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June 27, 2012

Companies wary of investing in HD video conferencing

According to research, businesses are keen to implement HD quality video conferencing but are doubtful current hardware in UK offices can handle content.

By Tineka Smith

Video Conference
Photo Credit: Gunner Bothner-By

A study by Virgin media business shows that companies looking to use HD quality video conferencing are at its peak, but 80%are concerned that laptops and PCs don’t have the capability.

Major IT retailers said that sales of video conferencing packages are up but insecurities about hardware are preventing more HD video conferencing taking place.

50% of respondents doubted their internet connections provide sufficient and reliable connectivity.

"Video conferencing has firmly established itself as an everyday tool for business," says Tony Grace, Virgin media business COO. "As we enjoy more HD content at home, we’re increasingly expecting similar quality in the office. The latest iPad has a HD screen, but many executives can’t use it to hold a HD video conference with colleagues. That seems odd to us and is one of the rare examples of consumer technology superseding business technology."

Even though HD content requires more bandwidth businesses-grade connections can actually handle HD content. Grace says that these connections are thoroughly tested for reliability.

"The real issue is that older hardware simply can’t handle HD quality content," says Grace. "It presents a tricky dilemma for business owners and CIOs. They recognise the need to use HD services, but don’t want to make wholesale, and expensive, upgrades to their hardware."

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Bring your own device schemes (BYOD) can help companies introduce more HD compatible hardware.

"One way businesses can gradually introduce more HD-ready hardware, without paying through the nose for it, is with employee initiatives such as ‘Buy Your Own Device’ (BYOD) schemes," says Grace. "These allow employees who really need HD equipment to get the hardware first as each person is given their own budget to buy the hardware they need. It means businesses don’t need to shell out huge sums in one go across the company."

Virgin Media Business research also revealed that one in five businesses already offer BYOD schemes. Another 20% of businesses plan to introduce BYOD schemes in the next 12 months.

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