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1 Freemium v Desktop Video Conferencing: The Value of Being Built for Business Sponsored by

2 Work Is No Longer Just a Place When somebody says they are going to work, where exactly do they go? For some people, work is a building with an office or cubicle or other workspace. There is a desk with a computer, and there is infrastructure around the worker wires to connect to the corporate network and the Internet, phone systems, special rooms for meetings and presentations, places for employees to take a break or meet informally to share ideas. All these aspects of the workplace are necessary for doing business in a productive and efficient way. The idea of a workplace, however, is changing. New collaboration technologies, powerful mobile devices like smart phones and tablets, and ubiquitous broadband connectivity are making it possible for workers to do almost everything they do in their offices from any place at any time. These technologies enable workers to communicate, create, view and share business information, and even have virtual meetings in real time regardless of their location. These technologies provide huge support for business travelers, field workers, and people who work from their homes. But they do a great deal more than that. Increasingly workers are adopting collaboration tools and mobile technologies for the work they do in the offices as well, and this is fundamentally changing how people work. These technologies not only make workers more productive, they also make the transition between work done in the office and work done outside the office nearly seamless. For many people, work is becoming more about what they do than where they do it. One key technology enabling anywhere collaboration is video conferencing. At one time video conferencing was a costly solution requiring specially equipped conference rooms that only large enterprises could afford. New cloud-based conferencing that works with standard desktop hardware and mobile applications has completely changed that. How important is video conferencing as a business communications tool, and what is the best type of video conferencing solution? To answer those questions, we need to first look at the real value of video conferencing. 2

3 Our virtual organization depends on GoToMeeting with HDFaces video conferencing to maintain the company culture and promote teamwork. We get tremendous value from video conferencing when we re demoing a new product to our staff because the reactions positive or negative are right there on people s faces. Mike Huska Chief Technology Officer Incential The Value of Face-to-Face There is a reason why companies invest in business travel for meetings, conferences, sales presentations, training, and other kinds of face-toface engagement. Surveys show that people prefer meeting face to face because they are able to read facial expressions, develop greater trust in the substance of the communication, and reach decisions more quickly. 1 In recent years, as the struggling economy has forced companies to reevaluate their travel budgets and meeting strategies, high definition video conferencing has often been cited as a lower cost alternative to in-person meetings. Indeed, video conferencing has enabled some companies to reduce their overall travel and meeting costs by more than 35%. 2 However video conferencing is affecting business communications in a more fundamental way. New cloud based, software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions with high definition video and simple user interfaces make video conferencing nearly as easy (and inexpensive) as placing a phone call. This is changing the way people think about their business communications. With the same effort it takes to draft a thoughtful or schedule a phone conference call, it s now possible to engage in a high definition video conference with anyone in the world who has Internet access. The conference not only provides video and voice engagement, it enables conference participants to share presentations, webpages, and computer displays. It s no longer just about video conferencing as an alternative to in-person meetings. Video conferencing is adding an entirely new dimension to day-to-day business communications, a dimension that provides a deeper level of interaction, better collaboration, and accelerated decision making. Consider these examples: Operations Management and Customer Engagement: DPR Construction, one of the nation s top commercial construction contractors, employs 3000 people in 17 offices around the country. DPR uses video conferencing to share building plans and 3D renderings internally as well as in meetings with employees, architects, suppliers, subcontractors, and building owners from around the world. Video meetings typically involve discussions in which meeting participants make annotations on the building plans. Fast-loading plans and renderings are important, as is the smoothness of the video. DPR doesn t want any presentation glitches to undermine its professionalism, especially when project owners are in the meeting. Device independence is another must have conferencing feature for DPR. Many of DPR s meeting participants join meetings from job sites. They use a variety of non-windows platforms including their own laptops, smart phones, and tablets. Many meetings are called on short notice. Attendees can see each other as well as project diagrams as they resolve project issues. Video conferencing is so important to DPR s operations that every employee has an account and can set up video meetings at any time. 3

