Phone calls are great for touching base with colleagues and clients, but when you need to collaborate or share information with people in different locations, nothing beats a video conference (unless you’re meeting on a Caribbean island, and even then...).
There’s a good reason why the $2.41 billion global web conferencing market is predicted to grow at a compounded annual rate of 8.4 percent to $3.6 billion by 2020, according to Frost & Sullivan. That’s because cloud-based video conferencing is making it easier and cheaper than ever to engage with colleagues and customers.
The Right Technology at the Right Time
Today’s increasingly mobile workers—especially Millennials—expect to be able to connect with anybody they need to, wherever they are, at any time. To stay as productive as possible, they want to communicate not only via phone, but also with video, text, chat, and document and screen-sharing. Cloud-based videoconferencing lets them do all this—all they need is an internet connection.
Cloud-based videoconferencing delivers a level of reliability and quality, along with a consistent user experience, that was often not the case with older conference room hardware. Today's virtual meetings are powered by lightening-fast telecommunications that can be set up and launched on the fly from a home, office or neighborhood coffee shop. No matter where participants may be sitting, they can meet in a secure "room" to talk, share information and view graphics.
The conferencing services offered by cloud providers are a game-changer for both IT pros and everyday users. IT groups no longer need to invest in and maintain expensive video conferencing hardware, train employees how to use it and mollify users who are competing for the conference room. And everyday users can simply launch a conference with the push of a button—making frustration with work technologies a thing of the past.
Good cloud providers offer top-notch conferencing services, making sure that they support all devices, from desktops to the latest mobile phones. And all companies—from small offices to the largest enterprises—can subscribe to the conferencing services they need, paying predictable, affordable monthly fees.
The Benefits of the Cloud
Anyone joining a video conference can quickly see the benefits of a cloud-based service. There’s no need to schedule a special room with complex equipment and support staff.
Hardware and software compatibility issues—a big concern in the past—are now but a quaint memory. Scheduling a conference can be done on the fly—the best business-class videoconferencing services let users set up and join conferences using their company directory with no need to dial-in or use cumbersome codes.
Today’s cloud videoconferencing is as instant and easy to use as FaceTime, but delivers enterprise-class features such as high-def visuals, collaboration tools and content sharing. All a user needs to join a meeting is a computer or mobile device, since visual information can be shared over any browser. Virtually all cloud providers can record audio and video, enabling those who missed the event to review it.
Some telecom vendors are bundling cloud-based videoconferencing with their business packages. For example, Vonage is now including Amazon Chime conferencing with its Business Cloud package at no extra cost, adding the ability to easily launch online meetings and conferences with file sharing, chat rooms and other collaboration tools.
Beyond Slashing Travel Costs
Of course, video conferencing can cut travel costs— that’s why 56 percent of global CIOs said they would invest in video conferencing, according to collaboration software provider PGi, which found that businesses that use video conferencing reduce travel expenses by 30 percent.
But videoconferencing delivers benefits beyond cutting travel costs. HR groups can better vet prospective hires from afar, gaining insights from non-verbal cues and body language. Remote training is enhanced with graphics and video that can be reviewed later. Company employees can communicate with consultants, customers and colleagues more effectively. Marketing and sales teams can collaborate better and demo products remotely. Technical support teams can troubleshoot and debug faster by using video consultations.
By taking advantage of videoconferencing in the cloud, companies of all sizes can gain a strategic advantage, while slashing travel expenses and freeing IT staff from maintaining and supporting obsolete hardware-based conferencing systems. Plus, your employees will appreciate this service, even if they might prefer a trip to a Caribbean resort.
Interested in highly reliable, quality video conferencing for your business? Check out Vonage's conferencing solutions.