Video conferencing has been around for decades. But what was once a low quality compromise, reserved for the company executives in the boardroom has now become the communication of choice for millions of business people around the world. With FaceTime and Skype really taking off in people’s personal lives, and the increasing number of millennials and Generation Z’s in the workforce, it is no wonder the average working person is becoming more comfortable with being ‘virtually’ face to face for meetings.
Research into Video Conferencing Technology
A recent study by Polycom found that 96% of business decision makers believed video conferencing improves productivity , but despite this fact, many businesses are yet to provide comprehensive technology solutions that will improve video conferencing for those who want to use it. People are still using personal Skype or FaceTime, cramming round laptops or in some cases iPhones, to see their colleagues or clients in a meeting. With poor quality sound and fractured connections ,video conferencing is still not reaching its full potential for many businesses – especially SME’s. So here is a list of our favourite simple video conferencing technology for SME’s that can help you to improve collaboration and video communication.
1. Company-wide, Cloud-based Video Conferencing for SME’s
For many businesses there are two prohibiting factors when considering implementation of a company-wide video conferencing solution: cost and space. Establishing a complete video conferencing network with a provider like Cisco for example often requires a large financial investment and a space to host the physical servers, taking it off the agenda for many SME’s. But with the arrival of cloud-based video conferencing even small businesses with a modest budget can embrace company-wide video conferencing.
In our business we have been using a system called StarLeaf. By purchasing a product from the range to equip your chosen meeting space, you are provided with business-wide access to the video conferencing network through the Starleaf Breeze software client. It can be downloaded to any employee’s PC or laptop, allowing everyone in the company to be contactable face-to-face at the touch of a button. And you can even use the Breeze app to connect with clients or suppliers outside the business. It’s simple and it just works. Businesses that have embraced this sort of company-wide video conferencing have reported improved efficiencies and collaboration across teams and departments plus considerable cost savings as the need for travel is negated by having frequent meetings face to face via video conferencing. Using secure encrypted connections gives peace of mind – especially for businesses where security of communications is paramount.
2. Perfect Audio and Sound
The problem with conference calling is that sound is often compromised. Open speakers will pick up any kind of background noise and inevitably the person nearest the speaker will sound the loudest whilst those further away are either muffled or have to shout to be heard. The result can be frustrating, occasionally embarrassing and often hugely inefficient as comments are lost or repeated. But this doesn’t have to be the case.
There are now many speakers on the market that can eliminate these challenges. We like the Konftel range of conferencing speakers as well as the Evoko Minto. Choose between wired or wireless, portable or not. Either way you are guaranteed to have crystal clear audio and speakers that pick up what they are supposed to – not the workmen drilling on the street. Contact us to arrange a demo to see how these technology solutions can improve video conferencing for your business.
3. Camera, Action!
Relying on your laptop’s integrated camera might suffice for a one-on-one but bringing other people in will just start to get messy. Of course no-one wants to invest in hi-tech HD cameras for everyone if they are only needed on a few occasions. So we recommend having the flexibility of an easy-to-use plug and play mobile camera that offers the flexibility to turn any desk or meeting room into a video conferencing facility whenever it is required. We like the Logitech range of conference cameras which can integrate with the video conferencing apps that your business already uses. They provide a very cost-effective hardware solution for small to medium sized rooms.
4. More Than Just Video Conferencing Technology for SME’s
Video conferencing is a great way to bring people together but often it’s the work they are collaborating on that needs to take the focus. Products like Starleaf offer integrated screen-sharing and video conferencing but the best way to get the most out of a video meeting is to be able to collaborate on documents together at the same time. For this, nothing quite offers the same experience as an interactive display like a SMART kapp iQ Pro or a Microsoft Surface Hub. Use the display for video conferencing whilst sharing documents and collaborating, editing and annotating on them in real time. It’s like being in the same room as your colleagues, even if they’re in another country. Solutions like these can actually save you money as many businesses have to spend less on travel expenses to get to meetings which quickly provides a return on investment.