The Future Of Video Conferencing for Small Businesses

For more than a decade, we have been told that video conferencing is the future, and that it will save companies a huge amount of money, enable remote working, and bring together international teams, making collaboration easier than ever before. Video conferencing technology is nothing new, but it has struggled to gain traction. Video Conferencing for Small Businesses During the 1990s, video conferencing was unpopular because it was expensive, high bandwidth, and too low quality to be a decent substitute for face-to-face meetings. The technology has come a long way since then.

Increasing Adoption

Frost & Sullivan conducted a survey of C-level executives in 2012, and found that 50 percent of the executives surveyed use video conferencing within their organization, and eighty five percent of the executives surveyed are aware of the potential benefits of the technology. Demand for video conferencing is growing, and now that high-speed internet is widely available, more and more organizations are trying the technology out.

Adoption of video conferencing technology is being driven by necessity. New air travel taxes, increasing fuel prices, and shrinking corporate budgets are encouraging business owners to re-evaluate their travel policies and put an end to unnecessary business trips. Video conferencing and remote collaboration tools make it possible for teams in different offices to work together without the need for frequent site visits.

The Future Is Easy, and HD

Video conferencing is a great option for remote workers and distributed teams, but until recently, it was difficult to set up. Today, falling hardware prices and rising broadband speeds mean that video conferencing is accessible to everyone, from the smallest home business to the biggest corporations. Let’s take a look at some of the improvements on the horizon for 2014 and beyond:

  • Low cost HD video cameras.
  • Lower latency, better compression, and more robust calling technology.
  • Mobile video conferencing using smartphones or tablet devices.
  • Cloud-based video conferencing services which are secure and require no complex router or device configuration.
  • More sophisticated software-driven solutions which put users in “virtual meeting rooms” to improve the feeling of collaboration.
  • Shared workspaces with unified communications, file sharing, and other tools built-in.

A Visually Oriented Work Force

The generation of graduates which is coming into the work force today is already used to watching video, talking in chat rooms, and using cloud based collaboration tools. Video conferencing will be second nature to those workers. Rather than making them go from a personal life where they use voice communications and Google Drive to organize their game activities, and then force them to use low tech solutions in the workplace, it makes sense to offer robust, business ready tools to improve their productivity.

One challenge that streaming hardware and software providers face is the rise of free Internet-based streaming solutions. These solutions are great for home users, but they are prone to dropping out, and the video often lags, stutters, drops frames or has artifacts. Business-quality streaming applications are far more robust and use better compression algorithms, but end users are so used to seeing laggy, low quality streams that they must be constantly reminded that a better option exists.

Having provided communications solutions to businesses for a number of years, Maintel has a unique insight into how communication is important to a small business business.

Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/theimagegroup/

About Amy Elliott

A media graduate with a love of writing, business and technology, Amy Elliott took the natural step to blog about these subjects. Amy has worked with numerous small businesses gaining a tremendous amount of knowledge in the space. Find Amy on Google+