The move toward relocating business applications and processes from in-house locations to cloud-based models is well underway as evidenced by a recent Gartner report, in which the firm forecasts a 17.5 percent growth rate in the cloud-based marketplace globally. As businesses move applications and data into the cloud at an increasing rate, the lower costs associated with cloud-based systems architecture have started to spill over into the video conferencing world.
Before choosing a cloud-based video conferencing solution, though, it is important to examine and compare the benefits and potential risks of on-premise vs. cloud video conferencing options. Both solutions have their pros and cons, and while the choice may seem obvious at the start, you may find yourself surprised by which solution meets your requirements.
On-Premise Vs. Cloud Video Conferencing: Cutting Costs
Cost is always a factor in the decision to choose one type of video conferencing solution over another, and when comparing on-premise vs. cloud video conferencing services, the numbers speak for themselves. According to video services vendor BlueJeans, cloud-based video calling allows companies to save as much as 75 percent in overall operating costs when compared to an on-premise, hardware-based solution.
The mobile applications that are associated with cloud-based platforms offer a way to attend meetings from any location.
Cloud-based VC solutions present businesses with increased meeting flexibility. No longer tethered to a meeting room, organizers and attendees can participate in meetings from anywhere with a basic, home-level internet connection or better. This contributes to cost savings by reducing the number of meeting spaces and even desks required in an office, making it possible for a business to operate with a smaller physical footprint. The mobile applications that are associated with cloud-based platforms offer a way to give presentations and webinars and attend meetings from any location.
Choosing Based on Usability
Usability is a key factor in any solution, whether on-premise or cloud-based, because it makes the difference between a successful video calling solution that gets used and one that is avoided due to its complexity. Users may find ways around tech that is not intuitive or easy for them to understand, which can leave your business in an awkward position. Employees using alternate, unvetted video conferencing solutions can subject a business’ data to prying eyes, leaving intellectual property unprotected or compromised.
Hybrid options provide secure, high-quality hardware-based video conferencing with the flexibility of the cloud.
While cloud video conferencing solutions are usually recognized as the most user-friendly solutions, some vendors are offering hybrid options that combine the quality and security of on-premise video conferencing with the ease-of-use offered by cloud-based platforms. This option allows companies who have already invested in an on-premise solution to cater to mobile workers while avoiding the larger bandwidth requirements of a cloud-only solution. Hybrid options provide secure, high-quality hardware-based video conferencing with the flexibility of the cloud, and can be one way for companies to transition from a traditional on-premise solution to a cloud-based one.
Taking Bandwidth into Consideration
One crucial determining factor in the choice between on-premise and cloud video calling is whether your network can handle the added bandwidth that a new video conferencing solution may require. It is more than likely that those businesses currently using an on-premise video conferencing solution have this puzzle solved, but switching to a cloud-based VC solution may bring additional bandwidth requirements.
Any cloud-based video conferencing solution provider should be able to give you precise bandwidth and resource requirements.
Since cloud-based solutions are dependent on internet bandwidth, limited-bandwidth scenarios may restrict the quality of video calls. Hardware solutions are an excellent option for limited-bandwidth areas as they operate independently of software or computer architectures.
Any cloud-based video conferencing solution provider should be able to give you precise bandwidth and resource requirements to ensure that your solution hums once it is live. This will involve an overall infrastructure review, including testing with your ISP, to determine if the bandwidth you have is sufficient or if you need to fatten the pipe wherever network performance bottlenecks appear. Usability comes into play here as well; if your network infrastructure is not equipped to handle the bandwidth demands that come with streaming high-quality audio and video, the experience will be choppy and frustrating, potentially resulting in users resorting to BYOD video conferencing as an alternative.
On-Premise Vs. Cloud Is About What Works for Workers
Cloud-based everything is one of the biggest workplace trends of late. It promises lower costs upfront, a reduction in data center complexity and footprint, and a vastly improved level of business continuity. Moving video conferencing into the cloud, however, can present challenges that your business needs to be prepared to handle.
Nor is the choice just between on-premise vs. cloud video conferencing. New, hybrid technology models offer the power and customizability of on-premise solutions with the interoperability and mobile-friendliness of cloud solutions. Consider what it is your video conferencing solution must accomplish today and where you think it will need to be over the next five years. Find out what your users would be comfortable with and how quickly it would take them to adjust to a new product. Getting input from all stakeholders will help you make the best decision for your business, your environment, and your users.