Dispelling the Myths of HD Video Conferencing – Part 7 of 7

Myth # 7: The infrastructure for HD video needs to be centrally provisioned

Fact: Not necessarily. There are two schools of thought here – Outside-In vs. Inside-Out.

It’s no secret that in today’s economic environment, organizations are tightening budgets and streamlining wherever possible. Despite financial constraints, IT executives must continually seek out innovative, cost-effective technologies to improve business-critical communications, collaboration and productivity. So, when an organization is ready to allocate dollars to video conferencing, the question has become not when, but how?

Companies that deploy multiparty video conferencing often predetermine port capacity (or how many sites they need to connect) to meet forecasted demand. However, the best way to scale that demand is not always clear.

When following a traditional method, most organizations pay for multipoint user port capacity upfront, assuming future growth and demand. This industry term is referred to as “inside-out,” or a vertical approach, in which a company invests in infrastructure first and allows demand to catch up later.

Another option is the “outside-in,” or horizontal approach. If resources are scarce and a large, upfront investment in the unknown isn’t practical, as is frequently the case, the alternative outside-in approach scales horizontally as an organization’s needs grow. It means investing modularly, only spending on immediate requirements without guessing or overspending on what may or may not be needed in the future.

Should you purchase video conferencing technology based on your current needs or forecasted future demand?

Inside Out: Buy Now, Use Later

With the traditional vertical approach to multipoint video conferencing, IT buyers predetermine an organization’s current and future HD video conferencing needs. This method of forecasting involves a considerable amount of guesswork and risk. Based on estimated demand, companies invest significant dollars in expensive infrastructure systems. This upfront investment can monopolize much of the budget and leave fewer dollars to dedicate to HD video endpoints. In this scenario, the user experience can suffer and the technology that devoured so much upfront capital may not be utilized as expected. Although the end result gives users HD video conferencing capability, the high cost may limit the technology to only a few individuals in the organization. The inside-out methodology can sacrifice quality and underutilize infrastructure. So, does overshooting needs lead to overspending?

Outside In: Buy as Needed, Use as Needed

Whereas the previous methodology allocated most, if not all, of the budget for infrastructure to support potential demand, the new smart growth approach delivers the highest-quality video communication in a modular fashion by scaling horizontally. With the same dollar-to-dollar budget, products like LifeSize® Bridge™ give more users access to Full HD 1080p30 or True HD 720p60 and 720p30, due to the lowest per-port cost on the market. With fewer dollars spent upfront on core infrastructure, organizations can stretch budgets further and invest only in the components they need now; thus simplifying planning and budgeting, as well as shortening purchasing cycles.

Unlike traditional MCUs that carry a heavy cost burden, the LifeSize Bridge units are purpose-built and designed specifically for customer needs. With the modular architecture, rather than relying on one unit to scale and paying for capacity that may not be used, flat capacity pricing for 16 ports is available at a third of the cost of others at Full HD 1080p30 or True HD 720p60. As a result, the same budget dollars go further to enable more users to have a high-quality HD video experience. This can encourage usage, increase productivity and improve company-wide efficiencies. ROI directly correlates to this improved usage and productivity. The more people who use the technology, the greater the return and the easier it is to justify.


The good news is that HD video communications can vastly improve the collaborative process, making organizations more productive without overspending. Thanks to recent innovations that have led to greater system processing power, better and less expensive displays, native 16:9 format HD cameras, more assessable network bandwidth and more options in how you deploy and use video in the workplace, every organization can see immediate results and a strong ROI.  Understand what is true, what is not, and you will realize the value that video communications delivers.

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