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.

StarLeaf Breeze App on Devices

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 
Lifesize Express Polycom HDX Cisco C-Series
Lifesize Express 200 Polycom HDX 6000 Cisco C20
Lifesize Express 220 Polycom HDX 7000 Cisco C40
Lifesize Icon 400 Polycom HDX 8000 Cisco C60
Lifesize Icon 600 Polycom HDX 9004 Cisco 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 Cisco MX-series
Lifesize Room 200i Polycom VSX 8000 Cisco SX-Series
Lifesize Team 200   Cisco SX10
Lifesize Team 220   Cisco SX20
Lifesize Team MP   Cisco SX80
Lifesize Unity 50   Tandberg Edge-Series
Lifesize Unity 500   Tandberg Edge 75
Lifesize Unity 1000   Tandberg Edge 85
Lifesize Unity 2000   Tandberg Edge 95
    Tandberg MXP-Series
    Tandberg 150 MXP
    Tandberg 550 MXP
    Tandberg 770 MXP
    Tandberg 880 MXP
    Tandberg 990 MXP
    Tandberg 1000 MXP
    Tandberg 1700 MXP
    Tandberg 3000 MXP
    Tandberg 6000 MXP
    Tandberg 8000 MXP
    Tandberg Profile-Series
    Tandberg Telepresence T1
    Tandberg T150

If your video conferencing endpoint is not listed here, get in touch to see how we can help.