Features of an efficient video conferencing system
Anthony Mathenge 11th August 2015

 

Video conferencing has become an extremely robust communication tool in the present day business world. Businesses are expanding and continuously opening markets and thus needing a tool to sustain high-level communication. Video conferencing comes in as an invaluable tool for business communications. Several offices can be linked into one meeting efficiently through video conferencing, thus saving time and money. To read more about how video conferencing can help supercharge your business, read our previous post: How video conferencing can help your business.

Video conferencing can make a great impact on your business and it is a very wise investment Click To Tweet, but after you have made that wise decision to purchase a video conferencing system, you can easily get mixed up by the myriad of options out there. Each option has features with their own advantages and disadvantages, but some features are outright must-haves for any business. These features are the vital elements that establish a stable and efficient video conferencing system:

Architecture Type of the Video Conferencing System

Any type of conference requires a certain procedure and way to transfer data between its participants. The medium used is called “a video conferencing server”. Such servers are known as MCU (Multipoint Control Unit) in traditional hardware video conferencing systems. The MCU’s responsibility is transcoding, switching and processing data streams during a video conference. A video conferencing server is the heart of the video conferencing framework that allocates resources for video conferencing endpoints. Today, all major vendors deliver their infrastructure as software, virtually.

  •          Mixing-based Video Conferencing Architecture (MCU)

During a video conference, the server collects streams from each member, decodes and reduces their resolution, generates a new picture of the required quality for each member, encodes the stream and sends it. These stages need immense computational power, delays server processing and might reduce video quality.

Such architecture has an extremely low scalability and the price is extremely high and unjustified.

  •    Multiplexing-based Video Conferencing Architecture (Switching)

This is a procedure used to design software video conferencing systems, such as the implemented by Skype.  The video conferencing server does not recompress but it creates copies of the incoming streams and sends them to other participants. Each endpoint receives several streams in full quality but is incapable of displaying them in original resolutions. The endpoint then has to reduce the resolution, reducing both video quality and bandwidth requirements for members.

This approach is advantageous in the fact that it is not resource-demanding, thus an ordinary pc can hold multiple conferences simultaneously. It also has its disadvantages, in that the endpoint has to decode multiple streams simultaneously and the video server needs more outgoing channel bandwidth to send all created copies of streams.

This type of system can barely hold more than 3 participants and impairs video quality for all members when one member’s endpoint is unable to process the original video quality it gets from other members of the conference.

  •   Scalable Video Coding (SVC) – based Video Conferencing Architecture

This type of infrastructure incorporates all advantages of mixing approach and has no shortcomings of multiplex-based systems. It is easily scalable, inexpensive and can run on any platform. This is made possible through the development of data compression & signal processing technologies.

The idea is that an endpoint compresses its video stream in layers, where each layer comes with an increased video resolution and quality.

Out of all the three infrastructures, we recommend SVC-based video conferencing, since it requires minimum expenses for implementation, scaling and maintenance.

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Gateway Service

Majority of businesses have multiple offices. This is a major problem since not every office has the most up to date hardware and software and can even have conflicting operating systems. This can create disruptions in video conferencing as computers are unable to communicate due to incompatibility. Gateway services solve this problem. A gateway service bridges the gaps of hardware and software, thus enabling businesses to have video conferences with multiple endpoints with varying networks, video & audio formats. The ability to have video conferences anywhere with any other business no matter the other business’ computers, networks or software makes gateway service an incredibly powerful feature that can save your business time and money.

For these reasons, gateway service is an outright must have feature for any video conferencing system and ensures that a business is always ahead of technology.

Video Conferencing Interaction

There are many more features in a video conferencing system. Features such as text chat, slide show, file transfer, desktop sharing and recording make video conferencing more interactive and more efficient.

Text chat enables members to interact with each other during a video conference. Chat is performed through instant messaging and users can share ideas and comments. This enables cooperation between members without interrupting the main speaker.

Slide show works with presentation software such as Microsoft PowerPoint, thus allowing members to display presentations, images, and diagrams across any video conferencing endpoint. This feature is very essential for any video conferencing system.

File transfer lets members upload files directly to a video conference without having to leave the meeting as long as not having to deal with emails, ftp or having to move. Files can easily be shared between members smoothly. Easy file sharing can save your business both time and money.

Desktop sharing allows users to display their desktop screen to all participants in the video conferencing session. This feature is very powerful and is great for showing work in progress from the members desktop. This feature can also take the place of the slide show feature.

Recording this feature allows participants to record any video conference. This feature is powerful and can be useful in many ways;

  • Interviews can be recorded to the company’s executives who can then look through them and judge the professional and personal qualities of a potential employee.
  • Students can record a video lecture to use later for further education.
  • In courts, recorded videos may be used as an additional proof of the judicial process.

Recording is a brilliant feature for companies seeking to seize a competitive edge and keep their employees and business ecosystem engaged.

These are just a few important features that you should look for in a video conferencing system. Many vendors offer lots of features which are beneficial to businesses.

We recommend investing in a trusted vendor; Vidyo. They have been around for a long time and some of the largest, most valuable companies in the world use Vidyo for HD video conferencing including innovative leaders in banking, education, government, healthcare, and high tech. They guarantee Reliable performance and global scalability, powered by supremely capable infrastructure components. Vidyo conferencing is easy to manage and easy to use, which means better interactions and smoother workflow across your organization. All this at just 10% of the operating cost of old-school solutions.

Find out how Vidyo and Systech Ltd can deliver HD video conferencing, without boundaries, to your organization, by clicking the ad below:

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