Video conferencing equipment & solutions
‘Video conferencing’ and related terms can be considered as industry jargon. For many people, video conferencing solutions’ brand names act as a verb, describing a video conference as a ‘Skype call, ‘Skype meeting’, ‘Zoom meeting’ etc.
Video conferencing is a lot broader than that, however. Here is a description of different types of video conferencing solutions:
1. Hardware – Also called hard codec technology, these devices are dedicated to audio or video conferencing, meaning that users do not need to bring their own laptops to be able to participate in a call. Examples range from IP phones to high-integrated collaboration room endpoint solutions from providers such as Cisco and Poly.
2. Soft client – video conferencing software that needs to be downloaded and installed onto users’ audio-video capable devices (laptop, tablet, smartphones) and a company’s IT network to be used. Can be used in conference room systems but requires additional hardware (microphones, cameras, display etc.) to operate. IT departments are responsible for set up, configuration, system security, maintenance, and software updates. An example could be Skype for Business Server Edition.
3. Cloud services – Cloud-based video conferencing applications that have solved previous issues with older versions of video conferencing applications that required on-site data storage and network security. Cloud services are typically subscription-based; reducing upfront costs, are compatible with any device, are easily scalable (increase the number of users on the subscription), and the service provider is responsible for maintenance, updates, and security. Examples are Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Cisco Webex, BlueJeans, GoToMeeting, Google Hangouts, etc.