Business meetings have evolved significantly since the standard board room days. With the mobilization of today’s workforce and advances in technology, the preferred meeting method for most companies is quickly becoming video conferencing. The ROI is undeniably high for businesses where employees travel, work remotely and those with multiple locations. As companies continue to expand their presence globally, video conferencing provides significant savings and offers greater flexibility to meet from anywhere in the world, as often as you’d like.
There’s something to be said about face-to-face interactions, especially in business. This will always be a critical component to maintaining strong relationships both internally, as well as with your clients. Thankfully, with the development of advanced video, audio and web conferencing software, you are able to achieve this effect without ever needing to be physically present, and without a significant investment in expensive video conferencing room systems.
With so many solutions on the market, it can be challenging to know what to look for. We’ve broken down the top things to consider in order to achieve the best video meetings.
Price: As with any investment, cost should be a primary consideration. Although video conferencing solutions can be considerably less expensive than travel costs, they do not need to break the bank. When looking at solutions, be sure to do a comparative analysis of the features offered and what each provider is charging for them. Broadview’s philosophy to pricing our conferencing platform, OfficeSuite HD Meeting®, was to enable companies to get away from having to share accounts with colleagues. By offering a lower rate per user, we enable companies to mobilize their entire organization, providing more seamless communications. Our software is shockingly offered at a quarter of the cost of competitors, but without any shortage of features or functionality. The key take away is to shop around!
Ease of Use: Second to price, the conferencing solution you use needs to be intuitive. Be sure that it offers flexible audio access so participants can connect from the web using any PC, Apple computer, IPhone®, IPad® or Android™ device and control the conference audio from their phone keypad or directly through the meeting interface. Another key factor to consider in virtual collaboration is a solution that allows you to switch host controls at whim and enables multiple screen sharing and meeting presenters in one session.
Display: The visual quality is obviously extremely important. The best high definition video conferencing software will allow you to host and see up to 100 people and provide customizable views. Another key functionality is the ability to use multiple monitors at once. This provides you with the ability to have one of your computer screens showing the video meeting, while the other is displaying the shared document. Mobile screen share is another big limitation for some solutions, so be on the lookout for one’s that offer the ability to screen share via your IPhone® or IPad®.
Built-in Collaboration Applications: Video conferencing is much more than just visual meetings and should offer more advanced functionalities. Look for a solution that makes it easy to share anything: individual documents or your entire desktop, presentations and play and share videos. Sharing videos is often where some solutions have limitations, you want to be sure the solution you choose offers hosted controlled audio and video streaming capabilities so participants can see and hear everything you are sharing from their device.
Sound Quality and Control: Sound quality is a big one. Features like the ability to mute participants to prevent background noise and dynamic voice detection, which visually highlights the person that is speaking are must-haves, especially for larger meetings.
Live, Interactive Video Recording: Another great business benefit to conferencing software is the ability to record meetings for future use. This is a feature that should come standard and be easy to do. Recording group calls, important client meetings and interviews to refer back to is a valuable benefit. Our company takes this a step further and often creates interactive webinars, presentations and videos for future use. Once the recordings are complete, you want a solution that downloads the files for free automatically. File formats is also something to check into, make sure that the solution you choose offers different file formats that make it easy to email, save and post your recorded files to YouTube.
Calendar Integration: An additional big ease-of-use component is the scheduling of meetings. Some software only integrates with Outlook®. However, many companies today use Gmail for business, so if you are one of them, or have plans to switch in the future, finding a software that integrates with both Google® and Outlook® calendars is something to definitely explore. Another great functionality that helps with scheduling are personal meeting room IDs. This allows the host to have a personalized ID that corresponds to their phone number and use the same meeting ID credentials for each meeting, making it easier to remember and login.
Hopefully, this post has provided you with valuable insight into the functionality that HD video, audio and web conferencing solutions can provide. If you haven’t already joined in on the new age conferencing trend, now is definitely the time.