Once thought of as "nice-to-have" wish list tech, making high-level videoconferencing solutions widely available to all workers is now required in nearly all office settings. The growth of remote work and virtual meetings means IT and unified communications leaders need to stay current on the audio and video solutions that continue to evolve.
Considerations such as cost, size of the participant pool, and the flexibility of videoconferencing options are just some of the factors to take into account when choosing the best solution for an enterprise company or large organization.
Here are some useful tips for finding the right mix of audio and video solutions for videoconferencing to support success in the workplace.
There are two important pieces to getting high-quality video: the camera equipment and the platform broadcasting the video feed. Start with establishing basic requirements on cameras used for videoconferencing, and allocate the budget to make high-quality webcams — with resolution of 1080p or 2160p (4K) and a minimum of 30 frames per second — widely available, if not the default, on all equipment.
On the platform side, deciding how important high-quality video is for meeting success will help narrow the options. Some services have a maximum resolution of 720p, which will be less pleasing than the 1080p maximum that is becoming more standard, especially for videoconferencing solutions targeting enterprise-level clients.
Videoconferencing is rarely a standalone need these days, which means high-quality audio and video solutions need to have base-level collaboration tools like chat and file sharing functionality.
Going deeper into the feature mix can become overwhelming with a vast range of options and capabilities available from the dozen or so players in the videoconferencing solutions field. You can find yourself comparing features such as the number of high-quality videos running in parallel, availability of a gallery view or support for captioning and transcription. Before creating a spreadsheet comparing capabilities, take a survey and look at your organization's usage data available to learn what options are most necessary and popular in your industry.
Think of it like making a weekly shopping list before going to the grocery store — you'll only buy the food you need rather than getting lured in by tempting but unnecessary options.
The flexibility and feature sets of your videoconferencing solution need to be balanced with the encryption guardrails — both on the client side as well as those embedded by the provider — to keep important business meetings secure.
Service providers with enterprise-level licenses should have flexible security settings that allow users to require passwords for all meetings with the organizer or chairperson joining first, admitting participants and locking the meeting when needed. Other helpful options include automatic alerts for invites that are forwarded, the ability to block meetings from being recorded and limiting file sharing in public chat areas so sensitive files don't become widely available.
On the provider side, perform due diligence to make sure data storage capabilities are secure and separate from all other networks with data transmission protected by encryption keys of either 56 or 128 bits, which should be the base level for non-military organizations.
Referencing data when selecting feature sets can also point to how comfortable users are with the audio and video solutions that have become everyday productivity tools in the post-pandemic world. Part of the reason Zoom became such a prominent participant in the world of videoconferencing solutions so quickly is because of how easy "one-click" signing on was for novices.
Platforms should be as intuitive and inviting to use as possible with popular features readily available without cluttering the overall experience. Use free trials when available to test out new tools on a limited basis, and invite feedback from users in different areas or departments of the company to judge how well it performed.
Another tip to increase usage and ROI: Once you've made a videoconferencing solution available, offer educational resources that are either live or recorded and self-guided, or look to the manufacturers directly to provide recorded tutorials and trainings so users can make full use of what's available to them and feel comfortable when they're on the screen.