network calls. As we know, this slows things down, is very costly and it can create another level of complexity if there are operating issues. StarLeaf have addressed this issue by creating a ‘cloud’ that all calls go through. StarLeaf allows you to call any legacy system, Skype For Business or other systems by feeding all calls through the cloud. No time delay, no complexity, just straightforward, good quality video calling and conferencing. Watch this free webinar to find out how StarLeaf cloud-based video conferencing have created a solution for interoperability…
5. Skype For Business
If you’re already signed up to Skype For Business then StarLeaf Medley is a free tool that anyone can use – even if they don’t own a StarLeaf endpoint. Anyone who is scheduling a Skype meeting can use StarLeaf Medley to connect with anyone who is using a traditional video meeting room system like Cisco or Polycom or even a cloud based system like StarLeaf. If you want to use Skype For Business in a meeting room or huddle space then you can get a StarLeaf Teamline endpoint which allows you to connect with anyone, using the familiar Skype for Business / Teams interface that you are used to from your PC.
6. A Reliable Network
Of the eight years that StarLeaf has existed, the first five years were spent establishing a reliable, secure infrastructure that could facilitate global cloud-based video conferencing on a huge scale, and that is exactly what they’ve done. With end-to-end encryption to ensure a secure network at all times you can be sure your business is protected. They don’t rely on any third party to provide that infrastructure so they can be sure they and their customers are not beholden to anyone else. And unlike other video communication tools like Skype For Business, StarLeaf does not eat up your band width which will ultimately slow down the rest of your online activities.
7. Screen sharing
Video calling and conferencing is ultimately about collaboration. And if you’re working with someone who isn’t in the same room it helps if they can see what you’re working on. That’s when screen sharing is really beneficial. Instantly show someone who you are speaking with what you are looking at, at the touch of a button. It’s all available through your StarLeaf interface – a simple way to boost collaboration and to reduce the need to travel to all of your meetings.
At TecInteractive, we started using StarLeaf over five years ago and were quickly won over by this simple, practical, cost effective solution. That’s why when we were given the opportunity to be one of the few StarLeaf authorised partners in the UK, we jumped at the chance. If you like this StarLeaf review and want to see how the StarLeaf cloud works then contact us for a free demo, or sign up for a free trial of the StarLeaf App . You won’t be disappointed.