Seeing Eye to Eye: Debunking the Five Myths Keeping Businesses from Better Video Conferencing
Most of us have used Skype, Facetime and other person-to-person video services to make eye contact with a distant colleague. And I suspect that I’m not the only one out there to have shared a diagram by holding up a laptop in front of a whiteboard, or viewed a demonstration by crowding behind a desktop screen with another colleague or two.
But as we all know, these are just stopgap strategies. This isn’t business video conferencing as it’s meant to be: from unreliable connections to the inability to bring third parties into the conversation, it’s so different from boardroom-style video collaboration that it’s no surprise that people still get on planes for meetings and edit documents by e-mail.
Even though it’s widely acknowledged as one of the most effective ways of increasing productivity and driving down costs, video conferencing facilities are installed in a mere 5 percent of the world’s meeting rooms. It’s estimated that there are 20 million secondary conference rooms or huddle rooms that need video conferencing for smaller, ad hoc groups but have been barred out of adoption by the very steep price tag of traditional systems and the infrastructure that supports them.
Polarization appears to be the key factor causing virtual paralysis in the traditional video conferencing industry. With the boardroom market all but saturated, the market was static in 2012 (or ‘rotten’ according to an Infonetics Research report). Beyond the boardroom, cost and high-maintenance complexity have been the two principal culprits deterring smaller businesses from emulating enterprise adoption. At the other end, person-to-person versions don’t deliver the required levels of quality or productivity because of inadequacies ranging from unstable connections to lack of room-based functionality.
New solutions are on the market, however, all aiming to take their share of the potential 15 to 20 billion dollar market void in systems for smaller companies, smaller budgets, and smaller meeting rooms. So, given the level of innovation – and hype - in the unified communications market associated with WebRTC, software-centric, virtualized, cloud-based, real-time browser-based solutions and – newest on the scene - combination appliance/HDTV systems, why are businesses still holding back?
Urban legend, misconception and sheer confusion are some of the factors putting the brake on greater usage of video conferencing. These are the five top myths, debunked:
1. Anything that works the way we want it to will cost too much
Even on a small budget, you can hold out for high quality, business-class equipment. Standards-based, multi-point videoconferencing, content sharing and security is available at less than $1,000 per room via some of the newest, all-in-one systems that have been introduced in the last few months. Note: ‘standards-based’ means compatibility with the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) standard for video conferencing interoperability, which means you can sync up with existing high end systems if you or your clients or partners already have them in the boardroom.
Myth 2: Forget the equipment: we can’t afford the infrastructure
Yes you can. New video conferencing appliances have cloud-based options providing many of the features - like multipoint video conferencing, firewall/NAT traversal, and content sharing and collaboration - normally only available with a heavy investment in video networking equipment, so you don’t need to invest in infrastructure.
Myth 3: It’s complicated.
Some of the newer solutions are designed for use without IT support (okay, maybe some people would need help with installation, but that’s it). HDTV-based systems worked by a simple remote control are based on everyday equipment that everyone understands and don’t require a computer.
Myth 4: We need to buy from the same vendor as our boardroom video systems
See Myth 1. Until recently, lack of standards-based interoperability has prevented companies from extending their existing video conferencing beyond the boardroom unless they stick with their current vendor and current price tag. That has all changed. SIP-standard based videoconferencing solutions are now available at less than $1,000 per room – or about a tenth of the price of traditional systems.
Myth 5: I must make a hard choice between cloud-based and on-premise solutions
You can have it all. See Myth 2. New solutions offer both options cloud-based and on-premise within the same package, and you can mix and match these options in different conference rooms within the same organization.
Things are changing in video conferencing and these myths highlight what people should, but don’t know about the current state of the market. There’s no need to wait for a future innovation, no need to break the budget, and no need to compromise. The productivity benefits of business class video conferencing are available to every organization, right now.
About David Crilley, Vice President, Enterprise Marketing, Tely Labs
Prior to joining Tely Labs, Mr. Crilley was the senior director of channel and international marketing at Proofpoint, where he built and managed channel and marketing programs that helped drive rapid growth and a successful IPO. Previously, he served as director of channel marketing at SonicWall, and also held senior product marketing and product management roles at Nortel Networks, Madge Networks and Creative Labs. Crilley holds an MBA from Santa Clara University and a BA from the University of Michigan.
About Tely Labs
Founded in 2010, Tely Labs is a pioneer in simple, secure and affordable video communication and collaboration systems that fundamentally change the way people communicate. Tely Labs is dedicated to bringing videoconferencing to every meeting room, remote office and healthcare facility - simply, securely and affordably. For more information on Tely Labs, visit www.tely.com.
Edited by Ashley Caputo