Videoconferencing Collaboration Cloud video

The Conferencing Shoot-Out: Audio, Video, or Web?

By Tom Banks

When it comes to conferencing, there are a several technologies for businesses to choose from when deciding how best to connect people in different places. So it can be a bit confusing to decide on which option is best for helping create the most effective workflows your teams need to be more productive. For conferencing there two main technologies, audioconferencing and videoconferencing, but the emergence of webconferencing over the last few years has thrown another hat into the ring for people to choose from.


Videoconferencing, webconferencing, and audioconferencing all have their place in an organization. And they're all great technologies. However, they don't all serve the same purpose. So if you ever find yourself, “Which conferencing product should I use for my upcoming meeting?”, we’ve put together a comparison of the pros and cons, as well as key differences between audio, video, and webconferencing. It's not quite a gunfight at sundown, but it will give you the good, the bad, and the ugly of each conferencing technology. Hopefully, you will then have a better idea for which tool will help you and your team perform better, and maybe even earn a fisful of dollars more! 

 

The Good

Audioconferencing:

  • Varies from 3 up to 100’s of participants, but works well for large scale events since it’s simple for participants to attend using a regular phone
  • It’s easy to join from any location, whether at the office or out traveling
  • Fast way to distribute basic information to lots of people at once

 

Videoconferencing (video meetings & video calls):

  • Usually supports 2 - 30 video users in one meeting, but special events can be arranged to host more
  • Great for both larger meetings or calling individuals directly to replace telephone or email conversation
  • Cloud videoconferencing means you don’t need to make a large investment to get started - you can use virtually any device for videoconferencing with cloud video
  • HD quality makes it as close as you can be without being there in person
  • Supports audioconferencing for when video isn’t convenient for a guest
  • Live-screen share facilitates real-time collaboration

 

Webconferencing:

  • Varies from a handful of guest up to 100s or 1000s of guests depending on the platform
  • Great for presenting a large volume of information to many people at the time
  • Focus on presentation gives visual reinforcement for information
  • Good for “outbound” style events - seminars etc, since you can invite anyone to join an event via a web browser and audiences don’t have to interact
  • Great tool for lead generation and brand awareness style events

 

The Bad

 phone-old-year-built-1955-bakelite-163007.jpeg

 

Audioconferencing:

  • Hard to develop relationships and trust when you can only hear the other participants
  • True collaboration and project management is very hard via audioconference since you can’t share view shared documents or files at the same time as other participants
  • Retaining complex information is difficult low due to lack of visual reinforcement
  • Hard to know if participants are truly engaged
  • Hard to generate interactive discussions between participants when there lots of people who are unfamiliar with one another and are unable to see each other when trying communicate naturally
  • Audio quality can be hugely variable depending on the location and type of telephone device guests dial in with

 

Videoconferencing:

  • Many people have had negative experiences of video meetings from using free services designed for consumers rather than for professional business communication
  • Many businesses forget about bandwidth when they invest in videoconferencing. If your office location already uses up most of the bandwidth capacity before you get start making video calls, it’s good to check whether you should increase your internet service to cope with the new demand

 

Webconferencing:

  • Not suitable for interactive communication or collaboration
  • Having a visual presentation and only audio from the presenters feel very unnatural, and makes it harder to connect with the other participants
  • Usually takes some detailed planning to schedule and host

 

pexels-photo-265573.jpeg 

 

 

The Ugly

 

Audioconferencing:

  • This might surprise many people but audioconferencing can be expensive
  • Many companies are still paying for large, expensive audioconferencing systems as a hangover from when it was cutting-edge technology
  • Modern cloud videconferencing systems are often cheaper whilst also offering audioconferencing as an integrated part of the service
  • Variable costs - there are so many packages with total minutes, price per minute, plus toll charges varying hugely depending on the country people are dialing from, not to mention potential extra charges from cell phone carriers
  • Let’s face it, it’s an old-fashioned technology that doesn’t scream “forward-facing”, innovative brand to potential talent or clients 

 

Videoconferencing:

  • Many people have had negative experiences of video meetings from using free services designed for consumers rather than for business communication. They don't realize that professional videoconferencing services provide much better, more consistent performance and make it super simple for many people to join the video meeting
  • Many businesses forget about bandwidth capacity when they start with video meetings and calls. If your office location already uses up most of the bandwidth capacity before you get start making video calls, it’s good to check whether you should increase your internet service to cope with the new demand

 

Webconferencing:

  • There is a wide definition of what webcasting actually is, so there can be a big difference in functionality with different platforms (is it a “video webinar”? A video meeting over the internet? A traditional webinar with audio and screen-sharing only
  • Costs can vary greatly, especially as the number of people you would like to host increases

 

How to improve efficiency for your workplace. Checklist

by Tom Banks

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