Who makes the best videoconferencing products?

The good news – Just about every manufacturer of video conferencing end points makes the best products.  It’s difficult to make really bad decision on a video conferencing end point or CODEC, (Coder Decoder), as its commonly called within the industry.

If you are considering video conferencing for your conference room don’t worry about who makes the best equipment.  You need to dig deep into the unique feature set of each manufacturer to see if it supports your primary application.  For example if mobile video conferencing is critical you need to pick a manufacturer who has a free video conferencing app that seamlessly connects to the CODEC.    If recording is critical you need to pick a CODEC that can easily record a meeting without worrying about cumbersome connections with a DVR and a second remote.  If multi-site is critical you need a CODEC that can do multi-site in continuous presence.  Continuous presence means you can see everybody at the same time, like on Hollywood Squares.  Be careful here because some solutions will tell you they can connect up to 9 locations simultaneously, but what they don’t tell you it’s NOT continuous presence.  In many cases the CODEC will only display 4 locations at the same time while you hear the other 5 on audio only.   One of our newly acquired clients made this mistake with their former vendor.  They were under the impression that the CODEC will connect all 9 locations in continuous presence and found out the hard way that it only shows 4 on video even though all are connected.  This is a critical part of their application and they become most disappointed.  They have plans to replace this CODEC and re-deploy the current CODEC to another location.  The good news here is that everything is standards based, thus making the upgrade solution relatively easy.

Make sure the CODEC is standards based.  The two standards are H.323 and SIP – Both standards are built into every new CODEC these days.  It’s difficult to find a manufacturer who does not build with both standards included.  This being said another newly acquired client found one company who made a SIP only CODEC.  The problem is that 90% of worldwide video conferencing is connecting through H.323.  SIP is the primary standard for Voip but not for video.  This client could not conference with anybody after spending more than $24,000.00.  We were surprised that a company was making a conference room CODEC with only SIP. Even though just about every manufacturer makes the best products there are one or two that don’t.

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