by CIO Staff

A Consumer Guide to Conferencing Technology

Dec 01, 20012 mins

Tool Strengths Weaknesses Cost

Best with: Known parties or clear agendas

Phone lines
  • Anyone can use it
  • Doesn’t require any infrastructure investment
  • Can support only a limited number of callers
  • Call clarity can vary
  • Negotiated with phone company
Over IP
  • Allows for integration of voice and data
  • Lots of features not available over traditional phone lines
  • High bandwidth costs
  • Quality of service varies
  • Requires a large infrastructure investment
Data Conferencing

Best with: Known parties, shared documents

  • No need to install/manage
  • Cost-efficient for companies with fewer than 2,000 users
  • Security issues
  • May require firewall adjustments
  • Approximately 45 cents/min. per user, although companies can negotiate better rates
  • Ability to control and monitor usage
  • Cost-effective for companies with more than 2,000 users
  • Increased demands on network
  • Requires multiple servers for secure internal and external use
  • Software starts at $1,500, not including server and upkeep costs

Best with: Unknown parties

  • Proven to work 87% of the time
  • Tools are getting easier to use
  • Fails 13% of the time
  • Multiparty calls need outside facilitation
  • $5,000-$10,000 per location in hardware
  • Line costs of $30 to $4,000 per hour for multiparty calls
Over IP
  • More cost-efficient than ISDN if you have the network in place
  • Allows for convergence with data
  • Great image clarity
  • High bandwidth requirements
  • Quality of service varies
  • $5,000-$10,000 per location for hardware
  • Requires a large infrastructure investment