Five reasons to move video conferencing to the cloud

As the video conferencing market expands, enterprises are evaluating the benefits of moving it to the cloud versus keeping these tasks on-premises. Here are five reasons why moving video conferencing operations in the cloud

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may be an option for overworked IT admins.

  1. Reduce upfront costs: Currently, IT departments are under constant pressure to reduce operating expenses. Video conferencing systems represent an investment that ranges from a few thousand to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Instead of paying upfront, cloud-based video conferencing services enable companies to pay as they go, which means less of a hit on IT budgets.
  2. Deliver flexibility: Changes occur frequently in dynamic business environments, making it difficult to configure, deliver and support video conferencing sessions that may be scheduled suddenly. Handing those responsibilities over to third-party, off-premises video conferencing vendors, like Blue Jeans Networks, Glowpoint and traditional telecom carriers, such as AT&T and Verizon, can be less time-consuming for IT admins.
  3. Provide simplicity: IT admins may struggle with the decision to build and manage the video conferencing system or hand it over to a third party. Video conferencing often introduces new technologies -- H.323 and SIP -- with which many small and medium-sized businesses may not be familiar. Using cloud-based video conferencing saves those companies time and money that would be spent to train IT teams to support new systems.
  4. Support a range of devices: With the surge of bring your own device (BYOD) in the enterprise, video conferencing systems need to support a wide range of end-user devices. For instance, more than two dozen handset vendors have developed hundreds of Google Android smartphones. It can be difficult for an on-premises support staff to stay current on all these devices and fast-occurring upgrades, so enterprises hand the responsibility to a cloud provider who can then handle integration and support.
  5. Ensure interoperability: Traditional on-premises video conferencing products often lack interoperability. Certain vendors, including Hewlett Packard, Microsoft, Polycom, Juniper Networks and LifeSize, have formed the Unified Communications Interoperability Forum (UCI Forum) to improve this issue. However, other big players in the market, such as Avaya, Cisco Systems and IBM, are not UCI Forum members. Moving video conferencing to the cloud enables enterprises to hand these interoperability worries off to their cloud vendors to avoid being saddled with incompatible equipment.

About the author:
Paul Korzeniowski is a freelance writer who specializes in cloud computing issues.

This was first published in April 2012

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