As more and more companies look to the cloud for their video conferencing, some are finding that their chosen provider just does not meet expectations, or even that they are no better off than they would have been had they stuck with video conferencing infrastructure. Here we look at what you should expect from a cloud video conferencing provider.
The foremost consideration for any video deployment is answering the question 'so what do you get?'. Okay, so for a minimum you want high-definition, easy-to-use, secure video conferencing and calling, but what about the infrastructure that makes that possible? Any provider worth their salt will offer global coverage from multiple data centers, which are essential for quality of service, performance, and reliability.
You'll also want to check that the cloud you're signing up to is wholly owned and operated by your provider, not patched together on someone else's infrastructure. Why? Because a provider not fully in control of their own service will have a very limited ability to innovate and introduce new features.
Instead, switch to a vendor with a continually-evolving cloud service, and if that provider offers hardware too, make sure that firmware updates are automatically pushed from the cloud, for the entire lifespan of your hardware and beyond.
What about the user experience? Ease-of-use starts with your initial deployment, which should be as simple as possible using a central management console, accessible by your IT team, your reseller, or indeed anyone responsible for enabling video conferencing in your organization. And as your needs change, your deployment should be able to scale with you, this means easy provisioning of users and rooms, and all other account admin.
This simplicity should continue beyond provisioning to ensure video adoption across your organization. If you've opted for a cloud video provider that does not limit you with per user or per minute charges, and instead lets you extend video, with a software client, to everyone free of charge, you'll see rapid adoption of video across your workforce.
What about beyond that? There's no point investing in video only to find you can't meet anyone unless they're on the same manufacturer's equipment, let alone outside your own office. Interoperability is key. Your cloud service should be able to easily connect and communicate directly with other video endpoints, including Skype for Business; if it looks like that may be a challenge, it really is worth looking elsewhere. At this point, it may be attractive to introduce a cloud conferencing service, but remember that this will only be a bridge and as such is only part of a solution. Rather, think about all your use cases, sometimes it's inconvenient to schedule a meeting, particularly when you need to be face to face immediately.
Once you've got your whole team on video, they're going to need support from time to time. Before signing up to any cloud provider, make sure your admins have access to call detail records (CDRs), and even better if they can communicate directly and easily with the cloud provider should they need to.
So what about the future? The longevity of your video conferencing hardware? The beauty of the cloud is that it can teach old dogs new tricks. The service and features you enjoy should not be determined by the age of your endpoint, or whether or not it's out of warranty. In fact, your video cloud should not care what video conferencing equipment you are using at all. As long as it's an H.323 endpoint, which is the video conferencing standard, it should benefit from exactly the same video conferencing features and functions as a brand new piece of kit.
As far as service, software, and support are concerned, the StarLeaf Open Cloud is a triple threat, over-delivering on all counts. If your video conferencing service does not satisfy, go ahead and make the switch. You can register any third-party endpoint to the StarLeaf Open Cloud including:
|Lifesize||Polycom||Cisco / Tandberg|
|LifesizeÂ Express||Polycom HDX||Cisco C-Series|
|LifesizeÂ Express 200||PolycomÂ HDX 6000||CiscoÂ C20|
|LifesizeÂ Express 220||PolycomÂ HDX 7000||CiscoÂ C40|
|Lifesize Icon 400||PolycomÂ HDX 8000||CiscoÂ C60|
|Lifesize Icon 600||Polycom HDX 9004||CiscoÂ C90|
|Lifesize Icon 800||Polycom RealPresence Debut||Cisco E20|
|Lifesize LG Executive||Polycom RealPresence Group 500||Cisco EX-Series|
|Lifesize Passport||Polycom VSX 5000||Cisco EX60|
|Lifesize Room||Polycom VSX 6000||Cisco EX90|
|Lifesize Room 200||Polycom VSX 7000||CiscoÂ MX-series|
|Lifesize Room 200i||Polycom VSX 8000||CiscoÂ SX-Series|
|Lifesize Team 200||CiscoÂ SX10|
|Lifesize Team 220||Cisco SX20|
|Lifesize Team MP||Cisco SX80|
|LifesizeÂ Unity 50||Tandberg Edge-Series|
|LifesizeÂ Unity 500||Tandberg Edge 75|
|LifesizeÂ Unity 1000||Tandberg EdgeÂ 85|
|LifesizeÂ Unity 2000||Tandberg Edge 95|
|TandbergÂ 150 MXP|
|TandbergÂ 550 MXP|
|TandbergÂ 770 MXP|
|TandbergÂ 880 MXP|
|TandbergÂ 990 MXP|
|TandbergÂ 1000 MXP|
|Tandberg 1700 MXP|
|Tandberg 3000 MXP|
|Tandberg 6000 MXP|
|Tandberg 8000 MXP|
|Tandberg Telepresence T1|
If your video conferencing endpoint is not listed here, get in touch to see how we can help.