The adoption of video conferencing solutions is gaining pace in Asia Pacific as the Quality of Service (QoS) is increasing and costs are decreasing. Other factors that are contributing to this rapid rise in deployment rate of video conferencing are their usage as a collaboration tool and their application as a feasible substitute for business travel. However, this has presented the users with two types of solutions – hosted as well as hardware-based. Hosted solutions, which are based on the Software-as-a-Service or SaaS model, are centred on virtualisation, wherein a web browser is used to set up video call. On the other hand, hardware-based video conferencing suites consist of bulky consoles that are expensive and take up considerable amount of space as compared to hosted solutions. With companies in APAC region set to spend as much as $ 804 million on video conferencing, they do not need the additional burden of paying for the hardware costs.
According to the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of Arkadin, Thomas Boudier, “vendors are promoting the hardware that can be used to access video conferencing solutions rather than the solutions themselves. On the other hand, video conferencing solutions based on SaaS model hand over a set of features to them instantly, without any extra platform”. He also believes that the hardware has become obsolete in terms of fulfilling user requirements of the modern users. Furthermore, the conferencing environments that are centred on such hardware do not fully use their potential and are quite difficult to install and use.
Notably, mobility is a crucial factor for the new age corporate employee, whereas the hardware solutions do not allow it.
Another advantage of using hosted solutions is that these create the perfect platform for users to communicate with new users. Video remote conferencing solutions based on the cloud are ideal for this purpose and allow new users to simply sign up and log in. On the other hand, solutions that run on hardware demand that the same consoles must be present with all the users in order to commence the video virtual meeting. This only adds to the cost of the event and makes it less desirable for companies that are looking to keep their communication costs under check.
Technology used in hosted video conferencing solutions are already beginning to change the web video collaboration environment. The advent of Face Time in the iPhone 4 gave individual users a seamless visual conferencing environment centred on a touch panel. Many enterprise conferencing solution providers, including Cisco, Avaya and Blackberry, took the cue from this and created their own hosted solution, albeit for corporate users. This shows how hosted solutions, whether browser-based or the ones used on mobile devices, can be useful for corporate users in comparison with hardware consoles.