4 Conference Scenario Many meetings are called on short notice. Attendees can see each other as well as project diagrams as they resolve project issues. Video conferencing is so important to DPR s operations that every employee has an account and can set up video meetings at any time. Sales Support: TERIS, a company that specializes in providing information technology solutions for the legal industry, depends heavily on video conferencing not only for their technical support staff, but sales too. TRES has been using a conferencing solution for the past six years, and recently they have added tablet based conferencing for their employees. Sales teams are constantly on the go, working from various locations. They depend on a conferencing solution that is easy to use so they can quickly join a meeting from any location. Being able to conference from their tablets has made this even easier, and it has enabled them to be highly responsive to client needs. Similarly, Optio Solutions, LLC., an accounts receivable management company, finds high definition video conferencing especially valuable in sales situations. Video conferencing helps their sales people establish relationships with clients more quickly, and they find customers are more receptive when they can see the person they re talking to rather than just a presentation. These examples show that video conferencing provides the greatest value when it is easy to use, readily accessible to everyone in a business ecosystem, and it works well for impromptu meetings called on short notice. However there are a number of key operational and administrative features that make a video conferencing system truly business-grade. Let s take a look. 4

5 Essential Features of a High Value Video Conferencing Solution There are a growing number of video conferencing solutions available today, but not all of them are built for business. That begs the question: What are the essential features of a business-grade video conferencing system that is suitable for every day business use as well as critical meetings and presentations? Here are the essential features that a business grade video conferencing system should provide: Meeting Features Simplicity of design so that starting a meeting is as easy as the click of a button. Integrated VoIP, as well as integrated phone-based audio with international toll-free options for easy voice communication regardless of attendee location; Full desktop sharing, including shared screen and annotation tools, with the ability to see both the shared screen and the video feeds at the same time; Easy scheduling for one-time or recurring meetings. This includes integration with scheduling applications such as Microsoft Outlook; High definition video using standard desktop PC hardware that provides a smooth, clear video experience over normal Internet connections; Instant messaging text chat between participants during a conference; Mute and un-mute controls; High reliability so that meetings can happen any time without technical delays and interruptions. Administrative Features Security features (password protection, data encryption, individual level security controls); Administrator remote control; Attendance reporting; Meeting recording and archiving. Cloud Based Minimal software installation and no system maintenance or upgrades needed; Reliable and always available for anyone with Internet access. This means conferees do not need access to special equipment or subscriptions services to participate in meetings, which makes it much easier to schedule meetings on short notice. Mobility Support for mobile devices, such as smart phones and tablets, is becoming increasingly important. More workers are using mobile devices routinely both in an outside the workplace. IDC reports that three-fourths of the North American workforce are mobile workers at least part of the time. 3 These are the essential features of a built-for-business video conferencing, but with a growing number of video conferencing options available to business users, what is the best approach to choosing one that provides robust features while offering solid cost benefit? 5

6 Alternative Approaches to Collaboration through Video Conferencing Not many years ago, business grade video conferencing was an expensive proposition involving dedicated equipment, specially equipped conference rooms, and costly network connections. Although those high-cost, dedicated systems are still widely used, they are no longer the only, or the most cost effective, way to achieve business grade video conferencing. Video conferencing solutions for business users typically fall into one of three categories: Telepresence This is a category of high cost systems that rely on specially configured conference rooms and dedicated equipment. Desktop Video Conferencing These are lower cost cloud-based systems that work with desktop PCs and mobile devices, and they work anywhere there is Internet access. Freemium These are no-cost video conferencing solutions that are mostly used for social video conferencing. The table on this page shows how these solutions compare for the business user. But which offers the best approach to business grade video conferencing? Telepresence Desktop Video Conferencing Freemium General Capabilities Telepresence solutions use large screens and other audio-visual devices to create the perception among participants that they are actually in the room with other participants. Desktop solutions provide solid video conferencing capabilities at a competitive cost using standard desktop PCs and mobile devices. Freemium solutions provide base-level capabilities at no cost, with a subscription required for extra features. Advantages High quality sound and video Large screen images Highly secure Easy to use any user can start a meeting Available to anyone, anywhere there is Internet access Supports many meeting attendees Works with standard PCs and many types of mobile devices High definition video Robust business features such as scheduling, interactive features for meeting attendees such as full desktop sharing, and text chat, and administrative features such as meeting archiving and attendance reporting Strong security controls High reliability Minimal software installation Easily scalable across an organization Low to moderate cost Easy to use any user can start a meeting Available to anyone anywhere there is Internet access Minimal software installation Low cost Disadvantages Very expensive to implement and operate Requires dedicated facilities Difficult to manage; requires a conference administrator, and all meeting attendees must be present in appropriately equipped facilities Often available only to highlevel executives Some advanced features not yet available on mobile apps. Lack of robust business features Poor quality video Lack of security Lack of reliability Limited scalability 6

