4 Must-Have Types of Video Conferencing Equipment

Being able to hold a video conference breaks down a lot of barriers in the business world. You can communicate with colleagues who are offsite, broadcast your meetings at important events, and collaborate with people around the world. If you’re going to take full advantage of the joys of video conferencing, you need the right equipment. Here are some essentials you shouldn’t miss out on.

The right video conferencing platform

You know that you’re going to invest in video conferencing this year, but can you confidently say you’ve found the right platform? Around 59% of employees feel disengaged when it comes to meetings. With that in mind, you need to find a platform that’s smooth and easy to work with

When choosing your video conferencing platform, look for one that integrates well with your other apps. For example, if you’re going to collaborate on statistics software or presentations, your video conferencing platform should support your go-to applications. Similarly, find one that’s easy for you to use. You don’t want to incur delays because you’re still getting to grips with your software.

Before finalizing your choice, make sure the platform’s limits support the number of conferences you need to host. Finding out that you’ve reached your subscription limits can cause major disruption when you depend on video conferences.

High-quality voice and video equipment

Hosting a video conference is near pointless if the audience at the other end can’t hear or see you properly. When choosing your camera, make sure you find one that supports the size and shape of your conferencing room. You need to know what you want your audience to see, then find equipment that suits it.

When it comes to audio, decide between personal microphones and those that sit on a stand. Or, you could choose both. If you’re going to spend a lot of time moving around the room or you want several people to be able to speak without shifting positions, consider prioritizing headsets.

Speakers with excellent audio

In addition to focusing on how well your audience can see and hear you, you need equipment that makes it easy for you to hear them. Your audio needs to be clear and direct. You also need to find a speaker system that’s appropriate for your room size and easy to adjust.

If anybody at your workplace suffers from hearing loss, consider whether you need to offer a hearing loop. In addition to providing a hearing loop, you’ll need to focus on equipment that works well with it.

Screens everyone can view

Are you going to use a dedicated TV screen? Or is this a room where you’ll need to project your stream onto a whiteboard?

In many cases, it’s necessary to purchase an interactive display. Regardless of the type of display you choose, make sure it’s easy to use and set up. According to some statistics, poor video conferencing quality results in around $34 billion of losses each year. If you want to avoid contributing to that statistic, you’ll need to invest in high-quality equipment that you find easy to operate. Overall, getting more from your video conferencing experience depends on having the right type of technology. When making your investments, make sure you choose products that are appropriate for your room size. With a little research, finding the right gear will take you far.

The pros and cons of video conferencing: Is it right for your business?

Business technology experts have been talking about video conferencing for a while. Some companies embraced it years ago, while others remain skeptical. Is it worth the hassle of learning something new and changing process? Is it really all that different from an audio conference call?

In this article, we’ll explore the pros and cons of video conferencing. (Spoiler: There are far more pros than cons.) We’ll even close things out with a few questions you can ask to determine right nowtodayif video conferencing is a good fit for your company.

What we love about video conferencing

If you’re wary, we understand. Embracing new technology is always a bit of a pain, even when the payoff is big.

But there’s a lot to love about video conferencing.

It’s definitely better than voice-only conference calls

Video conferencing adds a completely missing dimension to communication that can be critical for business meetings and collaboration sessions. Consider this. According to Psychology Today, “The belief is that 55% of communication is body language, 38% is the tone of voice, and 7% is the actual words spoken.”

How much of the conversation are you missing if you only hear someone’s voice?

It helps build connections

A recent Forbes article asserts that video conferencing “translates into closer relationships—even between team members or clients who have yet to meet in person.”

Here’s the thinking. When you meet someone face-to-face, you feel like you know them better because you can put a face to their voice. Video conferencing allows for the same sense of closeness, making it possible for coworkers and customers to feel closer, even at a distance.

It allows for easy collaboration

Video conferencing works beautifully with collaboration-enhancing tools, like virtual whiteboards and shared documents. Pairing up video with these tools makes it possible to conduct productive brainstorming sessions, even if the participants are on the other side of the globe.

It’s cheaper than footing the bill for travel costs

Travel costs money. Plane tickets, hotel rooms and car rentals are unarguably expensive, but so is a trip across town.

Think about it. Your time is valuable. If you have to spend an hour in traffic going to and from a 30-minute meeting, you’re investing 5 times the amount of time in that meeting than you really need to be. Wouldn’t it be better much of the time to handle non-critical meetings via video?

There are free options (to get you started)

There are free video conferencing options, like Microsoft Teams, that you can try out at literally no cost—assuming you have some very basic equipment like webcams. If you don’t have the basic hardware, it’s not super expensive.

This makes it possible to test the waters without going all in on some conference room of the future that will set you back thousands.

“For businesses, it used to be that a video conferencing system cost $50,000 to $100,000 and was only used for executives. Now, it can be in any conference room for $1,000 to $2,000.”

Yale Insights

Where video conferencing falls short

As great as video conferencing is, it’s not perfect. Here are some of the areas where it falls short.

Quality systems cost money

As a recent article notes, “What people want is a sweet spot of great audio and video at a consumerized price and usability.” In other words, the webcam and microphone on your work laptop are not really ideal for regular video conference meetings.

If you’re going to make video conferencing a regular occurrence, you will need to budget for it.

It takes coordination

While you can just pop into someone’s office for a quick conversation, video conferencing takes at least a little planning. At first, that may feel inconvenient. We believe it’s a small price to pay for the overwhelming advantages, but it’s still worth noting.

People have to get used to it

Any time you introduce your staff to new technology, there will be a learning curve. Some people will fall in love with video conferencing from day one just because it’s shiny and new. Others will hate it from the start because they have to change how they work.

How to determine if video conferencing is right for your business

The real question is this: Is video conferencing right for your business?

Here are a few questions to help you make that call.

  • Do you have remote workers on your staff?
  • Does your business have multiple locations?
  • Do you work with any priority clients who are out of town (or even across town)?
  • Do you or other staff members travel often for work?
  • Do you or your staff have a lot of collaborative meetings?
  • Do you feel it’s important for your business to be up-to-date on the latest technology?

If you answered yes to even one of those questions, you should at least consider video conferencing. If you’re not sure where to start, your managed IT services provider or VoIP partner can likely point you in the right direction.

Keep reading: Everything you need to know about VoIP phone systems