What is the difference between proprietary conferencing and standards based videoconferencing?

Proprietary conferencing services are subscription based and usually attached to an annual or multi-annual contract. These solutions are only designed to work within each operating framework.  In other words if your company subscribes to GoToMeeting they cannot conference to a company who subscribes to Webex or GoMeet Now or the endless variety of other services. Additionally many of these services require a separate audio bridge connection with no or limited videoconferencing capabilities.  End users get frustrated because they have to download many applications to conference with everybody using different services.  It’s like having separate cell phone contracts – with Sprint, AT&T and Verizon because these services couldn’t connect to each other.

The problems with proprietary conferencing are:  Limited or no videoconferencing capabilities; each service has its own proprietary algorithms; does not support bidirectional mobile video on multiparty calls; and does not accommodate Unified Communications. Proprietary conferencing services operate essentially in isolated communication silos.

Standards based videoconferencing is a standard platform that allows a seamless connection to any hardware or software endpoint. There are thousands of executive quality videoconferencing rooms worldwide. These conference rooms are public and connect to each other through the ITU, (International Telecommunications Union), standard algorithms. They can connect to endpoints to any company with any videoconferencing equipment as long there is access through their firewall.

Part of the ITU’s mandate includes improving telecommunications infrastructure and foster seamless interconnection of communication systems.  In this effort the ITU develops and establishes worldwide communications standards.  This is critical to videoconferencing technology as these standards allow all end points to connect seamlessly just like our cell phones; email addresses and land lines.

Currently you can share data from your computer on a videoconference seamlessly through the H.239 standard.  H.239 pushes 2 video sources simultaneously to the other end.  This one ITU standard, over time, will make GoToMeeting, Webex and other proprietary conferencing solutions obsolete.  End users want the benefits of videoconferencing and collaboration without worrying about who is subscribed to what service. They just want to call; videoconference and collaborate without downloading anything that only talks to one proprietary conferencing service.  Now videoconferencing with the H.239 collaboration standard is as easy as making a cell phone call or sending an email without the worrying about who subscribes to what.   Click here for illustrated comparison.

How can I use videoconferencing technology on my computer?

It is inevitable that the computer would be an important part of videoconferencing technology. There are basically four ways to video conference today. 1) Room Systems; these are for the conference room and with a pan tilt zoom camera to cover the entire conference room with high quality video. 2) Executive End Point; this is a self contained system designed for a one person or very small conference table. 3) Desktop; this is a video conference system or CODEC, that works on your existing computer. 4) Mobile; this works on an iPad, iPhone, Droid as a simple downloadable video conferencing app. This article will focus on number three, the Desktop.

In the early days many room systems needed a computer to function. This made video cumbersome and not user friendly. The computer was quickly eliminated from the room systems and the leader of this computer technology exodus was Polycom. They developed a computer free video conferencing CODEC that is simple to use in the conference room. This became known as a set top CODEC that installed easily and sat right on top of the television monitor. Subsequently, there was a drive back towards the computer with its own self contained CODEC that works with a web cam. Polycom developed a software product bundled with a camera and mic. This was first real step into video conferencing on a computer through IP or Internet Protocol. If your network was efficient and your computer was part of the network this solution works great.

Today there is a big demand for video conferencing through the computer and there are many options. The problem is many options work on a proprietary protocol. Skype is one example. There are video conferencing bridging services that will certainly connect these options to standards based systems. However this can become costly and many times participants are disappointed in the results. There are some companies offering a free app solution that connects directly to room systems without the need of a third party bridging service to make the connections. Soon our computers will be efficient video conferencing end points that will connect seamlessly to any room system, executive endpoint or mobile app. The future for video conferencing through a computer is very clear. This will evolve quickly to a free app for the computer or the mobile device on ITU, (International Telecommunications Union), standards. The small and medium sized companies will then use video conferencing on their desktops and laptops as an everyday communications tool, like email and cell phones. For more information on video conferencing using your computer call us at 330-677-5566.

Should I buy videoconferencing hardware or rent the technology?


If your company is struggling with learning about video conferencing, need more information on video conferencing or its potential applications, there are many ways to rent the technology without any long term contracts or license purchase.   Renting the technology is always safer than making the wrong hardware purchase.  This gives your company the opportunity to experiment a bit and see where video conferencing fits best.  It’s like building a park.  See where people are walking by the areas of grass worn down to a dirt path.  That’s where you build your walk ways.  If you have a clear idea on how to best use video conferencing and specific applications in mind, it would be better to purchase the hardware.

Here are some things to consider.  First if your company chooses to rent — what do I rent, where do I rent it and how much does this cost?   Through international video conferencing room broker, Affinity Video Net you can rent conference rooms worldwide by the hour.  There is no long term contract and Affinity Video Net makes renting the technology very easy.  If you have a group who needs to meet with another group in conference rooms Affinity Video Net is the best resource.   Many recruiting firms use Affinity Video Net to interview potential job candidates. Candidates feel more comfortable in a professional setting like a conference room.  Recruiters also appreciate this environment.  Domestically, conference rooms rent for about $230.00 per hour.  Internationally locations rent from $300.00 to $800.00 per hour.  For information on video conferencing and information on Affinity Net go to:  www.affinityvideo.net.

If you need to meet one-on-one or with individuals at various locations for a management meeting consider renting time through a video conference bridge service.  Through a video conference bridge service you can video conference from the convenience of your own office.  All you need is a web cam, computer and broadband internet access.  Engineering consultants will use this service to show CAD drawings, PowerPoint or other computer input during the conference.  Many services require no contract and you can rent time by the minute or by the month.   You can rent each location or “port” for about $100.00 per month, 24/7 access or about $.85 cents per minute per location.

If your firm is still struggling on what to do we can meet in our virtual conference room.  We can offer 30 minutes of free consultation.  You can find out more information on video conferencing and bridge services by contacting us at 330.677.5566.

Critical questions to ask yourself if you are considering videoconferencing

If you or your company is considering video conferencing or need information on video conferencing, here are some questions you might ask yourself:

  • First questionIs it difficult to schedule meetings with the right people?   If this is a constant problem, your company could be in great need of video conferencing, especially if you have multiple locations.
  • Second question: Is the travel budget out of control? Look carefully at why people are traveling and what they are showing at a meeting.  Chances are many of the travel meetings can be converted to video meetings.
  • Third question: Are you missing project deadlines?  Video conference technology greatly accelerates the decision process through collaboration.  Video conferencing will certainly make the process of project completion more efficient.
  • Fourth question: Are sales people seeing key clients frequently enough?  More than 65% percent of the time, clients leave a vendor because of indifference or a lack of attention.  Video conferencing could be your corporate jet that travels at light speed to see key clients face to face.  Video conferencing could be the best client retention strategy in your company.
  • Fifth questionDo key people miss important meetings?  Usually the key people are not in the office —That’s why they are key people.   The big things are often accomplished away from the office.  Video conferencing with mobile access can certainly get your key people to every critical meeting.
  • Sixth questionAre there misunderstandings w/ clients or supply chain?  We tend to underestimate the power of non-verbal communication.  Just about every study done on this topic has about the same statistic 55% Body Language; 38% tone; only 7% content.  If you are old enough, you may remember the Nixon Kennedy debate that was televised and broadcast on the radio.  Those who heard this debate on the radio thought that Nixon clearly won.  Those who saw the debate on television thought that Kennedy clearly won.  Many of our clients, especially those who work internationally prefer a video conference over a teleconference because of the potential loss in communications.

If you think of any other questions or need information on video conferencing call us.  We will certainly listen. 330.677.5566.