You may be wondering what the difference between video and web conferencing is.
The difference between web conferencing and video conferencing is that web conferencing allows you to share a computer’s content over a distance and video conferencing allows you to see the other people you are connecting to from wherever they are.
Now that you know what the difference is, you may say, great and go on your way. But there are many different web conferencing technologies and video conferencing technologies available in the market with different functionalities and price points. You should know what these entail.
Add to this that the lines start to blur between these two technologies as other new technology is created or added to existing products.
What is blurring the lines?
- Web conferencing products are adding video
- Video conferencing products let you share content
- Both web and video capabilities are being built into other software products
- New technological capabilities stir up the pot even more
The net result is – confusion!
So how do you sort out what is best for what you need?
You need to figure out where you are starting from and where you want to get to. Your starting point is determining: which of the conferencing technologies you have today; who in your organization can use them; and how easy they are to use.
Some questions that can help you figure out where your starting point is and where you want to end up include.
- Do you want to conference with people within your organization, outside your organization, or both? Define what types of conferencing options you would like to work with (audio, web, video).
- What conferencing technology, or technologies, will give you the biggest bang for the buck? Be careful not to only evaluate based on what you would like to do. You may realize all that is possible with these tools, so you may miss the greatest benefits the tools can provide without listening to the options each technology can bring.
- Why do you want to conference? To save money? To increase productivity? Or, to foster greater creativity and innovation in your organization? The right conferencing tools can provide all three benefits, but the greatest ROI is found in stimulating innovation.
- How much budget do you have to increase collaboration in your organization? This will play an important role in determining which conferencing capabilities to embark on first, how widely they will be made available in your organization and when they should be deployed.
- How rich do you want the collaboration experience to be for the participants? The richness can vary for each type of conferencing capability and the richness of the experiences plays a very important role in trying to realize the ROI, e.g. if the video experience is poor, people will still travel for face-to-face meetings.
- How important is security for your organization? The spectrum is pretty wide here. Skype has millions of users around the world because it is free, easy to use and it works pretty well for person to person communication. But it isn’t a secure corporate platform. On the other side of the spectrum we have locked down corporate networks, with all communication within the corporate WAN and no access in for the outside world. Security requirements will play a very important role in determining which tools you can use and how they are deployed.
- Do you have executive or ownership buy in to move forward with the conferencing technologies? Executive sponsorship is critical. The early adopters may latch onto the new technology but if the general population doesn’t see the executive buy in they won’t change their habits either.
- How will the technology in group work spaces interact with the personal technology workers use at their desks, from their homes or on the road? Where, when and how we work is evolving all the time. Make sure the conferencing tools that you choose are integrated to work both in a group space and individual work environments so the two can connect seamlessly.
- How will you manage the conferencing technologies once they are implemented?Having the answers to this question is a big part of the overall decision to move forward!