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4/10/2007
10:51 AM
Melanie Turek
Melanie Turek
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Choosing an Enterprise Videoconferencing System

Video conferencing can offer substantial benefits to global organizations. But even if an IT executive is convinced of the value of videoconferencing, he or she is faced with a wide array of buying choices: high-definition, room-based, executive, PC systems, telepresence, and more. Furthermore, many companies want to integrate multiple videoconferencing systems with one another, and with presence information and other modes of communication. Knowing which technologies to deploy when, where and to whom can mean the difference between success and failure—not to mention have a dramatic effect on ROI.

Given the array of choices in videoconferencing technologies, IT managers must map the right technology to their particular business needs. They must also consider the price/value equation—the cost of videoconferencing technologies varies considerably, with PC-based systems averaging around $850 and room-based systems $4,888 on a worldwide basis; telepresence technologies, on the other hand, can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars per site. Frost & Sullivan research shows that in the U.S., the typical cost of a group videoconferencing system ranges from $5,000 to $10,000, with the average cost hovering around $6,700. Depending on the use case, the costs of any of these technologies can be worth it, with demonstrable ROI achieved over years, months or even weeks. But it’s critical for IT buyers to ensure that the money they do spend is spent wisely. The best way to do that is to evaluate usage needs against four criteria: industry/business, job roles, employee hierarchy and location.

Meanwhile, regardless of the type of endpoint used, companies looking to deploy new video technology should seriously consider high definition. With HD technology, participants can literally see the whites of one another’s eyes and monitor subtle facial expressions and body language to gauge interest and reaction. High definition lets users focus on three key areas of communication: intent (the speaker’s true meaning, which is often conveyed in actions rather than words), emotion (delivered clearly in a person’s body language and facial expressions) and personality (strategic partnerships and purchases require a certain level of trust and comfort in the person with whom you’re doing business).

And although high definition technology offers a significantly better experience than traditional systems, it doesn’t have to come at a significantly higher cost. What’s more, because the quality and ease of use are so superior, companies that deploy HD videoconferencing can expect to see it used much more often that traditional video systems—and that increased usage translates into better and faster ROI. Companies can also shorten ROI cycles by running the technology over their IP networks, eliminating per-minute costs and management support.

To learn more about how to deploy the right video conferencing technology for the right employees, and to best support your organization’s business processes, please join me and a panel of IT executives for an educational Webinar on Thursday April 19 at 2pm ET. Hope to “see” you there!

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