As businesses look to adopt solutions to make collaboration more effective, one key trend we continue to see is the use of video to replicate the in-meeting experience while attendees collaborate with each other from dispersed locations. There are several ways this can be achieved today, with solutions ranging from high-end video teleconferencing (VTC) systems focused entirely on video, to web conferencing solutions that enable more online interaction, webcam sharing, and, sometimes, video streaming. Selecting the right technology to replace in-person meetings begins with understanding your organizational needs and pairing those needs with the optimal conferencing solution. I’ll touch on the three key conferencing solution options currently available, but want to encourage you to dive more deeply via a white paper we’ve created on the subject (more on that later).
With VTC, presenters and participants can engage with one another through real-time, high-definition video and high-quality audio, providing everyone with close-up views of other meeting participants. Some solutions offer desktop add-on components, enabling users to present slides and share their desktops. When an organization is primarily focused on enhancing internal company meetings by adding the highest-quality video into the meeting environment and can regularly leverage the conference rooms where the technology resides, a VTC system can be an appropriate solution. There are some challenges with VTC solutions that should be considered, though, namely involving the investment and maintenance required, as well as the relative lack of key collaboration capabilities present with other solutions.
VTC with desktop add-on software
Desktop add-on software extends videoconferencing functionality to personal computers and provides basic conferencing components. Sometimes these systems are bundled with proprietary VTC system purchases. Functionality can include two-way or multipoint video, advanced audio, and screen sharing. However, advanced meeting features, as well as most training, event, and on-demand presentation capabilities, are not included. While the desktop add-on software works well for presenters and participants who have the licensed technology available on their computers, use of the software is typically limited to these individuals, and users can’t engage in on-the-fly meetings with people outside the organizations. Some other limitations exist, as well.
Web conferencing, of course, includes video and audio components and also extends to a variety of features that enable more enhanced interaction through the desktop environment. If the main goal of a meeting is to facilitate teamwork, partnership, and collaboration among users both inside and outside of the organization, Web conferencing provides a good solution because of its interactive meeting features. It also runs on a variety of platforms, including desktop, laptop, and mobile devices, so it offers ease of use from any location. A Web conferencing solution is generally less costly than VTC systems because it’s software-based and leverages existing technology investments in computer hardware, laptop computers, and mobile devices. And some Web conferencing solutions—Adobe Connect among them—even enable integration with VTC solutions, allowing users to considerably broaden the reach of their core technology investments.
Again, in the end, it’s important for organizations to consider what their goals are for enhancing collaboration with video solutions, and what kind of solution will achieve optimal results.
We’ve recently posted a white paper that looks at this topic further, including the value Adobe Connect brings to bear. An interesting part of the paper is a total cost of ownership and ROI analysis across these different options, which valuates some of the pros and cons noted in this post and others. Check out the white paper here. And, as always, we’re interested in your thoughts, so please share in comments.
Adobe Connect Product Marketing Manager