Video conferencing systems have come a long way over the years, and there’s definitely one out there that’ll work for you. However, there are also lots of different options to choose from, so finding the right one can get confusing. Here’s a quick look at the different types many corporations and government offices are using.
There are four basic kinds of video conferencing systems. Telepresence conferencing systems allow you to have a meeting with people located abroad, and comes in room based (immersion) and portable types. This system involves flat panel screens and high definition audio, allowing you to really feel like you’re there. Prices range anywhere from sixty thousand dollars to three hundred thousand, depending on the size of the system you get and what you need from it.
Integrated room conferencing systems are somewhat less expensive, at ten to one hundred thousand dollars, and are common in schools and offices. Hardware is located in a centralized location, and the setup includes a main camera and displays, as well as peripheral video sources. This kind of system is less immersive than the above, but also more affordable.
A set top system is designed to sit on top of your monitor. It’s small and simple to transport, so you don’t need a dedicated meeting room. Priced at three thousand to twenty thousand dollars, these are more affordable, though they offer a much less realistic experience.
Desktop video conferencing systems are even less expensive. They’re often used in very small businesses, by people who want to video conference for non professional reasons, or by workers at home. Priced at around two hundred fifty to four hundred dollars, these conferencing systems don’t provide the features of the more expensive ones, but they still handle sharing of audio, voice, and applications.
Some people don’t want to pay at all for their video conferencing, and use webcams and microphones to chat with one another. Software is required, as well as a high speed Internet connection. These are the least reliable and lowest quality, and should not be used for important business purposes, however.
When purchasing any of the more professional types of video conferencing systems, you should expect them to be installed and set up by a technician working for the vendor. After installation, most systems are simple to operate, with user friendly systems.
Almost everyone who needs to talk to someone at a distance can benefit from the purchase of a good video conferencing system. There’s no need to maintain a huge travel budget, and meetings can be called with people in distant places on much shorter notice. You’ll just need to decide which type is best for you. Think about your resources and what you need out of the system. That’ll help you make the right choice.
Derek Harper operates the leading audio conferencing service and web conferencing and online meeting service starting audio conference rates at at .9c per minute