Video endpoints are a critical part of enterprise infrastructure. According to research by Metrigy, video meetings was the #1 UC investment in 2021, while traditional telephony was among the lowest spends. Businesses need a robust hardware infrastructure to support productive video experiences that allow users to connect from a location of their choice, benefit from a variety of powerful features, and enjoy interoperability across diverse UC platforms and devices. All of this depends on choosing the right video endpoints.
Video endpoints refer to hardware devices that help conduct video-based communication sessions, whether in meetings, webinars, conferences, or video-based customer support. According to Grand View Research, endpoints will account for a whopping 47% of the enterprise video conferencing market in 2021 due to increasing adoption. Businesses that are able to carefully assess their needs and select the best video endpoints for their needs can capitalize on this multi-billion dollar market.
Choosing the Right Video Endpoints: Your Options
When choosing video endpoints, business users have several options:
- Desktop conferencing endpoints – Participating in a video conference requires a camera, a display, and a microphone and speaker mix for audio. From fully integrated standalone devices to audio endpoints and cameras to broadcast boxes, there are desktop conferencing hardware options in any combination of the three.
- Laptop as video endpoint – Instead of desktop conferencing endpoints, you can simply use the camera and audio capabilities of a laptop or desktop PC. Quality remains a challenge here, as there is no guarantee that the built-in hardware will deliver the same high resolution and clarity as dedicated devices.
- Equipment of the conference rooms – Room-based conferencing technology is often built around a giant screen and equipped with specialized microphones to pick up sounds from across the room without interruption. The complete video endpoint configuration can be provided as a room kit.
- transcoding equipment – In order for video endpoints to communicate with each other, companies can choose devices that operate on the same signals, preferably from the same provider. In the absence of transcoding devices, multipoint control units (MCUs) or hardware bridges are required.
- screens and whiteboards – Intelligent displays and interactive whiteboards enable improved collaboration in the conference room. Meeting participants can annotate or comment on a document or file across locations – simply by connecting to their own devices. The alternative is to use the interactive whiteboard as a platform for brainstorming.
- periphery – In addition to basic video endpoints, organizations may need accessories such as an additional camera, microphone, or speaker. Many high-quality cameras also have auto-framing capabilities that zoom in on the speaker, eliminating camera management challenges. In a large room, the microphone must be able to pick up everyone’s speech while avoiding background noise.
How do you choose the right video endpoint for your business?
Here are the key considerations to remember:
1. What is the cost of the video endpoint?
Before you decide which technology to invest in, determine if it’s profitable. There is no reason to incur significant costs if there is no business demand or need to support it. Are the costs acceptable? Are the costs in line with the budget? As long as such technology can have value, will it be helpful? It may make more sense to rent video endpoints “as a service” than to purchase them outright.
2. Is the video endpoint system secure?
With the ever-present threat of hacking and system infiltration, video conferencing security is critical. Ask the endpoint vendor relevant questions and make sure they have the appropriate encryption protocols and other security measures in place to protect your data and that of your customers.
3. What is the level of accessibility?
Employees using the technology need to find a use for it, and adoption should be seamless. There’s no point investing in video endpoints that not everyone can use or that require IT support. Also ensure that there is compatibility between the video conferencing equipment and the devices used by consumers and other stakeholders.
4. How high is the maintenance effort?
The vendor must also offer a robust, reliable support capability in the event maintenance or software upgrades are required to ensure the system is always up and running. It is necessary to identify support resources regardless of the amount of technology used. It’s also important to ensure turnaround times are strict and fast with built-in SLAs.
5. Is the video endpoint compatible with existing devices?
The tool must support all types of endpoints. Organizations need to guarantee users effortless connectivity to the new video endpoint system, no matter what desktop or mobile devices are being used. To achieve this, it is advisable to choose video conference room options with HD displays, voice tracking cameras and stereo sound systems for high-quality video conferencing.
6. Does the system match your usage estimate?
In order to choose the most suitable video equipment, it is important to first determine the user requirements. Organizations need to collect data on how employees – and customers – conduct meetings and how many people attend each meeting. They also need to determine whether the conversations/meetings are long or short and whether they are planned in advance or spontaneous. This information helps in choosing effective and easy-to-use video endpoints. Finally, since each employee uses different systems and devices, it is preferable to purchase interoperable devices.
Final Thoughts: Start installing video endpoints
Organizations can first verify that team members are familiar with the available software and hardware. Before starting a meeting, verify that employees new to new endpoints are familiar with them and have had time to explore their capabilities. Before starting a technical conference (of some importance), it can be beneficial to have a test meeting with someone, such as an internal team member, to ensure the camera and audio quality are satisfactory.
For more insight into choosing the right video endpoints, check out our guide to comparing video conferencing technologies in 2022.