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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4. Create a Short List of Vendors

After you do your research, compile a list of vendors with systems that meet your needs. Most vendors offer a way to test-drive the system before you make your decision. Run each potential system through a real-life test to see how it performs and how it integrates with your infrastructure, as well as how closely it matches the vendor's description.

Here's a list of vendors that offer a variety of videoconferencing options:

Some Factors to Test:

  • Call reliability: how often calls are disconnected in the middle of a conversation
  • Audio/video quality: the consistency of picture and sound quality.
  • Ease of use: how simple the user interface is to navigate.
  • How the system integrates with your existing infrastructure. What additional components are required?
  • Standards-based: Most likely, your videoconferencing system will need to connect with other standards-based systems from other vendors. How simple is it to do so?

5. Know What Type of Network You'll Use for Videoconferencing Traffic

You should have a rough idea about the organizations and people with whom you'll teleconference, and therefore you should know what geographic areas you will try to reach. For instance, if you choose integrated services digital network (ISDN) or an IP network, ensure that it's available in the regions where the parties you wish to connect with reside. You'll also want to make sure that the required bandwidth is available in these areas.

Consider the costs associated with using each. An ISDN network can rack up significant local and long-distance charges. ISDN used to be the de facto standard for videoconferencing; that's no longer the case. IP networks are generally cheaper and easier to secure, though the public Internet is not as reliable as private IP networks.

You may also wish to adjust the bandwidth for specific videoconference system users or rooms-to make sure that the CEO always has the appropriate amount of bandwidth available, for instance. If you need this capability, determine whether the system in which you're interested allows you to designate certain amounts of bandwidth to specific users.

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