There has been a lot of chatter lately in the world of technology about migrating away from physical devices. Our IT counterparts are well ahead of the AV industry in this regard, having spent the better part of the last decade migrating sprawling data centers and costly servers into tight, compact, and easier to manage virtual environments.
While this isn’t a completely fair comparison, as the majority of audiovisual equipment can’t be virtualized, there are AV applications that must be modernized, and move away from physical devices into the 21st century. The easiest application to migrate, that offers the highest return on investment, is a no brainer: videoconferencing. Though many users have trepidation about using the enigmatic “cloud,” migrating conferencing can drastically cut costs and help maintain sanity.
It’s time to ditch traditional videoconferencing equipment. It is expensive, can be difficult to use, and without an incredibly costly, dedicated support staff at meeting time, meeting organizers often have trouble using the system. It also requires compatible services at each location connecting to join the meeting. Continuing to design and install traditional videoconferencing systems can be costly and frustrating to users and support personnel alike, and yield a lower return on investment than originally hoped for.
Migrating away from physical devices to service-based subscriptions or interoperability providers allows users to be more flexible and efficient in how they utilize videoconferencing. Gone are the days of fighting to use the company’s limited videoconferencing suites, wasting ten minutes to get the meeting set up, and then scrambling for support when the system presented difficulty. With more and more companies betting big on huddle rooms and collaboration spaces, a wider variety of technology designed to enable videoconferencing regardless of the transmission method, and employees having a greater need for ad-hoc conferencing and collaboration capabilities, the time to move away from legacy systems is now.
Users are now chomping at the bit to use familiar tools, on familiar devices, to connect with colleagues, remote locations, and offshore contractors. Whether it’s a techno-phobia crippled administration at a university wanting to use FaceTime to connect with out-of-state trustees, or a veteran business leader who wants to use Skype to quickly connect with remote employees because it’s familiar to him from calling his grandkids, like it or not, the majority of clients are comfortable with desktop conferencing applications already. And having a high level of comfort with desktop conference applications leads to an increase in utilization.
Whether your organization leverages existing UC to bring conferencing to the desktop or simply uses an available cloud-based conferencing solution such as Webex or Go2Meeting, if your strategy includes migrating from traditional videoconferencing hardware towards desktop software and cloud-based videoconferencing, you’re setting your organization up for success, and yourself for fewer headaches.