Why Business Video Conferencing Needs More Than Skype Or FaceTime

In-room video conferencing systems can be expensive to implement, which often leaves managers wondering: how much worse off would I be using Skype or Google+ Hangouts or FaceTime? IT pros argue the answer comes down to reliability and image quality.

Video conferencing picture from Shutterstock

Law firm Johnson Winter & Slattery (JWS) has rolled out an extensive video conferencing and telepresence system over the last year, for use both with customer meetings and internal training. The system includes both dedicated rooms and built-in Jabber clients on desktop video phones. "It's moved so well that we have installed second video-conferencing rooms in Sydney and Adelaide and have a third one planned for Perth," CIO Ross Forgione explained in a press briefing at Cisco Live in Melbourne.

So why the move to dedicated rooms? "It's about the level of professional presentation and the ability to stream and have that more immersive experience," Forgione told Lifehacker. "If I'm using Skype to talk to my dad, I don't care if it goes click sometimes or the connection goes down. When you're in a corporate environment and you're doing deals or you're looking out for the best interests of your client, the clarity of the image and the distribution of that content adds to the message you're driving towards. It's almost a chalk and cheese scenario; I don't believe you can compare the two."

"Smaller form factor phones are more suited for one-on-one, where you don't need the higher resolution. It's horses for courses depending on what you do. If it's a casual conversation, it's OK to take your chances on a more public system."

Having the video component can also make collaboration easier. Engineering group Aurecon has 11 video-equipped meeting rooms in its new Melbourne Docklands headquarters, and staff are encouraged to use those in preference to other rooms which only allow conference calls. "The virtual team mentality won't work without video," said Barry Honey, IS strategy & architecture manager for Aurecon. "We've tried with phones and it just doesn't work."

Disclosure: Angus Kidman visited Melbourne as a guest of Cisco.


Comments

    Image quality? As an IT manager - I can honestly say who cares to that. What it came down to for me when considering options was functionality.. What use is a video conference that only allows you to see someones face? Business, except sales and account management is not a touchy feely love in where really we all just want to be close enough to feel like we can hug..

    It should be a dynamic experience that blends any format of media that may help communicate information effectively. Currently we use Microsoft Lync for this purpose.. I'm not really that happy with it (especially with the cost), but the seamless way it blends its features and ease of doing so really fulfill all basic requirements we have.

    Last edited 09/03/13 12:47 am

      hit the nail on the head there Michael, video has been around for a while now so its more about the collaboration side, being able to share documents. We have an solution which allows this without paying hefty outlays for the infrastructure. If this is something you are looking for Videocall can help.

    My CEO does....

    In complete agreement that ease of use and integration is essential, but why not I have it all? Having high definition, fully integrated into Outlook and one-touch (with WebEx and mobile soon), video conferencing is more than attainable. Ease of use was my number one priority. It doesn't mean that every company should spend millions on VC, but it does mean that you can get what you pay for :-)

    Last edited 09/03/13 8:56 pm

    Hi Angus, There are currently solutions on the market like my company bluejeans.com that allow you to video conference any room system (H.323, SIP), Desktop: Skype, Web browser, Lync, Jabber, Google video and Mobile devices: Ipad, Iphone, Android up to 25 endpoints on a call. HD quality at 1/3 of the cost of a hardware bridge.

    As long as one has decent bandwidth ALL VC systems provide HD quality now. SIP the former rage is now viewed as archaic and is the main target of hackers. We disable SIP on all of our systems (worldwide) unless there is a specific need for it. Most services like easymeeting.net, BJN etc... offer document sharing already as well as seamless interop. with Lync, jabber, you name it. Funny how many are asking how one can connect with freeware like Skype..but for security reasons which I believe most of you here I thought should be concerned... is not secure enough nor does it deliver a great user experience.

    That being said...Skype, FaceTime are opening up new markets for new 2 video users which will only help the industry.

    Kyle mentions is true... mobile device support as BJN and easymeeting.net offer are the most important BYOD / mobile device support whether via your android, IPAD etc...all in HD.

    The user experience is most critical and the picture quality is basically HD as a standard unless a legacy system user has not yet upgraded to HD vc.

    Yearh, I agree what the article saying, the professional video conferencing software is more safe than that free platform, Like ours, V2 video conferencing software, which is the leading video conferencing supplier in Asia Pacific.

    http://www.v2tech.com/en

    Last edited 07/05/13 5:27 pm

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