Video Conferencing fast became an essential tool for us all to stay in touch whilst working from home. You may have rolled out other new services and platforms too, enabling your employees to very quickly start remote working.
Returning to the office
Now that we’re all thinking about returning to the office, what are the options for your meeting rooms? How can you capitalise on the benefits brought about by our new ways of working, bringing them into the office, connecting them into your meeting rooms?
How do you make sure that you are able to continue supporting those that will continue to work from home and ensure they have complete seamless interaction with those returning to the office and using your meeting rooms?
Meeting Room video conferencing options as we see it
Today there are 4 obvious choices:
- Microsoft (Teams) – A proprietary platform, great for internal only collaboration, less good for wider communications. A Microsoft Teams Room (MTR) will provide you with the perfect way to join Teams meetings.
- Cisco Webex Teams – Cisco have a loyal following of users but carry a higher cost than many business can afford. Cisco have a range of systems for all room sizes, their newer products are proprietary and require Webex services to provide access to the outside world.
- Zoom – A proprietary platform that has been questioned regarding its security but nevertheless very popular. A ‘Zoom Room’ is typically a kit of recommended parts that you self-assemble and then pay an additional subscription for.
- Good old-fashioned H.323 / SIP Standards based systems – should be considered as another platform made up of a variety of players (including StarLeaf). These room systems are capable of calling all other H.323 / SIP based systems and platforms and can join those above where a connector is in place.
This means that you need to build a hardware-based room specific to each platform – really??
Microsoft allow you to add CVI’s to your tenancy to facilitate external rooms to join your Teams meetings. Cisco use Webex to facilitate interop. Zoom sell Room connectors to allow H.323 / SIP based rooms to join and of course H.323 / SIP are the original open standards that have become swamped by the new proprietary services. So ALL of the interconnect options carry a significant cost and don’t provide all of the answers.
What can we do? We need to be able to join any meeting we are invited to.
Now you can side-step those issues, you can stick with one or more of the above OR perhaps consider one of the alternatives below:
- Bring your own software app, for any platform, into the room on your laptop and connect the room to the laptop. Camera, microphone systems, speaker and large screen.
This works well for organisations where all potential users have laptops, although a limitation is that unlike an appliance, the laptop is the central controller and sharing from other users or devices also requires them to log-in to the platform individually, and drive the technology.
- Or maybe you could adopt Poly X series?
Here you can get the benefits of an appliance but with the independence of not being locked into a single platform.
Poly X series is a platform agnostic hardware device. Rather like your mobile phone, you can install various apps that you can use to make VC calls or join meetings that you have been invited to, potentially on any service platform. This is very meeting room friendly as you never know exactly what platform other organisations or meeting organisers may choose.
Yes, there are often small compromises to accept. Not all features are necessarily supported on the respective apps. Naturally, any platform specific hardware will generally provide the best possible user experience, but there are times when this will prevent you from joining a meeting.
The Poly X series is typically more cost effective and flexible than dedicated solutions. Consider the effect of kitting out all of your meeting rooms with dedicated solutions that can only join a limited number of virtual meetings – frustration all round!
Whatever your future looks like
Get in touch with us. Whatever the future looks like for your business, whatever your video platform of choice, AuDeo can help you with the technology you will need in your meeting rooms to enhance and encourage this new way of working.