A Variety of Boxes to TickThere are so many web based video conferencing services out there, including free ones, that it’s easy for a company to get trapped into a bad fit. This is practically inevitable if the company’s leadership does not properly vet a service before opting for it. Of course, that’s easier said than done, as it’s not always clear what a business should be looking for in a service. But A/V integrators do, as they have extensive experience in designing and configuring conferencing solutions for their clients. And they play an important role before the conferencing service is even selected, as they can help a client articulate their needs and requirements for a web based video conferencing solution. For example, some of the things to consider when adopting a conferencing solution include:
1. Meeting size – A major filter during the selection process is meeting space. Some services are only capable of hosting a small number of participants at once, and these services tend to be the free or cheap options. That might be enough for a business that relies on small group collaboration, or person to person conversation, but it’s likely not going to be sufficient for a larger business.
There is a huge range of options here, with some services even allowing for an infinite number of participants. If widespread dissemination of information is required, then something like that will be appropriate.
It’s better to overshoot than undershoot when it comes to meeting size. There’s nothing worse than firing up a meeting only to find that someone gets pinched out. That’s a particularly bad look when that unfortunate is a potential client or partner.
2. Interface – Web based video conferencing solutions are lauded for their usability, so users aren’t going to tolerate a clunky interface. Before settling on a service, it should be examined by anyone who is going to make frequent use of it. Make sure those people give it the OK before moving forward.
This includes the mobile interface on both smartphones and tablets. While a lot of thought is usually given to how the interface behaves on desktops and laptops, it’s easy to forget about checking the mobile side. Again, make sure that anyone who plans on utilizing the mobile app is able to do so with ease.
3. Meeting customization – This is where the premium services start to distance themselves from the rest of the pack. A standard meeting configuration is going to work in most instances, but there are times when the format has to be switched up. For example, the meeting’s purpose may be to deliver a lecture or announcement to many parties at once. In this case, it would be best to mute everyone but the speaker. Or, the meeting may be organized in a Q&A format, where people are able to ask questions in turn or on request. If format changeups are expected, then don’t assume that a service’s basic configuration tools will get the job done. Instead, select a service that has planned for these situations.
4. Collaboration and accessibility features – Again, it’s the higher end services that invest in additional features, some of which can greatly enhance the meeting experience. For example, audio and video recording capabilities are extremely useful for data heavy meetings or meetings where a lot of things get delegated. And a lot of people have trouble participating in a session while also taking notes, so just having the video on hand can make things a lot easier. Make sure the service can record in high quality and that the recorded video is readily available.
Screen sharing is another feature found in premium services and is ideal for remote employees. With screen sharing, a presenter can demonstrate tasks on their device and just generally make tough material easier to digest.
5. Customer support – When assessing any service, it’s always a good idea to pay attention to how they handle their clients. This is doubly true for a web based video conferencing service, because things are going to occasionally go wrong, often at the worst possible time. Does the service offer dedicated customer service to its clients around the clock? Or are they only available unreliably? This can be a make or break consideration, so ask the tough questions before selecting a service.Web based video conferencing can be a foundational element for a company’s communications, allowing its teams to work together like never before. But like with anything tech, careful planning is needed before going forward. Businesses expecting to transition to online video conferencing would be best served by linking with an A/V integrator. Integrators are intimately familiar with the spate of video conferencing services available, and can use this knowledge to guide their clients. This can help companies avoid wasting time, money and manpower on an underperforming service, as well as accelerate service implementation.