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How to pick the right video conferencing solution

How to pick the right video conferencing solution
Video conferencing systems have evolved from simple gadgets to advanced solutions with various new features. Amid this trend, how to pick out a solution that best suits the end user’s need is also essential.
Video conferencing systems have evolved from simple gadgets to advanced solutions with various new features. Now, machine learning and AI algorithms are being applied to video conferencing to enhance their functionality. Amid this trend, how to pick out a solution that best suits the end user’s need is also essential.
A lot of progress has been made on video conferencing over the years. Quality has become better, not to mention integration with ever more systems and solutions. Now, AI has edged its way into the video conferencing arena to enhance the whole experience.
“AI can be used to help focus the cameras on the speakers, or to transcribe/translate sessions in real-time, as well as enhance the quality of the session based on real-time network parameters,” said Bo Preising, Chief Innovation Officer and SVP for Engineering at Suitable Technologies.
“AI is definitely on the horizon for video conferencing in meeting rooms. This might include voice commands, intelligent sensing, and new ways to facilitate meeting set-up,” said Loren Shaw, VP of Marketing at InFocus.
“AI can be well-applied to video conferencing. Traditionally, the meeting minute should be taken manually. The note taker’s professional background and cognition can be varied, which may result in the misunderstanding to attendees’ speaking contents. Via AI, the minutes can be taken automatically. For information retrieval after the meeting, it also helps quickly search specified topics,” said Jerry Hung, GM of BXB Electronics. “To go one step further, the AI can analyze company’s core competitiveness and strategies so that users don’t need to spend lots of time on data collection and analysis. Furthermore, via the facial recognition of AI, each attendee’s identity can be memorized for the ease of meeting registration and image auto-tracking.”

What to consider when selecting a solution

With a variety of solutions in the market and each with multiple features, how to select the one that best fits the end user’s organizational needs is key.

In terms of software, picking the right one depends on several factors. “These include ease of deployment and usage, stability and security, high integration with office software, such as outlook and skype; and cost-effectiveness,” Hu said.

“There’re various kinds of free video conferencing software for personal use – for example Skype, LINE and Whatsapp. Most users have been familiar with the operation interface and functions. Their contact lists has also been imported. Therefore, in the workspace these free software would be the first priority for the users. They don’t need to adapt to the new software again. Moreover, document share and collaboration functions are also the features that the user look for,” Hung said.
In particular, ease of use and interoperability are something that the user should look at. “No matter the organization’s goals or size, interoperability and ease to access to programs like Office 365 or Skype are crucial to successful adoption. Some platforms and all-in-one displays are only compatible with a particular company’s video conferencing service, and limit the choices for the end-user. Users should be wary of being locked into one platform, as the best software or apps for their business could change over time,” Shaw said. “Ease-of-use is another important factor – a system that is too complicated simply won’t be used as frequently.
Meanwhile, the set up a video conferencing system the hardware is indispensable. “These include full-HD camera that allows wide-angle images and extraordinary audio, has strong network adaptability and supports open standards,” Hu said. “The device should be light and has POE power supply, if possible.”
“Users should be sure to invest in the latest hardware advancements, such as multi-touch, 4K resolution, HD video quality, and memory and processing power that will last,” Shaw said.

Devices that take discussion privacy into consideration is also important. “If the private discussion is heard or watched by the other side, the negotiation efficiency would be greatly decreased. In other words, the traditional panoramic view of camera is no more satisfied by the users. Now, they need the hardware equipped with speaker’s image auto-tracking and close-up function,” Hung said. “The camera would only take the image of the speakers’ who are talking to the microphone so that other attendees’ private discussion would not be watched or heard by the other side.”
But more importantly, the user should identify their own needs and objectives before purchasing a solution.
“It’s vital that an organisation looks at what they are trying to achieve first - and what challenges they are trying to solve - before deciding on an end solution to purchase. What am I trying to do? What is my workflow? Every solution has its pros and cons, and one will help an organisation address their challenges, whilst the same solution for another will not,” said Emily Shimell, Head of Customer Communications at VideoCentric. “The biggest problem we see over and over again is because organisations make the mistake of thinking low cost is good value. If a solution looks cheap, but doesn’t address the challenges your business is facing, then it could be a very costly decision. A higher cost solution could address all your needs and more, and result in far bigger savings in the long run.

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