Advantages of Video Conferencing for SMEs with Regional offices – Software vs. Hardware

Video conferencing makes it easy for small and medium-sized enterprises to communicate with their regional offices. They don’t have to set up appointments weeks in advance and they offer crystal clear reception.

There are multiple ways to communicate, however. Software and hardware versions are available to businesses. Let’s take a look at whether you should invest in software or hardware.

What is Software?

A software video conferencing platform would be something like Skype. You download and install a piece of software to your computer. It has its own interface and you might have to pay a subscription to access it.

What is Hardware?

Hardware, on the other hand, involves remote controls, cameras, specialised microphones, and multipoint interfaces. They’re only available by getting a provider of these solutions to visit your facilities to install them. They still accomplish the same goal as software-based video conferencing, though.

Security Considerations

You’re transmitting sensitive information between your office and your regional office. You need to know the conferencing solution you’re using is completely secure. With software, you can never guarantee this.

The problem with software is its level of security is entirely reliant on the provider. Do you really want to put all your faith in a company you barely know?

Hardware solutions shift the security emphasis onto your systems. If your Internet connection and computers are secure, you have nothing to worry about. The problem with software-based solutions is they’re easily hacked through other outlet points.

For example, a hacker could get into the company’s systems and uncover your security information. You have no control over this.

Quality of Transmission

Software and hardware solutions target different needs and have alternate goals. Software solutions are designed to be a quick and simple option to video conferencing. You can download software and have it up and running in a matter of hours. Quality isn’t the main consideration. Convenience is the main consideration.

This is why hardware-based solutions offer a far superior option for companies wanting a crystal clear transmission.

Software has to rely on the computer running it. If you don’t have a monster machine, which most people don’t, you won’t get anything better than an SD reception. Software providers gear their products towards this audience; therefore they’re essentially useless for professional businesses.

Hardware uses superior equipment and technology. It’s the difference between an SD reception and an HD reception. The same principle applies to the sound. You don’t have to get up close to a microphone just for people to hear you.

Cost Considerations

In terms of cost, you’re always going to pay less for a software-based solution. Order a hardware video conferencing system and you’re paying for the parts, the installation, and any potential maintenance plans afterwards.

Software providers will usually charge a one-time fee for the software or a recurring fee to continue using their software.

You may wonder why anyone would ever shun software options. The truth is as a business you have to focus on quality over cost. The amount might be high for installing the system, but the amount of value you’ll get in return far outweighs any initial investments.

Targeted Functions

Hardware is designed exclusively to perform video conferencing functions. It doesn’t have any other use. This is what makes using a hardware-based solution as easy and convenient as making a phone call.

Software solutions use existing computers and laptops to function. Each time you want to use your software, you’ll have to set up the webcam, the microphone, and the software. Wasting time on getting everything up and ready like this only takes away from your productivity.

The Natural Option

It’s important to make a conference room seem as natural as possible. Even though you aren’t there in person, it’s still ideal to have a natural tilted view to make it seem like you’re there talking to someone face-to-face.

Software can’t accomplish this. The greatest extent of software is you sitting in front of a screen talking to someone. It’s unnatural and it doesn’t allow a conference room and multiple people to be in the same shot.

Hardware changes this because the cameras are set up for the room in question. They’re bespoke solutions designed to bring as many people as needed into the shot. You have far more flexibility over a hardware solution than you would a software solution.

Which Option Should You Choose?

Software video conferencing solutions will be the cheapest each and every time. There’s no question about this. The downside is practically everything else. You don’t get a high-quality reception and it’s awkward to setup at a moment’s notice.

The more professional communication option is the hardware-based video conferencing solution. In the long-term, you’ll be glad you made the investment. Your clients will be impressed and you’ll find the company’s lines of communication streamlined.

In conclusion, for the best option look into installing hardware.