7 For many businesses, the cost of a telepresence solution rules that option out as a tool for day-today collaboration and routine operational meetings. The budget conscious may be tempted to use free services with sub-par business features, but this often results is an unsatisfactory experience for business users, not to mention security concerns. The simplicity and availability of desktop video conferencing makes this an ideal solution for a wide range of business scenarios, from routine collaboration and operations support, to sales engagement, to more formal presentations. In weighing the alternatives, give preference to reliability, affordability, robust business features, and security controls. Ease of use is especially important because this is what makes video conferencing a valuable tool for more effective day-to-day collaboration. What should you expect from a video conferencing solution? Increases in meeting productivity and shorter meetings. The freedom to meet and collaborate whenever the need arises, no matter where you are. The ease of being able to start a meeting with the click of a button. A cost-effective and face-to-face alternative to traveling to in-person meetings. Face-to-face communication that allows participants to see each other s faces, gestures, expressions, and reactions, providing a richer communication experience than is possible through phone conversations or . Accelerated business processes and workflows, from being able to get work done from anywhere. 7

8 It s a great conflict resolution tool The project team can get online with the architect or a subcontractor to get answers or resolve issues. Everyone can look at the same screen at the same time and use mark-up tools. Ron Stinson II, IT Capability Lead, DPR Construction Conclusion: Try it, You ll Like It! Video conferencing is a valuable collaboration tool that provides an opportunity to have more productive communications across a wide range of business scenarios, from operational management to sales engagement, creative brainstorming, and team building. Not all communications are suitable for video conferencing; particularly sensitive and personal information is usually best discussed in-person, but there are many cases in which video conferencing results in faster, more productive, and often more cost-effective outcomes. For instance: Quickly convening a video meeting with a dispersed group of participants that can make a decision in minutes, rather than days if the participants must gather for an in-person meeting. Conversations that include visuals and afford an opportunity to see people s reactions deliver more information than just a phone call or chain. Video conferencing can be a more secure way of sharing sensitive information. It becomes possible to share a desktop or screen without distributing a file or hard copy of the information. Video conferencing with integrated audio costs less than conventional conference calling. Integrating video conferencing with other business applications can increase the speed and accuracy of routine operations, such as healthcare consultations, field inspections, and tactical decision-making. Cloud-based desktop video conferencing is one business application that generates significant benefits with very little up-front investment of time or money. It is also an application that needs to be experienced to be fully appreciated. Several top solution providers offer free-trial periods that provide opportunities to fully test the products. As you evaluate video conferencing solutions for your own business, take full advantage of these freetrial offers. For more information about high definition video conferencing as well as other desktop and mobile collaboration tools, visit Citrix GoToMeeting. What Really Matters When It Comes to Video Conferencing? 8

9 About GoToMeeting Online Meetings Made Easy GoToMeeting is the extremely simple, extraordinarily powerful web conferencing service from Citrix. It integrates HD video conferencing, screen sharing and audio conferencing, allowing you to collaborate effectively online in a face-to-face environment. Hold unlimited meetings for one low flat fee and attend meetings from a Mac, PC and mobile devices. GoToMeeting will change the way you work and perhaps a whole lot more. Learn more at For over 17 years, Studio B has specialized in creating memorable content that teaches, motivates, inspires, and captivates audiences. We believe people make better technology decisions when they understand the operational advantages and human benefits of technical solutions. Our clients are leading technology companies that include IBM, Microsoft, Apple, Oracle, SAP, and many others. To learn more about content that changes minds, go to our website at Notes 1. Forbes. The Case for Face to Face. Forbes Insights, Kozubek, Michael. Videoconferencing Gains Speed as a Green, Money-Saving Tool. InsideCounsel, April, IDC. Mobile Worker Population to Reach 1.3 Billion by 2015, According to IDC. News release, January 5, Citrix Online, LLC All rights reserved.

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