Video Conferencing Equipment
Selecting the right conferencing equipment is key to getting value from your video network. The following considerations should help narrow your selection.
This is usually the number one concern. Consider whether you will have more capital available now or in the future. Compare this with the ability to obtain operating funds for personnel, network usage, training and maintenance costs.
This is the balance between price and factors such as ease of use, longevity of equipment, reliability, cost of network calls, and cost of upgrades.
Video conferencing equipment is becoming as easy to use as a new television and the quality of the images can be nearly as sharp. - Mike Ardalan, Account Manager
Vendor selection is likely to have the most long lasting benefit or cost to your network. Most vendors, called "resellers" are available to offer services long after a product is discontinued. Choosing a good vendor can minimize future problems with systems, service, and upgrades.
EEffective vendors buffer your interaction with the manufacturer and ensure you get proper support for your equipment. During the purchasing process, a vendor that represents several manufacturers can give a better analysis of equipment to fit your needs than a manufacturer's rep that only promotes one product line.
Good project management, installation, vendor-to-manufacturer communication, and RMA procedures are essential to meeting timelines and budgets. Most buyers and many vendors fail to adequately include project management for installations and upgrades to video networks.
While there are many products to choose from as you consider deploying video communications tools for your organization, and many manufacturers too, TKO recommends these manufacturers: Cisco, Polycom, LifeSize, Sony, and VTel. Each of these manufacturers makes products that serve one or more market segments well.
Cisco is a well known name in networking and is now the dominant force in video "TelePresence." Cisco advanced its position as a high quality manufacturer of video conferencing equipment with the purchase of Tandberg/Codian in 2010. Today, Cisco is the leading manufacturer of Multipoint Control Units (MCU), ISDN and IP gateways, video conferencing systems, recorders, and streaming video solutions.
LifeSize manufactures a number of HD video conferencing systems that use advanced technology to deliver HD quality at low cost. LIfeSize products focus on user friendly interfaces beginning with easy to use remote controls. Color codes on LifeSize remote controls allow users to share PC screens and start presentations with the touch of a button. No other company focuses as specifically and effectively on the user experience. LifeSize is a leader in both HD quality and ease of use at an affordable price.
Sony has developed an array of quality equipment and optional accessories for the fast growing video conferencing market. The Sony PCS-G50, PCS-G70, and PCS-XG80 with their related accessories produce exceptional video quality at an affordable price. With a Sony video conferencing system and a Sony monitor and sound bar, a tightly integrated video conferencing system looks as good as you would expect from Sony - fantastic.
Polycom® manufactures and markets a full range of high-quality, easy-to-use and affordable voice and video communication endpoints along with video management software, web conferencing software, multi-network gateways, and multipoint conferencing solutions. Polycom's mobile strategies are pushing video out of offices and into the far reaches of employee work areas. Products Polycom has popularized include the high definition HDX endpoint products and RMX infrastructure products.
VTel, Inc. - An innovator in the video conference market, VTel produces teh IPanel line of video conferencing products. VTel's concept is to simplify video conferencing products into an all-in-one highly capable, network independent system. The IPanel products work as stand alone video endpoints, literally. They can run on 3G/4G cellular networks and they can connect to systems that run on ISDN or IP networks. With the IPanel, VTel has redefined the stand alone system.