The cloud computing trend shows no sign of slowing down, and every sign of becoming the number one go-to tool for businesses. Everything is going into the cloud — employee records, customer information, training videos, educational podcasts, etc. And that includes business tools such as budget spreadsheets, legal documents, and all types of interoffice and business-to-business communications, including video conferencing.
Video conferencing is a vital tool for a variety of industries. Schools that incorporate distance learning/training use video conferencing to teach individuals as well as entire classrooms full of students. The healthcare industry has been known to use it to administer remote advice and demonstrate techniques during medical emergencies. Financial companies present quarterly reviews to employees over video conference. State, local, and federal governments use it to accelerate judicial proceedings such as warrant approvals and recording testimonies from witnesses. And big media companies simultaneously interview and audition new employees over videoconference to see how they interact with the same tools they’ll use on the job.
But what happens when those conversations, presentations, and demonstrations take place in the cloud? There are many pros and cons for using cloud-based videoconferencing:
It’s Easy. Adding cloud videoconferencing to a business’s communications arsenal is as easy as downloading an app or installing a plug-in. There’s no new equipment to haul into the office. There’s no extra time and training that has to be conducted by the staff itself.
It Saves Money. The organization can continue using the cameras, monitors, and speakerphones they already have instead of investing in new equipment.
It’s Mobile. The tech can be used at home and on the road in addition to at the office.
The Tech Needed to Access the Cloud isn’t Always Reliable. Browser plug-ins on laptops and applications on other mobile devices used in videoconferencing are also used for web searches, streaming television shows, playing music, and Angry Birds and Candy Crush. In other words, the equipment is not solely dedicated to videoconferencing. So, when an errant virus from an innocent-looking email takes down the whole system, the cloud-tech is affected as well. Sometimes it is smarter, and even more convenient, to have separate, dedicated videoconferencing equipment.
Quality Depends on the ISP. Not all Internet Service Providers are created equal. And within them, not all of their individual services are created equal. Premium web access is required for videoconferencing to have the quality sound and quality picture for an ideal conference.
Virtual Platforms Rely on On-Premise Tech. The Terminal (also known as the Endpoint) is the device used on your LAN (Local Area Network) that enables two-way communication over the Internet. Currently the companies that make the device support voice communication, but video and data are optional depending on the LAN you purchase. There could be extra costs involved if the network needs to be upgraded. Even then, each device has to go through the physical router to connect to the internet. If there’s a power outage, or if that router breaks, then video conferencing isn’t an option.
Sometimes video conferencing on the cloud is convenient and sometimes it is a necessity. Like when storms keep entire cities like Boston and New York snowed-in at home. Like when policy debates that deteriorate into arguments over phones and email can be de-escalated by face-to-face contact, even if it’s through a screen. Like when a parent needs to stay at home with a sick child but still wants to participate in the annual company review. There are pros and cons to consider, but the momentum continues forward. Video conferencing is a business trend that will soon become an indispensable staple.