How do you pay for video conferencing at your workplace?
If you’re part of a small-to-medium-sized business, chances are you’re in a subscription arrangement, paying out between $10 and $20 a month per user to access a cloud-based software platform. It’s a common practice that limits initial investment and provides maximum flexibility and scalability as your business evolves over time.
There are, however, other ways of paying for video calling.
Video vendor Highfive, for example, focuses its video accounting not on the end-user but on the endpoint. Unusually, it offers room-based solutions that include hardware in the monthly subscription.
Highfive’s video conferencing price model makes it easy to track your video spend and easy to add video conferencing capability to your office without thinking too much about it, but it does limit your video conferencing hardware options–and in offices that are increasingly in need of a variety of types of collaboration spaces, this could cramp your style.
Highfive’s Video Conferencing Price Model
Highfive’s video conferencing solution is centered on its all-in-one camera, speaker, microphone, and software setup. The wide-angle, HD camera with low light sensor included with Highfive’s “Select” and “Plus” packages is compact enough to service most workspaces (a 4K HDR video camera is included with the “Premium” plan) and the camera and other hardware scale up in cost and complexity to include features like 360-degree audio capture, digital pan, tilt, and zoom (PTZ), dual-screen support, and auto-framing (those last three are only available with the “Premium” package).
Effectively, Highfive is offering a Device-as-a-Service approach that ties everything into a single cost.
In addition to the hardware, Highfive also provides its own video conferencing platform. The service allows for group calls of up to 125 participants and includes key video conferencing features like screen sharing, meeting recording, cloud storage, and chat, as well as a few extras including browser-based calling, customizable meeting URLs, and integration with Slack, Skype, Zoom, BlueJeans, and Webex.
That’s as comprehensive a professional video solution as you’re likely to find. The all-in-one theme continues with Highfive’s new pricing structure. Rather than spread the cost of your video needs across hardware and software elements, Highfive combines the lot into a single fee that starts at $199 per month per room. Highfive’s “Plus” video conferencing price plan costs $299 per month per room, and you’ll pay $599 per month per room for the premium plan. Effectively, the company is offering a Device-as-a-Service approach that ties everything into a single cost, leaving you to pay for endpoints that can be used by an unlimited amount of individual users.
It’s crucial that you be impressed with Highfive’s hardware, though, because this throwback to the days of on-premise delivery restricts what you can achieve across a flexible working space.
Desktop, Huddle Room, or Conference Room?
Video is everywhere. From our phones to our desktops and into the conference rooms and meeting rooms of our offices, we are only ever a few taps or clicks away from a face-to-face video meeting. The dynamic nature of this digital connection has made video an everyday business communications tool. As such, we need to access it in a variety of ways.
Highfive’s all-in-one, one-size-fits-all solution and tiered fee structure puts limits on the potential of video conferencing.
The cloud makes all of this possible by housing the necessary software in an instantly accessible manner that bridges the gap between our devices. As a result of this communications freedom, we are able to access professional video conferencing from whichever endpoint suits our goals. Working from home or your desk? You need a personal webcam that won’t overwhelm your space. Gathering for a quick team meeting in a small huddle room? You need a wide-angle camera that caters to small rooms. Looking to impress a potential client at the C-suite level? You need a dedicated conference room camera.
Highfive’s all-in-one, one-size-fits-all solution and tiered fee structure puts limits on the potential of all this motion and freedom. The company would no doubt argue that its range of packages caters to each individual setting outlined above, and they’d have a case. But when our endpoints are as many as our methods of working it makes more sense to subscribe to a cloud-based software platform and furnish each venue with a dedicated camera chosen for the room’s dimensions and uses.
The Pros and Cons of the Highfive Model
The big advantage of the Highfive approach–other providers, including Lifesize, follow a similar strategy–is that you can account for your video conferencing software and hardware as a single asset. If you follow the more common approach of paying for a software subscription and then buying individual cameras in a separate transaction, you complicate your support, maintenance, and accounting.
However, high-quality video conferencing cameras are rapidly falling in price. Large manufacturers like Logitech offer a range of options, from personal webcams to large conference room setups, with prices that start at less than $100 and run into the thousands.
The decision rests with you and whether your preference is for an all-in-one solution or a more nuanced range of video options.
You’d have to do your own office math to see whether Highfive’s endpoint-by-endpoint solution is preferable from a financial point of view, but it’s very possible that the different types of cameras you’d need for each setup would make it cheaper to purchase separate hardware.
Ultimately, the decision rests with you and whether your preference is for an all-in-one solution or a more nuanced range of video options. The best advice we can give you is to think of the future when making your video decisions–video is everywhere, and it is only going to become more ubiquitous in the future.