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VG Tuesday Tips: Tired of Playing Hide and Seek with Your Video Conferencing Investments?

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By HighFive

So you’ve decided to invest in a modern, cloud-based video conferencing system to better connect all your employees. Whether participants are jumping in via a mobile device on-the-road, joining from a personal computer at home, or hosting as a team in a meeting room, you want a solution that fully accommodates every present-day work scenario. Naturally, cost is also a major consideration.

Unfortunately, many of the expenses are actually hidden from most prospective buyers’ initial assessments. Whether it’s hardware, software licensing, installation or maintenance, vendors charge for these items in a variety of ways. Confusion can quickly set in when trying to fully grasp all of the associated expenses.

If it feels like you’re playing “hide and seek” with the costs of your video conferencing investments, then it’s vitally important for you to find out what you do, and don’t need to be purchasing.

Hardware Costs: Bring Them Out of the Shadows

Your initial investment for video conferencing equipment can vary greatly. Procuring your own devices may save some money in the short term. However, if your system grows larger or the demand for interoperability with multiple devices intensifies, your system may require substantial hardware upgrades. Which means you could be looking at many ancillary and concealed installation and integration costs.

Alternatively, you can consider having new equipment provided by a vendor – a hardware-as-a-service (HaaS) model.  You eliminate the maintenance issue, since the vendor provides that. All you have to focus on are:

  • The limits of your budget. Have you ranked exactly what you need? Does the move from a CapEx to OpEx model make sense?
  • Upgrades fees. Will you pay for superfluous infrastructure that is separate from the most visible hardware? I.e., are you bleeding cash for management and reporting tools that you may not need?
  • The maintenance costs for the hardware. Is that payment (usually annual) worth the peace-of-mind, compared to doing the regular hardware maintenance yourself?

One clear benefit of the HaaS model is that your hardware typically stays current with all of the latest capabilities.

An additional and important hardware consideration for your video conferencing solutions is your network speed. You want to ensure that your system operates at peak levels, with no lag time. The bare minimum speed for running HD video is 5 mbps. Be prepared for when your video conferencing vendor encourages you to upgrade your network.

System Costs: Know What You Really Need to Pay For

Truly immersive video conferencing requires constant adjustments based on lighting, sound, and movement. Each of these factors are queued by the hardware, but the necessary adjustments are coordinated by intelligent software. Most video conferencing vendors offers software-based capabilities in a variety of packages and options. Be cognizant of how certain, seemingly simple, system functionalities can rapidly rack up unexpected expenditures:

  • Do you need whiteboard framing and the ability to enable remote attendees to contribute to ad hoc discussions?
  • Do you need dial-in capabilities for joining meetings in progress, or dial-out capabilities to connect with colleagues across the globe?
  • Do you need to occasionally join meetings from legacy in-room devices?
  • Do you need to sometimes establish connections between multiple conferencing solutions?
  • Do you need to record meetings for later playback, either in audio or fully synced video? If so, you should confirm that your video conferencing provider offers plenty of cloud-based storage for these, often massive, files.

The costs for any of these additional services can surprise you if they’re not clearly defined before you engage.

The bottom line recommendation for video conferencing software services is, make sure you’re working on a cost-per-month basis as opposed to a cost-per-use basis. That way, what you’re spending on a video conferencing solution is predictable.

Take Control Over Your Video Conferencing Costs

If you’re in charge of the numbers, either as a decision maker or a manager, it’s essential for you  to analyze a fully illuminated picture of the costs and benefits of every video conference solution you’re considering. Equip your easel with the following cost factors to best paint a total cost of ownership picture:

  • Upfront, One-Time Costs: A one-time purchase price should include all necessary equipment, software (if applicable), and any installation.
  • Recurring Costs: Carefully consider these costs to ensure a solution will grow with your company. Avoid paying for things you won’t use. Licenses and per user fees can add up quickly.
  • IT and Support Costs: Traditional executive conference room systems are the most expensive options on the market. Typically they involve complex, on-premises equipment and a dedicated IT staff to perform maintenance, updates, troubleshooting and user training. How much is it worth to manage these complexities?

Discover Savings with Highfive

Highfive alleviates the pain caused by legacy video conferencing by delivering awesome in-room meetings with crystal clear audio, hi-def video, and new system setup in minutes. Intelligent technology dampens background noise, normalizes speaking volumes, distinguishes speaker location so you can tell who’s talking, and even corrects angle distortion when streaming views of the whiteboard – giving participants in the room, and dialing in, the best experience possible.

Our simple pricing structure is per-room, not per-user, with unlimited monthly usage and Hardware-as-a-Service, making it easier and more affordable than ever to connect. 

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