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Hybrid Videoconferencing: The Right Choice for Your Organization?

on May 06, 2016

Deciding between software-only and hybrid video for videoconferencing can be challenging. Here’s a breakdown of both options.

Across the country, companies look to technology to enhance their day to day business operations. Videoconferencing has proven to be a huge shift in the way organizations communicate and collaborate today. There are two types of videoconferencing to consider—software-only and hybrid video. The pros and cons of hybrid videoconferencing compared to software-only video can be complex and are based on the different facets of a business. No one solution fits all organizations, but there are common factors that can be taken into account to determine if hybrid videoconferencing is the right choice for you.

MCUs and Bridges

Hybrid videoconferencing comes into play with multipoint control units (MCUs), which link individual audiovisual systems together into one conference call. More and more businesses are turning to mobile devices for meetings, conferences, collaborations, and communication. Hybrid videoconferencing makes the most sense in this context, because of the multiple endpoints joining the same conference—cloud providers usually have browser-based access for third parties, and applications for iOS, Android and Windows mobile devices. Even if you use an in-house bridge, having a service available can bridge in calls your bridge can't handle. Starting with an outsourced bridge allows the organization to gain experience with video before making an investment in this expensive and complex piece of gear.

Promote Simplicity and Collaboration

Hybrid cloud platforms are gaining popularity in the business realm for a reason—we’ve grown used to operating under the personal cloud system, and it makes sense to take the next step and combine our clouds into a more streamlined system. Cloud-based video conferencing can often me easier to use than an on-site system, (with no need for an on-site bridge), and requires a lower up-front investment. You also won’t face much in the way of reduced interoperability between different video brands. Premise-based solutions may have a lower cost when you factor in the long system life, and provide customization and integration opportunities with other in-house solutions such as phone and collaboration and conferencing products. 

The Downfall of Software

Deploying videoconferencing that is purely software-based is challenging, since the software must be installed on every device joining the conference. The systems being used in the conference most likely differ from each other—especially if mobile devices are involved—but software-based videoconferencing automatically sets the call to the capabilities of the least powerful system. This results in a conference call that is functioning at the lowest quality of the group. If your organization is heavily reliant on a mobile workforce, it may be wise to consider hybrid videoconferencing over software-only videoconferencing.

Be Prepared for Change

Once a business decides that hybrid videoconferencing is the best step for them, there are certain transformations that will take place. There are plenty of managed service providers (MSPs) that can offer help through the transition, but it is important for a business to be aware of the significant changes that must take place in order to switch to hybrid videoconferencing. Coordination must occur between old and new platforms; the business’ entire facility will need to be trained on the new system; and preparation must be done for any potential hurdles in the implementation process. Don’t let the risks take over, though—the benefits of hybrid videoconferencing generally outweigh any hassles.


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