Investment and cost of ownership
Video conferencing in the past was a luxury only affordable to Enterprises and required specialized video conferencing infrastructure. Today, meeting room video conferencing is mainstream and easily affordable for any size business, due to the advent of cloud and online meeting solutions like Skype for Business, BlueJeans, Zoom, Google Hangouts, GoToMeeting, and Webex. Also, the wide variety of moderate cost of USB AV devices like cameras and speaker sets has lowered the total cost of ownership of meeting room video conferencing systems.
Very few online meeting solutions also offer room options, and the choice in platform is between Google Hangouts, Skype for Business, LifeSize Cloud or Zoom. Of these contenders, Skype for Business remains the most affordable backend system for your meeting room at only $2 per user per month. This affordable package unlocks the premium features on top of the individual Skype like group video calling, content sharing and collaboration and HD audio and video.
Skype for Business also comes as part of Office 365 which is widely adopted by startups due to its affordable per user pricing.
Beyond the attractive price point, in an earlier post, we wrote about other reasons to choose Skype for Business for your meeting rooms.
Compatibility with other enterprise communication (UC) systems
Now that you’ve settled on your meeting room backend system, the next step is to consider native compatibility with your other enterprise communication systems and applications like your email, calendar, phone, mobile, PC clients, etc. With Microsoft Outlook’s status as the defacto email and calendar application, a meeting room system with native compatibility with Outlook (and Microsoft Exchange) becomes imperative. This facilitates the process of scheduling online meetings, checking meeting invitees schedules and presence, and so on. Again, Skype for Business is the clear winner.
Content sharing and collaboration
According to a Mersive survey, 98% of respondents find content sharing and collaboration a valuable asset in meeting rooms. When selecting a meeting room system, flexibility and choice in content sharing and collaboration should be on the top of your list. There are multiple ways to share content, and user preference is a key deciding factor, for example, some users may prefer to mirror their laptop screen, while others may opt to copy documents and files on USB storage devices. Wireless content sharing from mobiles and tablets today, has become a trending and hot topic with more and more companies adopting BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policies every day to increase employee mobility and productivity.
Recap: Choose a meeting room system that offers flexibility in content sharing and collaboration ways to your users
Complete system vs Bring your own devices
If you have already invested in meeting room peripherals and AV gear like cameras, displays, and speaker sets, it would be a wise decision to choose a meeting room system that is flexible enough to play nice with your existing equipment. Most Lync/Skype Room Systems on the market come in bulky and predefined hardware that may not suite your budget or fit in your room, and hence the need for a Skype Room System that supports USB generic AV cameras and devices. Choosing a DIY Skype Room System will not only save you thousands of dollars in upfront room cost, but will also allow you to upgrade your AV gear as needed.
Room size and hardware considerations
Different room sizes means different requirements in features, functionality, and setup. For example, large rooms would typically require dual screens, PTZ cameras that can cover the entire room and specialized audio gear, while for a huddle room, a single mid-size display and a front-of-room camera can suffice. Moreover, the overall required space of the Lync/Skype Room System is a key deciding factor, most Skype Room Systems come with bulky equipment that needs a minimum room size.
When choosing a Skype Room System, understanding the underlying hardware is important, choose a Lync or Skype Room System with hardware you know and can trust Unlike most other Skype Room Systems on the market today, Room 4 is proudly powered by Intel hardware, a brand you know and can trust.
Setup, deployment, rollout and user adoption
Ease of setup and deployment contributes to same-day rollout and adoption. If you make the right decision, and choose a plug-and-play Skype for Business Room System, you don’t need specialized AV integrators to set your room up.
DIY Skype Room Systems like Room 4 come with yet another significant benefit, you don’t need to drill holes in your walls, extend power, network, or AV cables. Its small 4″ x 4″ form factor and mounting bracket allow you to conveniently hide it behind your meeting room TV, or under the conference room table. Room 4 can be easily setup and configured in under 4 minutes.
Finally, with a Skype Room System like Room 4 that uses a familiar Lync or Skype for Business user interface, experience, and terminology, make rollout and user adoption a breeze. No training sessions or manuals required.