Seven Quick Tips for Videoconferencing Beginners

New to videoconferencing? Researching an enterprise deployment? Make sure you addressed these seven issues before you sign a vendor contract or start up a video project.

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2. Know Where You Will Use Your Videoconferencing System

Another issue is mobility. For many users, the system can be installed in a room that's dedicated to videoconferencing. Others need to set it up in different meeting areas.

Consider the factors that can affect the videoconferencing experience. The ideal location has a neutral background, with few moving distractions. Avoid overly bright rooms or rooms with light that directly illuminates participants or the camera; such light creates shadows and lowers overall video quality. Rooms with fixtures with "natural" light are better than rooms with colored or tinted light.

Place the camera above the monitor, two or three feet from participants. You need a space that can fit a table and chairs, where people can sit at the proper distance from the camera lens.

Does your conference room already have a sound system? If so, do you plan to integrate your videoconferencing system with your existing audio setup?

3. Know How Much You're Willing to Invest

Purchasing and installing a new videoconferencing system can be a costly investment. Fully customized conferencing rooms with integrated HD videoconferencing systems can run in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Lower-end desktop-based traditional systems won't put as big a dent in your budget, unless you require a large-scale deployment.

Traditional videoconferencing and HD video communication are very different things. Learn ahead of time whether the average 352-pixel-by-288-line resolution provided by traditional videoconferencing systems will satisfy your needs or if full 1080-by-720 HD resolution is a must. Organizations seeking the most cutting-edge and seamless experience should budget for room customization, too, and that can make up the bulk of a videoconferencing investment.

It's also a good idea to calculate the costs associated with the activities you plan to replace or enhance with your videoconferencing system. This provides a rough value of the cash that you can expect to free up once your system is up and running, and it can also serve as a method of measuring your ROI in the future.

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