This content is part of the Essential Guide: How best to put collaboration tools to work for your team

Features of video conferencing evolve to meet demand

Enterprise video conferencing is an important collaboration tool for organizations. Increased demand for video has changed much about the features of video conferencing and its delivery.

The early days of enterprise video conferencing looked very different from the technology we use today. At its start, video was mainly relegated to large boardrooms and saw limited use within an organization, making it a high-cost tool with limited ROI. Today, video plays a much more prominent role in enterprise collaboration.  

The culture of work has shifted to favor collaboration tools to support employee workflows, making enterprise video conferencing a much more valuable tool. Remote workers can video call their teams to have productive meetings that have more visual context than a voice call. Over the years, the features of video conferencing have changed -- along with how organizations use the technology and the vendors in the market.

How have the advantages and disadvantages of video conferencing changed?

Advantages of video conferencing have remained fairly consistent over time. When organizations use video conferencing regularly, meetings are typically shorter and more productive. In addition, video presentations have a larger impact than those presented over audio only. The disadvantages of video conferencing have dwindled significantly as video technology has matured, and more offerings and delivery systems appear.

Early on, cost was a main concern for enterprise video conferencing. Most video systems were housed in a single boardroom and used expensive equipment that needed to be set up, monitored and maintained by a designated IT admin. Today, the overall cost of video conferencing has dropped considerably. As the demand for video increased with the adoption of huddle rooms, vendors have come out with affordable and easily scalable enterprise video conferencing options in the form of video room kits.

Room kits provide easy-to-set-up video conferencing options, and with delivery models such as video as a service (Vaas) and communications platform as a service, many organizations no longer need to worry about the cost of hosting and maintaining video platforms on premises.

How are vendor partnerships changing the enterprise video conferencing market?

Historically, a video conferencing vendor handled all the hardware and software pieces of enterprise video conferencing, resulting in the need for organizations to buy proprietary products from their vendor. Having all parts of the video experience provided by a single vendor limited options for organizations looking for specific features.

As the enterprise video conferencing market continues to grow, so do the number of vendors in the space. The influx of vendors resulted in certain vendors focusing in on only one or two pieces of the video communications puzzle. Instead of offering complete systems, some vendors are partnering together to offer more varied video conferencing features in offerings that interoperate with one another.

USB-enabled video devices have gained popularity as they are typically universally compatible with an organization's chosen video vendor. Organizations now have the freedom to mix and match the equipment they want to use with the video platforms that best suit the needs of the business. In addition, the scalability of these options makes them a solid choice for organizations looking to present a uniform interaction across all video-enabled spaces.

What is driving cloud video adoption?

The delivery methods of enterprise video conferencing have also changed through the emergence of cloud-delivered VaaS. Early concerns for cloud video were focused on whether or not the cloud could deliver the same quality experience as an on-premises system. Today, cloud video adoption is happening quickly, driven primarily by lower cost, available features and simple management.

VaaS provides scalability by offering video room kits that can be outfitted in smaller and huddle rooms that are traditionally not video enabled. Many cloud video providers also offer features such as click-to-join for guests, which make it easy to include meeting participants outside of an organization.

Cloud video can also solve many of the management problems associated with on-premises video. Cloud video conferencing features will often include an administrative portal that allows IT to monitor and handle call issues quickly and remotely.

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