Despite the amazing strides that cloud providers have made to ensure a proper future for small businesses around the world, their efforts in web conferencing have been unexceptional. Small providers’ efforts in this camp have gone mostly unnoticed, and most businesses have been focusing their energies in using “tried and true” platforms such as Skype and Cisco’s WebEx. But are these really services that can help squeeze out all of your potential?
The story of business-level video conferencing has been a very murky one. We have all sorts of solutions, but many of them have isolated features we like while lacking in areas that are crucial. It’s mostly a hit-and-miss with practically any service you use. The level of innovation in video conferencing for small businesses has been, well, small. Any high-end solution that includes HD videos, cloud meetings, and highly-scalable environments would often require purchasing expensive hardware that’s not within the reach of businesses that already have other disproportionately enormous budgets to contend with, such as travel budgets for employees or loan payments.
Each of the services mentioned above has its own perks. Blue Jeans Network has a massive interoperability portfolio, meaning it will work with virtually anything you combine it with. LifeSize gives you an astounding amount of video conferencing capabilities and is backed by Logitech, a very popular name in computing. Then we have Zoom, with its Unified Meeting Experience (UMX), which offers a cloud-based video conferencing platform that only requires a camera to work (it also works on mobile devices). They also have a hybrid cloud solution which provides in-house conferencing managed by the cloud. The conference can be initiated on your machines while accounts and meeting schedules are handled by their cloud.
There’s still a long way to go, and all of these companies each have their own unique challenges.
To make sure you have a proper web conferencing software, you’ll need to find one that:
- is affordable,
- operates on every device a participant might use,
- offers HD conferencing wherever possible,
- doesn’t require special hardware or software to run,
- has a significantly powerful connection quality across different geographical locations,
- allows as many participants as possible, and
- is easily usable for people who are not very technologically literate.
Finding such a solution is like trying to find the perfect chocolate. Each company offers its own flavor. But, in all sincerity, Zoom comes closest to meeting the requirements for conferencing Nirvana. Blue Jeans Network also comes in second, but only because its services have exorbitant price tags ($300 per seat, per month). Compare that to Zoom’s $9.99 per month for a UMX meeting room that includes up to 25 participants for an unlimited time. In both services, you get HD conferencing, clear connection quality, and a high-security environment.
Web conferencing is still a difficult game to play, and it’s not exactly for every business. But if you believe you could certainly use an affordable solution, rest assured that there are at least three companies that you can choose from. Perhaps in the future, more choices will present themselves. For now, the future is certainly looking bright!