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Now more than ever with COVID-19 establishing remote collaboration as the new norm, video conferencing is enabling organizations to maintain critical, real-time contact with employees and supply chain partners who no longer have easy access to traditional work spaces. But in choosing a solution, businesses face a dilemma: to download dedicated video conferencing software to every user’s machine, or to use a web-based video conferencing platform?
In this article, we’ll be looking at both options, and offering suggestions as to which is the better alternative.
Integrated packages with conferencing, screen sharing, and messaging for teams of all sizes have made video communications a standard part of the business conversation process. Most video conferencing software solutions also work with the latest business phone services, and can be used in a variety of applications, ranging from remote working to call centers.
Advances in technology are enabling software vendors to offer reliable video conferencing suites with tools and features specific to their own brands. But this can be both a blessing and a curse. Often, proprietary software solutions also require their users to invest in specialist equipment that’s compatible with the brand’s system. This can be both difficult to find, and expensive to acquire.
With many systems, everyone involved in the video conference has to adhere to certain hardware requirements, which can easily exclude participants who have the “wrong” kind of equipment or operating system on their local machines.
For these video conferencing software platforms to work, each and every participant will typically have to download the latest version of the application to their site. Many corporations don’t allow users to download software, and in cases where it is allowed, some users find downloading and installing new applications an annoying and time-consuming task.
Frustration can mount if conference participants are being called upon to download video conferencing software packages or add-ons at short notice. In the worst case scenario, important delegates may be excluded from the visual elements of the meeting due to an ability to install the right software.
Virtual meetings aren’t exempt from best practices and do’s and donts. Following our video conference etiquette tips will help ensure that yours run smoothly.
External downloads of video conferencing and other software also potentially expose the user to the dangers of corrupted files and malware. And even if the download is successful, there’s always the chance that the new software may have an adverse reaction with a user’s existing hardware and software environment.
Proprietary software also needs to be regularly updated, to enable users to take advantage of the latest features, security patches, and tools. Local copies of the software often have to be updated manually — and if users put off an update, they may have to uninstall then reinstall certain third party plug-ins in order to join a live session.
The issue of firewalls also has to be taken into account. Some firewall configurations may flag legitimate video conferencing software as dangerous, and block the application from working.
Collaborative video conferencing solutions which are 100% web-based typically don’t require users to download or install anything. The platforms have their infrastructure in the cloud, and access becomes available to users via a simple web link. So all that your participants need to join a conference is an awareness of that link, and a system or mobile device with a connection to the internet.
With a web-based platform, issues of whether a particular user’s operating system, device, software version, or available disk space are compatible with the software simply don’t come into it. Participants can join the online meeting from any type of device, as long as it meets the minimum requirements for web conferencing.
The video conferencing platform provider also takes responsibility for maintaining the underlying infrastructure, as well as automatically updating the system as new tools and features become available. There’s no need for individual users to worry about software maintenance or upgrades.
Web-based video conferencing platforms also benefit from the power of cloud infrastructure, with its enhanced computing capabilities and access to an online ecosystem of data and resources. This allows providers to offer video conferencing solutions with a rich array of features, and the ability to adapt to any system or device.
Finally, there’s the issue of security. With no software to download, your users eliminate the risk of importing malware to their systems. Reliable video conferencing platform providers will also put strong security measures in place to restrict access to a meeting (passcodes, encryption, etc.). And with a web-based solution, there’s little chance of excluding participants because their firewalls are blocking the software.
With one-click access, no software to download, and less risk of importing corrupted files, web-based video conferencing platforms have the edge.
Enterprises require a feature-filled, reliable and scalable solution that can respond to the ways that people communicate today. In response to the coronavirus pandemic, net2phone recently announced the accelerated release of Huddle, a secure, feature-rich, high-definition video conferencing solution that is fully integrated with net2phone’s cloud communications service. net2phone is offering Huddle to its clients worldwide for free, during the COVID-19 crisis.
Huddle enables conference presenters to seamlessly share screens and YouTube videos. Audio and video selection control, chat messaging, and the raise-hand option for recognition by the session moderator are available to all participants. Huddle also provides real-time quality control and status updates to session moderators. Full passcode protection and encryption provide security for all Huddle conferences.
For organizations with remote or geographically dispersed employees, partners, and customers, Huddle is accessible from any desktop or mobile device. Existing net2phone subscribers simply have to log in through the Huddle website with their net2phone credentials. Invited guests without net2phone or Huddle accounts can also participate in Huddle video conferences.
Crucially, you don’t need to download anything to use net2phone Huddle from your desktop computer. And for mobile users, the Huddle by net2phone apps for iOS and Android are available free from the App Store and Google Play.