Videoconferencing has changed a great deal since we installed our first system for Southwestern Bell in 1988. At the time, the hardware for each site cost $80,000 and video could be choppy and low quality. Now, most smartphones and tablets are capable of high-definition videoconferencing for free.
Videoconferencing and remote collaboration have become the most rapidly changing technologies we work with. The emergence of Skype For Business, WebEx, and similar services has put remote collaboration within the grasp of nearly every industry and organization. Many companies find that software-based solutions like these fulfill all of their needs while others are better off with hybrid or hardware-based solutions.
Although new technologies have made videoconferencing more accessible than ever, they have also made it difficult to determine the best solutions. Consumers must now decide if they want hardware or software systems, whether to use the internet/cloud or a private network, the quantity and types of devices they want to connect, and more.
These decisions can have a major impact on cost and quality. For casual collaboration and conferencing between teams of coworkers or partners, quality may be unimportant: a little “voice echo” or a brief video interruption will be relatively insignificant. During a conference with a potential customer, however, issues like these could lead to miscommunications, misunderstandings, or lost business.
Large spaces and large numbers of participants can also present challenges. Problems with audio, video, lighting, and room attributes can be multiplied in situations like this. Many audiovisual firms cannot offer the high level of experience that we have in solving and preventing these problems.