Who makes videoconferencing equipment?

There are about a dozen manufacturers of video conferencing equipment. Most make very good reliable products. Manufactures include: Avaya; Cisco; Polycom; Logitech; Sony; Aver; Panasonic; LG and others. The main thing to consider is that they build to the ITU, (International Telecommunications Union), standards. The most ubiquitous standard for video conferencing is H.323 over IP. Another video standard is SIP, or Sessions Initiation Protocol. SIP is most common in VoIP, (voice over IP), applications but no so common in video conferencing applications yet. The good news is most manufactures build to these standards and most systems connect reliably to each other.

Recently larger companies purchased smaller video conferencing equipment manufactures. For example Cisco purchased Tandberg, Logitech purchased LifeSize and Avaya purchased Radvision. Although their products communicate relatively seamlessly to each other, they each have unique features that could have some impact on your particular application. Make sure the manufacture has a well established reseller network to give you the local support and help you identify features best suited for your application. One example of a unique feature is found in Avaya’s Radvision solution. They have what they call a desktop feature that allows anyone with a computer, PC or MAC, iPad, Droid etc. to connect to the video conferencing system through a free downloadable application. If you are connecting to customers, vendors and others critical to your business and they do not have video conferencing equipment, this unique feature will have a major impact.

Support should include a formal training program for your roll-out and deployment. The better manufactures have these programs in place and implement them through the dealers and resellers in the field.

The demand for video conferencing hardware increases every year and we will certainly see new manufactures emerge. Some will offer a low cost solution with limited features; others will offer high end solutions with many features. In time cost will continue to be more competitive and the equipment will keep getting better.

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