Vendor-agnostic AV kits deliver an instant return on investment for smart business
Simplicity, flexibility, integration: the three buzzwords that matter most to the world’s smarter enterprises.
No matter what the vertical sector, no matter what the size of the organisation, no matter who qualifies as the end user; the mantra is always the same: “we just want it to work”.
And nowhere is that more pertinent than when we (now routinely) meet with colleagues and customers virtually, via video conference.
Many are shackled to the inflexibility of single-vendor compatibility.
Codec-driven and dedicated meeting rooms hark back to the early-adopter days of conferencing when organisations’ VC functionality was constrained by proprietary services and equipment, heavy contractual licensing agreements and expensive kit.
Today, video conferencing workforces (remote AND office-based) demand a different model.
Just as in ‘Bring Your Own Device’ (BYOD), they want the choice, flexibility and seamless interoperability of vendor-agnostic VC connectivity.
“We call it Bring Your Own Meeting,” says Jeff May, UK Sales Director at Swedish-based global audio and video collaboration endpoints giant Konftel, who invented the first conference phone more than 30 years ago.
“There are so many different virtual VC meeting room platforms today and everyone has their preferred choice. To enable the seamless flexibility that everyone now demands, equipment must be compatible with them all.
“If an organisation is not fully vendor-agnostic, it is missing the latest big trick.”
There is independent research too.
According to global research leader Omdia, video room systems that are specifically tied to a single vendor’s collaborative meeting service are rapidly losing their charm.
Supporting some of its recent surveys, it states that, although dedicated room kits offer convenience and allow enterprises to standardise on a single service, they inevitably limit an employee’s ability to join calls on alternate vendor services due to a lack of interoperability.
In Konftel’s case, flexibility and platform independence are inherent across its entire product range.
Affordable, USB plug ‘n play, and of the highest design and build quality, its systems combine award-winning OmniSound technology with uber-resolution camera capability.
Not only does it “just work”, but it looks good to boot.
“Video conferencing is now ubiquitous for everyone,” says May.
“Older, vendor-specific kit is no longer fit for purpose. It only works on one collaboration platform, lots of IT support is often required each time it needs to be activated, and much of it is aesthetically uninspiring.
“As a result, people who have become used to communicating via the alternative platforms of their choice are unhappy when forced to it.
“People are now sent digital invitations to VC collaborations every day, and they can be hosted on a wide range of platforms that is growing all of the time.
“Users want to be able to join those collaborations with just one click, regardless of the platform.
“It’s what we have all become used to when working on our own devices at home during the pandemic. Now workforces are returning to offices, no-one wants to go back to using out-dated equipment.
“That means many organisations will need to take stock of their current provision and invest in the next iteration of hardware.
“The good news is that it is unlikely to cost as much as they think AND the returns on investment, in terms of enhanced user experience, are instantaneous”
It’s the perfect time to consider a back-to-the-office redesign too.
Pre-pandemic VC-equipped meeting room set-ups are likely to require reconfiguration.
More VC equipment in more rooms will undoubtedly be required by many medium to large-sized organisations for whom physical, face-to-face meetings are unlikely to make a full comeback.
As well as being vendor agonistic, the latest HD camera functionality such as extended fields-of-view, zooming and automatic focus on a speaker are also now increasingly standard must-haves.
Portability, too, is key.
“Our products deliver on all those fronts,” says May.
“It’s about the right spec for the right room. And it’s about making things as simple as possible”