Professional-grade video conferencing and free web services like Microsoft’s Skype and Google’s Hangouts have about as much in common as a car does to a bicycle, but for some reason, many organizations continue to misunderstand the fundamental differences between the technologies. It’s time to set the record straight. In this blog post, we’ll take a quick look at why video conferencing can be a valuable tool at your company, and why Skype and Hangouts just don’t cut it.
Professional-grade video conferencing solutions vividly recreate an in-person experience. Unlike Skype and its video-chat compatriots, true professional-grade conferencing options boast the latest in camera, sound and picture technology, ensuring a true-to-life, “looking through a window” experience. If your goal is to recreate the nuances of an in-person meeting, then there’s simply no substitute for video conferencing – and when it comes to making sales and meeting with clients and coworkers, the value of lifelike interactions can’t be overstated. A true human connection irrespective of distance is the promise of professional-grade video communication.
Microsoft and Google aren’t in the business of professional, enterprise-quality video chat. Both companies are large, multinational conglomerates that have their fingers in a lot of technology pies, as it were – and that’s great, because it means they’re able to innovate across a wide range of fields. But it also means that they may abandon projects if they don’t make financial sense or no longer fit in with their corporate philosophy, as both companies have in the past (RIP, Google Reader!). Video conferencing providers, however, have a vested interest in ensuring the long-term viability of their products, since it’s their bread and butter. And, on a related note, free services like Skype and Hangouts don’t have a dedicated customer support staff, so if something goes wrong with your session, there’s nobody to call for specific video conferencing-related help. With a professional video conferencing provider, there’s always someone ready and willing to get your solution working the way it should.
Wholly owned, internal video conferencing is far more secure than public chat services. Skype and Hangouts are free to use for anyone on the Internet, whereas a professional-grade video conferencing service comes with proprietary encryption, ensuring sessions are accessible only to the people and organizations you choose. So which would you rather entrust with your company’s important data?
Video conferencing technology is being innovated at a faster pace; it’s getting more affordable, faster, and higher-def than ever. The main reason a company might opt for a service like Skype or Hangouts over a professional system is the price tag; if you’re a small organization with a couple employees and a small online footprint, then it’s hard to beat the price of free. But with the barrier for entry lower than it’s ever been, professional video conferencing – with its its associated security, quality, and speed – is increasingly the best choice for any organization bigger than that hypothetical one-person shop.
LifeSize video conferencing: the choice for professionals. To many casual users, the differences between video chat services and the professional-level conferencing systems like the ones offered by LifeSize can seem a little “inside baseball.” And that’s understandable. The similarities between the technologies are so obvious they don’t bear enumerating. But when it comes to professional clients looking for a high-quality service at an affordable price, it’s increasingly clear that Google Hangouts and Skype just don’t cut it. When a meeting matters, quality matters – and that means HD video conferencing.
For more on this topic, check out this webinar featuring LifeSize Video Evangelist Simon Dudley.