Did you know video conferencing goes as far back as the early 1900s? In PC’s, it was used as early as the 1990s around the same time webcams started being placed in notebooks. At that time, you needed an entire conference room of equipment to operate and there were few options. It was large, bulky, expensive, and generally unattractive.
Fast forward to 2018 and there are numerous options, features, cost structures, and capabilities. Many of the modern systems are so easy to use that IT no longer has to manage them, they have become the true ‘plug and play’ type of system. There are 2 main categories of modern video conference systems; hardware and software.
Software based solutions are a good fit for organizations with a high rate of mobile workstations or notebooks which have embedded cameras, a large amount of remote workers or many locations, and companies which have older video hardware that can be re-purposed like Poly-com video cameras. Pure software based solutions are the lowest cost to acquire, though there can be some work in getting it setup and implemented across an organization. There are many newer features available to include: web conferencing and recording, secured meetings, multiple platform integration with Skype, YouTube, Facebook and others, multi-presenter conferencing options, screen sharing, screen recording, mobile device abilities, cloud, and many more.
Hardware based solutions can accomplish all the above, with the advantage of plug and play easy to manage hardware. Instead of a large investment in a dedicated display, cameras, microphones, wiring, speakers, and everything else, there are options for conference rooms with only 1 or 2 pieces of hardware needed. They cost much less, take up less space, and are easy to use. With the advancements in audio technology, an entire room can be filled with clear audio using only 1 or 2 devices.
We’ve gone from large expensive specialty conference rooms to low cost high performance conferencing that you can hold in one hand, in less than 30 years. A technology that’s decreasing in cost while increasing in performance too, how incredible is that?