Do you ever travel for meetings? Is your team spread out? Do you provide advice or training? If you haven’t already integrated video conferencing into your business, it’s time to give it some more thought. A video conferencing system will not only save you time and money, it could also dramatically expand the reach and capabilities of your business.
Video conferencing is essentially a phone call with video. But quality and security are variable depending on the system you use and the price you’re able to pay.
Conferencing on a budget
If your budget is very tight and you can put up with occasional quality issues, there are several free or very cheap services. All you need is a webcam, which is built-in as standard to most laptops.
Google Hangouts is a free conferencing service for up to 10 people. Participants all need to have a Gmail account and can connect via their desktop or mobile device. You can have a private hangout, or you can choose public, in which case the hangout will be recorded and saved to Youtube – handy for demonstrations.
If you are delivering webinars and need more reliable quality, there are a number of intermediate business-specific software tools, such as Webex and GoToMeeting. Users need to download the software first. And if there are quality problems, users can join by phone. But while GoToMeeting can be great for few to many online events like webinars, with a maximum of 6 presenters, it has limitations as a conferencing platform.
Avoiding the hazards
Anyone who takes part in regular conference calls can tell you all about the technical problems that can quickly ruin the experience. This hilarious video sums them up:
If you want to avoid that kind of conference hell, be organized and prepared, send delegates clear instructions in advance and test connections.
New cloud-based entrants to the market, like Join.me and Blue Jeans Network are also beginning to over-come some of those issues and limitations.
The Blue Jeans Network enables conferencing with up to 25 people and also inter-operability across lots of different technical set-ups. You don’t need to download software. Blue Jeans operates on a per delegate rate, similar to audio conferencing. Reviews suggest that it is delivering a much smoother and more reliable web conferencing experience.
All of those systems offer free trials, so try before you buy. Taking the time now to get the right video conferencing system for your business, could help you save time, money, expand your reach and take your business to a whole new level.