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Cloud Video Conferencing has taken over the Enterprise

Cloud video conferencing has been gathering momentum for several years, but it’s now become the clear platform of choice for enterprise VC rooms too

It’s hard to imagine, but a decade or so ago the cloud was seen as a technology which enterprises were uncertain about adopting. For large organisations, many of whom had their own on-premise infrastructure, the thought of moving critical data and core applications to the cloud seemed a risky bet.

Fast forward to 2022, and the modern enterprise is almost unimaginable without the cloud. Today, the cloud and SaaS has become the mainstream choice not just for productivity and enterprise applications, but also for video conferencing infrastructure. The pandemic period played a role in accelerating the adoption of the cloud for video conferencing, but the movement had already been gathering momentum for several years.

Today, most large organisations are making cloud VC the backbone of their infrastructure for collaboration and a key part of their plans for hybrid work. A big step towards this has been the adoption of cloud VC not just via laptops on work desks or in small huddle rooms, but as an integral part of hundreds of meeting, training and conference rooms.

What’s driving Cloud VC popularity?

The growth in popularity of cloud VC has been rapid, and is driven by a wide set of factors. Many enterprise-friendly capabilities have been developed, which brings benefits to organisations, IT admins and users alike.

Teams just love video – Video has become the collaborative tool of choice for corporate teams, and the cloud provides wider access than ever before. Intelligent video capabilities mean better framing and visibility of participants and content for a rich collaborative experience.

Flexible connectivity and access – The modern workforce wants greater flexibility in how they can engage in collaborative activities and share content. The cloud helps meet their expectations of quality, reliability and flexibility.

Better usability and convenience – Cloud VC brings many other features like presence, one-touch-join, room scheduling, security, recording and streaming that make it easier to connect with colleagues or to schedule meetings.

Several reliable service providers – Well established Cloud VC service providers like Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Webex and Google Meet provide greater confidence to IT teams which are likely to be using other cloud services offered by these organisations.

Quick setup and simpler management – Cloud VC platforms make it simpler for organisations to deploy video conferencing. They are easier to manage with soft codecs and a certified hardware ecosystem that ensures a tightly integrated experience.

Better interoperability and compatibility – There is wider adoption of open standards and smoother hardware and software compatibility, Users can participate in video meetings from a wide variety of devices – smartphones, tablets, laptops etc.

Upgradeable capabilities – As time goes on the cloud VC platform gets more powerful, offering upgrades with new features and capabilities that keep users happy. Scaling up for more users is also as easy as switching a subscription plan.

From Laptop to the VC Room – Cloud VC comes of age

When Cloud VC first made inroads into the enterprise, it was as an inexpensive software based video meeting and video calling tool that could run off personal devices like smartphones, laptops and tablets. Most organisations preferred to continue with more traditional hardware-codec based solutions in medium or large meeting rooms or in other specialised collaboration spaces.

In the 2020s however, cloud-VC has really grown up. In terms of capabilities it has become the platform of choice not just for small and medium enterprises, but for large enterprises too. Microsoft Teams Rooms, Zoom Rooms, Webex Rooms or Meet Rooms have become a common sight across large organisations, even as cloud VC solutions now drive more complex rooms like boardrooms, training rooms, multi-purpose rooms and even Town Hall spaces.

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Looking ahead, Cloud VC will continue to grow rapidly in enterprise meeting and collaboration spaces. An important factor influencing this is the growing importance of hybrid work, for which it is almost ideally suited. The maturing of certified device ecosystems by most mainstream cloud VC providers has been another important step in making it easier for organisations to adopt Cloud VC in their meeting rooms. For teams, the whole meeting via video experience has improved in leaps and bounds. Integration between virtual meeting spaces and rooms is richer, more intuitive and more convenient. Features like One-touch join mean that you can just walk in and get started, while room scheduling, calendar integration and AV control can also be incorporated via platform certified devices.

These hardware devices bring better performance – audio, video and ease-of-use – and create a rich, seamless and consistent experience for users no matter what device they are connecting from. Cloud VC services also bring all the natural advantages of cloud infrastructure – scalability, reliability, manageability and upgradability.

How they match up — Cloud VC vs On-premise VC

For large organisations looking to implement video conferencing, on-premise systems were the only option for the early part of the 21st century. However, Cloud VC has rapidly caught up and perhaps even surpassed traditional solutions in terms of the features and performance it delivers.

Key criteria With On-Premise VC With Cloud VC
Deployment Longer and more complex deployment process and may require MCU bridge Teams can begin using VC almost instantly through personal devices. Rooms require integration though
Costs and ROI Considerable capex required to set up an on-premise VC network to support VC rooms which impacts ROI Cloud based infrastructure means capex is restricted to room endpoints, and much lower than traditional alternatives
Video/Audio Quality Have bridged the performance gap considerably – high definition audio and video compatibility Elitesimo
Reliability and Scalability Can be very reliable but require considerable management and monitoring by IT teams. Scaling up users may require system upgrades The cloud offers organisations with excellent reliability and scalability, supporting 100s of participants and easy access over the internet
Security On-premise is still preferred by data-sensitive industries like government and defence. Security needs active management by the organisation Enterprise-grade security is now available as part of most popular VC platforms
Manageability Requires higher in-house capabilities for management and support Organisations need to have minimal support capabilities as the cloud platform is managed by vendors
Vendors Offered by traditional hardware oriented VC companies like Cisco, Poly and Lifesize Popular Cloud VC solutions are from software oriented providers like Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Webex and Google Meet

Choosing the right VC platform for your organisation

For most organisations, Cloud VC has become a much easier path to making video meetings, calling and webinars possible across the organisation. Affordability, ROI and obsolescence are other factors making organisations, CIOs and IT Teams take a serious look at Cloud VC solutions for any new infrastructure.

As many employees show a preference for hybrid work situations, where they work both remotely and in-office, the flexibility a cloud-based system offers is likely to be invaluable.

While there may be some organisation types that continue to opt for on-premise video conferencing systems because of their unique data security requirements — banking, defence and government sectors — for most organisations cloud video conferencing offers an easier way.