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Video conferencing has existed for decades, but it’s only recently become a viable, mainstream form of workplace collaboration.
This is largely propelled by the adoption of cloud communication and the technological advancements that have driven it. While people of a different era thought video conferencing would be done via radio waves and television sets, the cloud facilitates face-to-face digital communication across any internet-enabled device.
But what exactly is “the cloud” and why is it facilitating the adoption of video conferencing, when it’s already been around so long?
Taking a Look at the Cloud
It’s become a bit of a buzzword of late – if you work with technology, you’ve probably heard it a lot.
The cloud refers to the public internet. Rather than host programs, store solutions and power technology through massive (and expensive) local servers, companies can now access information and programs stored offsite, in the cloud, accessible remotely.
While the idea of a digital cloud has been around as long as the internet has existed, it hasn’t become a viable and increasingly ubiquitous concept until Wi-Fi speed and bandwidth increased. Before, lengthy download times and spotty connections meant if video could be streamed at all, it would be in extremely low quality. Now, video collaboration can take place in high-definition with consistent up-time.
In spite of the rise in popularity of the cloud, local systems still exist. Information stored in the cloud is often far less expensive, more accessible and equally reliable, but there is still a perceived security benefit from hosting data on local servers.
As cloud communication becomes more and more popular, security has become an increasingly important, and now most information stored in the cloud is just as safe and secure as data on local servers. However, for organizations that deal with extremely sensitive data (like governments) there may still be a cause to operate local servers.
3 Reasons People are Clamoring for Cloud Collaboration
While there could be any number of reasons a company decides to adopt cloud conferencing, there are a few main reasons driving the shift in the industry:
One of the obstacles that has traditionally limited the spread of video conferencing has been its limited scope.
Within an office context, video conferencing required enormous servers, high powered cameras, and was generally confined to the larger board rooms. It remained a niche luxury for companies that could afford it.
With cloud video conferencing, not only does it get out of the board room, it gets out of the office. Because it’s accessible on any device with internet and a camera, people are freed to become mobile participants in collaboration. Telecommuting has become more viable because of this – an important development in a work culture increasingly concerned with a work/life balance.
With the flexibility of cloud has come a flexibility in billing for conferencing services and solutions.
Originally, the most common type of conferencing billing was done through a capital expenditure (CAPEX). It involved a large, up-front cost, and entailed complete ownership over the hardware and solution.
With cloud, users have the option to access video conferencing as-a-service. This means people are shifting to the more flexible operation expenditure (OPEX) system of billing that allows users to only pay for what they use.
Without the large cost up front acting as a barrier to entry, more and more companies are pursuing video conferencing through the cloud.
Even a decade ago, high-quality video conferencing was only possible with expensive room systems, usually set up in the big board rooms of a company.
Sure, services like Skype existed, but the quality was too poor and the connection to inconsistent to use at an enterprise level. However, as cloud has entered the mainstream, it’s freed users to access the power of collaboration from anywhere – including smaller collaboration spaces.
Not only is conferencing going mobile (making telecommuting easier than ever), it’s also going open concept. Where once the major boardrooms dominated the conferencing scene, today cloud is allowing cost-effective, smaller setups in spaces like huddle rooms. This accommodates the trend towards open-concept work spaces.
Cloud conferencing is re-shaping the way we communicate.
Rather than massive, expensive internal setups, cloud conferencing is offered as a service, and stored off-site to minimize responsibility, oversight and expense. It’s making conferencing more flexible, and accessible to businesses who simply wouldn’t have been able to realize value previously.
It’s clear the future of communication is going headed into the cloud.
Don’t wait – get your free trial of RP1Cloud today and see how cloud conferencing can transform your business.