As a member of video conferencing managed services and industry blogger, I have seen my fair share of video conferencing implementations over the years. I was amazed to find that regardless of the location, industry or size of the organization, the same challenges appeared present in nearly all scenarios. After reflecting on what I have experienced, I have boiled the list down to the top 5 most common issues. Let the countdown begin!
1. Video-Enabled Conference Rooms vs. Desktop Solutions
Many companies want to use video conferencing for meetings within and outside of their organization, but the installation of video conference solutions in meeting rooms can be a very expensive endeavour. On the other hand, solutions for the desktop can be implemented without a large budget or technical expertise. With some vendors, you can deploy 200 desktop video conferencing units for the price of a single meeting room (not including monthly costs for licences or maintenance). So, desktop is the obvious choice? Not exactly.
I recommend a good balance between desktop solutions and dedicated rooms for video collaboration. As you would imagine, both solutions have their pros and cons but, in order to maximize your investment you need to allow your users to join an ad-hoc conversation via video from their desk, as well as meeting up with several individuals in video-enabled conference rooms.
But if you want both these technologies to work together, you will need to think about…
What is the point of investing in video conferencing endpoints and infrastructure, if the systems you buy can’t “speak” with the systems made by a different manufacturer? If you are buying, selling, designing or installing a video conferencing solution, make sure you consider the interoperability (or “interop” in short) between the devices you have chosen and those of your partners, vendors, customers and other constituents. You would be surprised how many manufacturers’ systems are not standards-based and fully interoperable.
Nevertheless, even full interop will not help you doing collaborate with your partners without…
3. Firewall Traversal
Not sure what a firewall is? In short, it means that you are sitting in a secure environment and your devices have certain restrictions within your network and across the Internet. But even if your company doesn’t have a firewall, there is a good chance that your partners, vendors and customers do. If that’s the case, communication will be a challenge.
Firewall traversal is the solution to this problem (and is fairly common in video solutions today). The idea is to analyze the video infrastructure of the organisation and work together with the firewall support teams to enable safe video communication through a managed, secure route.
Don’t forget: All involved organizations need to have solution in order to establish connections to each other.
4. User Adoption
So now we have identified and solved a few challenges, but what if we have a fancy video solution in place and all is working fine, but nobody wants to use it?
If you believe the adoption of video collaboration in your organization is wavering or non-existent, consider the following:
• Are employees aware of the solution?
• Is there a convenient way to book video conferences?
• Is there an Intranet webpage providing information?
• Are video conferences encouraged by senior management?
• Is there a process to intercept business travel requests that could be handled via video conference?
• Is the solution easy enough to use? If not, deploy user guides.
• Start a survey to gather feedback on the user experiences
The question most salespeople are challenged with is, “Why should we invest in a new video conferencing provider? The consumer-grade options have worked just fine for us!”
To cut to the chase, there are a million reasons why free video services are not sufficient for your professional communication, especially with partners or clients. Here are my top choices:
• Most free services do not work with industry-grade video conferencing devices
• Consumer-grade calls cannot be operated by your bridging team
• Disconnections can occur
• Many enterprises have banned these types of services and you will not be able to make calls with them
• And last but not least: Do you really want to tell your partner or client to download a free service, register an account, configure their devices and probably end up in chaos and losing face, just because you are going for the “free alternative”? Of course not! Your partners and clients are worth the investment. If you want to appear professional with partners, customers and vendors, an enterprise-quality video conferencing solution is the only way to go. In fact, you may be surprised how affordable some video systems are.