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Michael Singer
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Video Conferencing: Your Slipups Are Showing

If you think how you look is the only issue to worry about during a video conference call, you haven't even scratched the surface. Here are seven common mistakes to avoid.

If you think how you look is the only issue to worry about during a video conference call, you haven't even scratched the surface. Here are seven common mistakes to avoid.Our office just installed this really nice state-of-the-art video conference system in our board room. I won't tell you the name, but it's got dual screens, high-def cameras, fast network pipes... the works. It really helps when you are collaborating with departments that may be in a different state or country. I can tell if the boss is interested in my presentation or if he is checking his BlackBerry while I'm talking.

But looks are only a fraction of the picture, according to Mark Urban, the CTO over at Blue Coat. His company is expected to announce the results from a survey that revealed the seven common pitfalls to successful high-quality video conferencing deployments over existing networks.

Based on their findings, Blue Coat field personnel have witnessed a number of commonly made mistakes in trying to add high quality video conferencing to existing networks and has developed a list of the top seven:

  1. Assessment -- failure to assess the network's readiness for video conferencing
  2. Bandwidth Provisioning -- failure to provision adequate bandwidth for each video conferencing session
  3. Proactive Monitoring -- lack of ability to proactively monitor the quality of each video conferencing session
  4. Troubleshooting -- lack of ability to troubleshoot a video conferencing session if the quality is impaired
  5. Unprotected Session Set-up -- lack of bandwidth for set-up transactions causing significant delays in starting a new video conferencing session
  6. Limitations of Existing Infrastructure -- belief that the existing networking infrastructure readily will be able to establish the proper quality necessary for video conferencing
  7. Disrupting Other Applications -- improper management of video conferencing resulting in excessive bandwidth use or network contention that prevents other applications from running properly

I'm fairly certain my IT department took their time and considered these pitfalls in advance. But for a company trying to deploy high quality video conferencing over existing networks, it can be a daunting task.

As part of its report next week, Blue Coat is expected to highlight its customer Woods Bagot, an architectural firm in the U.K. Because it works internationally, Woods Bagot's owners decided to support global video conferencing meetings over its existing network. According to Blue Coat, the architects saved more than $200,000 in a single instance.

Your mileage may differ. But certainly, installing a video conferencing system should take more thought than just plugging in a couple of cameras to some displays through your VPN network.

InformationWeek Analytics has published an independent analysis of what IT and corporate professionals are looking for in business optimization. Download the report here (registration required).

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