If you have been shopping around and considering different video conferencing tools for your business, you might have found yourself overwhelmed by the amount available and the number of comparison websites which all seemingly say different things. While there is a lot of choice available and many factors to put into your decision, it needn’t have to take too much time out of your work schedule or be too difficult to find the exact right one. Follow this quick step-by-step guide and you will find the best conferencing platform for your business in no time at all:
- Who Will be Using the Software?
This is an important early consideration as the software you choose will be dependent on who will be using it and how many users you wish to interact with at any one time. Free or cheap options can typically only hold one-on-one conversations, and too many users at the same time will result in low quality calls. More versatile systems, depending on the package you choose, can handle dozens and sometimes even hundreds of people all at once with no drop in call quality, ideal for conferences or large group meetings.
Some systems are also easier to use than others, even for the computer illiterate. There are also some which are compatible with other devices, hardware, and software, and others that are only compatible with the same system. Therefore, it is also worth considering the computer literacy of your expected users and what set-up they will be accessing the system from. Thankfully, most devices come equipped with an internet connection, camera, speakers, and microphone already, the basic tools for video conferencing, so you won’t need too much upgrading. However, it is still unlikely you will want everyone in your office to upgrade their devices and hardware solely for video conferencing.
- What do You Need From it?
The next important decision is what exactly you need from your system. Cheapsheet says that the number one mistake people make when buying new computers or equipment is failing to buy for their needs, going instead for something which is new, flashy, or more powerful and then being unable to use it properly for their purposes, or blowing their budget. Will you only be using it for occasional calls? Do you hope to host online seminars? Will you need cloud storage for saving and sharing your meetings? Make a list of all of the features you will need from the software. If you’re unsure of what these features are, check comparison sites such as this one from PC Mag to make up your list.
- What Can You Afford?
After listing your preferred features, it is time to compare them with your budget. The simplest way to do this is to look through the comparison websites, or the personal websites of each video conference tool like BlueJeans, and see which program or package meets all of your requirements. Then, see which application on your short list meets all of your needs for the best price. If you still can’t find software within your budget, ask yourself if there are any features on your preferred list which are actually luxuries you can do without, or if you can stretch your budget a little more.
- Does it Work for You?
The final and most important step in choosing your software is to try it out and see for yourself if it meets all of your expectations and clicks with you and the people in your office. Most services will offer a free trial of either 14 or 30 days which you can use to your advantage to try out each piece of software separately and see how easy and convenient it is to use. You might find that the cheapest option on your list still has some flaws and go for the next most expensive option for maximum efficiency instead. With so many options on the market, there are bound to be a few which fail to function properly or simply don’t meet your specific needs. Either way, this is still an advantage as it also gives you a chance to become used to video conferencing, if you’re not already, and get to know your chosen piece of software so you are ready to use it without any problems by the time you start paying for it.
Writing up a plan for your chosen features, comparing it to your budget, and making use of free trials can make the arduous task of choosing a new conferencing system much quicker and easier. Not only will it save you hours of research, it will allow you to quickly pinpoint the system that is right for you and give it a test run to double check, meaning you won’t be stuck with the wrong system.