Technology

How often should you upgrade your teleconferencing equipment?

conference

 

Remember when having a meeting with an overseas client meant traveling great distances or attempting some kind of phone conference call?

Like all things electronic, technology has progressed rapidly over the years, to the point that the laptop you received just a few years ago is probably already considered “ancient” today. Consider what Guy Lidbetter, chief technology officer at Atos Global Managed Services, told the Huffington Post:

“… The world is now moving so quickly, they (Generation Y) will be surpassed not by their children (“Hey dad, email is for 20th century losers”) but by their siblings (“Hey brother, you still using that?”).”

That’s especially true in an office setting, when managers have to balance the cost of upgrading their equipment vs. saving money by continuing to use outdated machines. Of course, all it takes is to lose a client or two due to the fact that they couldn’t communicate with you through those scratchy, phone conference calls.

In other words, it’s probably time to at least consider upgrading. Here are four signs that it’s time to start looking at teleconferencing upgrades:

 

  • Do you have several foreign clients?

Dealing with overseas clients is a part of doing business today. That’s why you probably scrapped those old telephone conferences long ago: it’s already hard to hear, unless you get a rare good connection. But if the people on the other end of the line don’t speak your language with as much fluidity as you? Then you may as well stick to chatting via email. Plus, of course, no one wants to be saddled with ridiculously high long-distance or cell phone charges.

Teleconferencing changed all that years ago. Even a simple app like Skype makes those calls convenient (and free) – and often times, with a far better reception.

But you’ll likely want teleconferencing equipment that comes with a little more “oomph” if you’re hoping to chat with more than one person, especially if it’s an important call. Generally speaking, the calls are clearer, and you can chat with far more people with upgraded equipment.

 

  • Do you have large teleconference meetings

The precursor to today’s teleconferencing was, frankly, big and bulky. And very pricey.

Need to give a big presentation to dozens of people at once? Good luck. And forget about holding a meeting with hundreds, or thousands, of people at the same time. For those types of meetings, you had to fly people into your office – about as expensive as you can get.

Newer video conference equipment, though, allows BlueJeans users to meet with thousands of people at once, and it comes with video capability. The best part? As the technology continues to evolve, the costs of those upgrades has gone down. Find that hard to believe? Just think about how much a DVD player used to cost, for example. These days, you can buy a brand-name DVD player for about $20 – or about $100 to $200 less than the cost of one was about 15 years ago.

 

  • Does your current equipment allow integration across other platforms?

Here’s another reason why those phone conference calls were so popular over the years: not everyone expected to participate in a meeting had the same equipment. But everyone has a phone, and that’s pretty much all you needed for those conferences.

That’s just not the case anymore. Need to chat with someone who only has Skype on her phone, and another who primarily uses Slack? With today’s teleconferencing equipment, though, you can video chat across a variety of platforms, from Facebook Live to Microsoft Lync to even Cisco Jabber. Now, you can still hold those meetings with multiple people at once, all of whom might be more comfortable with their own third-party communication platform.

 

  • What happens when things go awry?

See if this sounds familiar: You and your team have a big meeting scheduled with the owner of a potential new client. You’ve done your homework, and you feel like you’re completely prepared for the meeting. Then the meeting starts, and you hear a persistent echo. Or at least one person in the teleconference meeting can’t hear you (or anyone else). Or the reception is just bad.

No matter how good your equipment is, there are always blips. Maybe your WiFi goes down. Maybe you’re having some kind of connection problem. How many times have you had to stop a meeting all together, just because too many people can’t connect to your meeting – or can’t hear you due to a poor reception?

But you no longer have to go into a teleconference meeting with your fingers crossed. Some providers offer event support, ensuring those crucial meetings run smoothly. You can track your metrics, too, in an effort to make future meetings run more smoothly.

 

Your teleconferencing equipment is no different than, say, that cell phone you use: technology changes – for the better – rather rapidly. That means, the old “reliable” equipment you’ve been using for years can likely be updated at a reasonable price, and it’ll come with far more options, all of which means happier and more informed clients.

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