Types of Video Conferencing Systems
Personal or Room-Based?
This is where you choose if the Video Conferencing system is for individual use or to be used with multiple people. Please note that this decision has nothing to do with interacting with other sites – that comes later – you need only to know how many faces will be shown on this one system.
Okay, so you have decided that this solution is for only one person. From here you have three options, including a video phone, a computer-based solution, or an endpoint (hardware). How do you choose? It is a matter of function and preference. How do you plan to use the system?
This small form factor option doubles as your Voip phone and your Video Conferencing interface. You can participate in a multiway call, although you cannot host one without the use of an external bridge. The Video Phone offers privacy with the handset or a headset. The drawbacks to a video phone are that you cannot host a multiway call without an external bridge – although you can participate in them, not all video phones can accommodate data-sharing, and the screen size is small. Video phones range in price from $300 to $1500, so be sure that this will serve your needs before making a whimsical purchase. Your best bet is to contact the Video Conferencing experts at Video Conferencing Systems.
This option is very popular with people on-the-go and typical office workers. Within this option there are two choices – a software client on your desktop or a hardware codec that doubles as your computer monitor.
Computer Software Client
This is a fast and inexpensive way to introduce Video Conferencing in your business. Video Conferencing Software Client is available for both MAC and PC. A typical software client download and setup takes fewer than ten minutes. With the software client on your computer, you have access to all of your computer files for data-sharing as well as internet access to share online information. This option ranges in price from $89 to $1800 per year.
This choice offers the least disruptive solution for personal Video Conferencing. Picture your computer screen – secondary or primary – that doubles as a Video Conferencing system on demand. This double-duty hardware saves space and time by automatically converting to your video call display when needed and reverting back to your computer monitor when the call has completed. The Monitor Codec option ranges in price from $3500 to $10,000 plus annual fees for licensing and maintenance.
This option is the most similar to a room-based Video Conferencing system in that it uses an external display, camera, and microphone – the same as does a system for your conference room. This is the best choice for someone who will use a whiteboard in his or her office, needs to interact with a physical object or another person in the room, or who likes to walk about the space while on a call. The space between you and the codec allows the freedom to use the space in your office. This option ranges in price from $1500 to $8000 plus annual fees for licensing and maintenance.
You have decided that the solution that you need is for multiple people and you need choices on room-based systems. There are several things to consider when you are choosing a Video Conferencing system for a conference room – so think about how you plan to use the equipment now and in a year from now. Think about these four things:
- How many sites will be on a video call?
- How many locations will initiate a multiway call?
- Do you plan to share data and presentations?
- How many displays will you use?
Point to point
Point-to-Point is how you refer to making a video call between two Video Conferencing systems. This is a great money-saving option if you want to start small because several manufacturers allow you to use a virtual bridge to increase the user capacity per call without replacing your hardware every time your needs change.
Many businesses have several locations and remote workers. Most often, in this situation, businesses wish to include several sites on a video call for varying collaborative meetings. For a sample solution study, please read, “Small Business Video Conferencing.”
When you need more than one Video Conferencing system in a call, you require multiway capabilities. Room-based codecs offer varying numbers of participant capacities. All manufacturers that we reference offer 4-way, and Cisco offers 6-way, and LifeSize offers 6- and 8-way. You will need to know how many of your sites will need to host a multiway call in order to get a solution that fits your needs. Remember that you can add a virtual bridge on Cisco and LifeSize in order to maximize productivity without breaking the back with an external hardware bridge, which will cost more than the codecs themselves.
You should know if you plan to give presentations during your Video Conference. This includes any interaction that you plan with a computer, DVD player, VCR (yes, a VCR), or an IP whiteboard. Some manufacturers, such as LifeSize and AVer, include data-sharing with their equipment at no additional cost. Most other manufacturers require a license in order to unlock the feature. This feature license does not necessarily have to be purchased up front, although there is an ordering delay – so do not wait until the day you need it to buy it!
This is a pretty self-explanatory feature – instead of only one display, you use two (or three). Some Video Conferencing systems have the capacity for three displays, some only one. Knowing how you will use your display, before making your purchase, can avoid future frustration. Some manufacturers allow multiple displays without any extra steps while some require licenses to unlock this ability.
This is the traditional way that businesses used Video Conferencing. This $100,000 full immersion comes with the entire grand hoorah and can include the physical construction of stadium seating, massive displays, and pop-up personal computers. For information on this option, you should contact the manufacturer directly.
So now you know the basics of the Video Conferencing options. For a head-to-head comparison, check out, “Desktop Versus Room Video Conferencing.” For further information, be sure to click-through the site or contact Video Conferencing Systems at 1(855) 820-8006 or VideoConferencing@voipsupply.com.