In a dynamic global business – market meetings, lead generation, networking, and relationship building play a key role in business growth. With the introduction of high-speed internet services and the impact of IOT in businesses, relationships both B2B and B2C are increasingly being built online.
Therefore, businesses are constantly looking to get better video conferencing solutions with the best and most affordable video conferencing equipment so that they can expand their outreach and also improve in-house productivity with the usage of the same services for in-house processes.
But, buying video conferencing equipment can be a hassle. What vendor to choose? What additional services will you need? What subscription plans you agree upon? These questions can be frustrating for all business owners, that’s why we made a list of 5 things to check before buying video conferencing equipment for your business.
- Need for the device
First thing is first! Do you need the device? Before buying video conferencing equipment for your business, it’s important to really consider whether you will use the system. A good start is to identify the problems that this solution will fix for you. Will it be a big upgrade for the business? What results will it boost? For how much? Or, is there a way that you could improvise with only a laptop and free services? Does your staff need the training to use the new video conferencing equipment? Is it easy to use in general? Will it require any input from your clients to make it work? Is it easy for the other party to join meetings?
Answering questions like these will help you as a business owner to critically evaluate your need for video conferencing equipment so that you make the best decision for your purchase.
- Pricing and Value for Money
This is a tricky subject that needs a lot of thought since different video conferencing equipment have different offers when it comes to payment. Starting from the retail price that you initially have to pay, then the subscription models and other additional payments that are also needed.
Basic prices for video conferencing equipment differ. There is HELLO from Solaborate, which is an all-in-one video conferencing device with a price under $500, all the way up to Polycom devices that have price tags of over $5,000. Another factor to consider is that some devices require additional devices to work while others come as all-in-one video conferencing devices.
As a business owner, you will need to be cautious. Due to high improvements and rapid development of technology the market offers better and cheaper solutions than those from the “legendary titan” companies where you pay an additional amount of money for their brand on top of the original device price.
Also, not all video conferencing equipment offer their services without recurring costs. Some limit its usage with different subscription plans. Let’s again take HELLO all-in-one video conferencing device from Solaborate as an example. It gives free lifetime usage of all its services, whereas video conferencing equipment such as Highfive limit their usability and offer different monthly recurring plans.
So, in this aspect, you need to get the numbers straight and calculate which video conferencing equipment gives the more value for the money spent.
Security, privacy and data protection is a huge issue nowadays. Business owners need to make sure their data is never compromised and that they also have the privacy they need from their devices.
In general, most of the devices require an internet connection, but when it comes to security, they leave that to your router. They don’t offer so much in this direction. This leaves the device very vulnerable to attacks. Anyone with access to the local wireless network can use that network to attack the connected devices or intercept and monitor the traffic with ease.
Some video conferencing equipment offer manual hardware solutions for security issues, while some offer hack-proof privacy buttons. A good thing to check is: does the device offer encryption of the data that is being sent and received! Also, it’s nice to search around the device to see user feedback (if there is any) regarding the security issue. A simple, google search “DEVICENAME security” could give you interesting results and information.
Companies that manufacture video conferencing equipment usually give the device the ability to update the firmware and upgrade the operating system the device uses for its operations.
Many of these devices require that users do manual updates or small patches to their device. For the normal user, this can sometimes be a challenge. Connecting devices to the network, using direct cables, configuring IP addresses, etc. – these tasks are not rocket-science, but sometimes they really feel like it.
It is important that the manufacturer also informs its users regarding updates so that steps are taken immediately, and the device is updated.
As a business owner, you should set a priority towards these updates. Go for a device that has this process automated. If a manual procedure is needed, make sure that the UI is simple and not too complicated.
Also, make sure that the device auto-updates third-party apps (if they support any such apps) that are installed in the device.
- Customer support
Last but most important, how good and how fast is the company’s customer support? There is no implication that customer support is needed very often, but when it’s needed – in most of the cases – it is of high importance and urgency. Having an important meeting scheduled and your video conferencing equipment failing to work puts you in a ridiculous position.
Make sure you check the manufacturer’s customer support before buying video conferencing equipment. You can use their support to also get more information and research so that your buying decision is a well-thought decision. Check for ways you can contact their customer support: do they offer direct email, phone number or live chat? Do they follow-up with you? How long does it take for them to reply? How long does it take to resolve an issue? Is the support available 24/7? On what time zones? Is it free?
In general, the more questions you ask yourself and the more answers you get before deciding to buy your video conferencing equipment the better results and usability with the device you will have. It is crucial to primarily identify the problem that the video conferencing equipment will solve for you and then move on towards your research that will lead to a carefully thought and planned-out decision.