Hands up if you’ve ever used a free chat or video service? We don’t want to name names, but surely you know the ones we’re talking about? It’s likely you or someone you know might have used them in the (not-so-distant) past to say "hi" to friends or family while overseas. Yep, as I suspected, I see a lot of raised hands!
Sure, these services are free, and they get the job done...
...when that job is chatting and bantering with loved ones while you’re squished into a hostel in Switzerland with poor Wi-Fi and a few weird backpackers, right?
The takeaway here? Your video conferencing solution is relative to the context and your individualised needs, and it’s one component of your overall business communications, as well as your professionalism.
In layman’s terms: these free services are not the most appropriate platforms for important business discussions, meetings, product pitches and conferences.
Just as you make a distinction between what you wear at the beach versus what you wear in the office, you communications methods need to be distinguished, too.
Video conferencing has come a LONG way
The tricky part here is convincing organisations that video conferencing is not what it used to be. In fact, it’s so far from it!
We’ve all been there. Cast your mind back to the mid-90s:
Clunky set up, crummy quality, delayed visuals, frequent dropouts and muffled sound are just some of the pain points that have caused us to scream in frustration and end up changing the video conference to a conference call.
We’d end up sitting around a table with our eyes fixed on a faceless phone (and don't forget about those who aren't even listening!), jumping in and out of stuttered conversation because we can’t quite figure out who’s going to speak next. It might’ve played out a little like this:
Person 1:“I just–”
Person 2: “So then–”
Person 1: “Sorry, you go.”
Person 2: “No, sorry, go ahead!”
Person 1: “OK, so–”
Person 2: “Alright then–”
Ack! It’s frustrating just thinking about it.
The difference between professional and free video conferencing software
“You get what you pay for.”
That eternal phrase stands the test of time — only because it’s true! Ooh, but [insert free video service here] is free! I’m not paying a cent!, you argue. So does that mean you’re not concerned with poor sound or lagging video just because you haven't invested any money into a system?
So what’s the benefit of investing in quality video conferencing over cheap (or free) imitations? Read on...
Sick of wasting time wondering why on earth you can’t hear your guest’s voice? Is the video displaying upside down, is it freezing, or is their voice out of sync with their mouth?
High quality video conferencing used to be the stuff dreams were made of. Years ago, we waited with baited breath for the day we could call a colleague in a different state and hold something so simple yet so unattainable as a seamless video conversation. Now, it’s a matter of pushing one button, and getting started immediately.
Amplify your impact with simultaneous document sharing
Can you free service do that? A professional presentation often goes hand-in-hand with rich resources like documents, data, slideshows and more. Amplify your presentations with simultaneous data-sharing during a live video conference with Lifesize’s advanced technology.
Add multiple participants (irrespective of their endpoint)
Some of the free guys offer “group video calling” for up to ten individuals, but read the fine print, and you’ll pretty much be told how many you should have before you should expect a drop in quality. These capabilities are capped at around ten users (if you’re lucky!) but professional video conferencing allows up to 25 connections per meeting!
Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for many of these free services to offer poor quality support and troubleshooting. Perhaps they don’t have the resources, and equate a free service to not being obliged to provide adequate support? Trust in infallible support from professional solutions - every time. It really is as simple as that.
(Having said that, you’ll probably never even need support. That’s how confident we are in the system.)
Sometimes, at least, you’ll want to conduct (or need to be part of) a video conference on-the-go. Let’s be honest - we’re attached at the hip to our phones. If you use it as an alarm, it’s the first thing you hear in the morning (and probably the first thing you look at, too), you’re checking emails and Facebook all day long, and you’re using it right before you tuck in for the night. Heck, you might even be using it for something as wild as a text message or call!
More than just video conferencing
Above all, professional video conferencing offers a complete communications solution; it’s more than just video conferencing! The ways in which a professional conferencing solution can be applied to businesses drastically trumps over free services.
Lifesize video conferencing has the beautiful capability of working seamlessly between devices, so wherever you are, whoever you need to talk to, and whatever device you are using, you can stay in touch.
Does my business need video conferencing?
The question shouldn’t be “Does my business need video conferencing?”
You SHOULD ask, “How can I give my clients, customers, and employees the best connected experience?”
Perhaps you and your team travel often? Are employees frequenting different cities, states, or even countries to meet clients, strike deals with partners, or attend events?
Maybe you can benefit from a full business video conferencing solution from Schepisi. Companies of all sizes, as well as government bodies, healthcare and education systems can unleash the power of a video conference as part of their overall business communications strategy.
Usually, when you try to bypass a paid system and opt for the free version, you’re going to end up with wasted time, frustration, and even a tiny little bit of regret. Sometimes, you’ll even end up just where you began, after you’ve quit the free service. We'd hate to say "We told you so!"
Feeling a tad apprehensive? Dip your toes in with a 14-day free Lifesize Cloud trial. No hardware, no complicated set-up, just you and your guests. Sound good? Great!
Of course, every business model as well as their needs vary. The Lifesize video conferencing experts at Schepisi can help you decide which solution — in the cloud or on-premise — is the most fitting.