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The Best Conferencing Solutions for Start-Ups

The Best Conferencing Solutions for Start-Ups

2022-08-23

For most businesses, video conferencing has become a vital tool, with research showing the number of people who work remotely has grown 400% since 2010. This means that 98% of meetings are now expected to include people working from home.

Video conferencing holds great potential for businesses of all sizes, but especially for start-ups. Consider the following:

  • Holding meetings virtually means you can save on increasingly expensive business travel, and it’s an environmentally kind option, too.
  • If most of your staff can work remotely, you require less office space, if any at all.
  • Video conferencing is more personal, helping you build and maintain connections with colleagues and clients.

However, the huge range of options can make choosing an appropriate one difficult. Start-ups typically have smaller budgets for new technology, so cost is an important consideration.

Evaluate Your Business Needs

Every business has different needs. Finding the video-conferencing solution that’s right for you involves careful consideration of what those needs are. Do you anticipate lively meetings with a discussion between members in the same room as well as talking to others who are remote? What sort of space do you have available for conferencing rooms? What virtual collaboration scenarios do you think you will encounter?

These scenarios might range from weekly status meetings, brainstorming or just spontaneously discussing a problem, to interviewing new hires, pitching to clients, or holding training sessions.

Figuring out your needs will help determine what sort of screen, microphone, and camera setup you require, along with the feature set you require from your conferencing software.

For small businesses, pricing will obviously be top of mind, so it’s essential to factor this in when comparing solutions, features, and return on investment.

Hard vs Soft Codec

A codec is a software or hardware that encodes and decodes audiovisual information so it can be transmitted between parties. There are two primary categories: hard and soft.

Hard codecs use specialized hardware to encode and decode the information. They require that you purchase and install equipment in your meeting room, along with a camera, display, and microphone – if you’re not using an integrated system. They run through dedicated back-end servers. Hard codecs are the traditional video-conferencing systems you’re probably familiar with from meeting rooms at large companies.

Soft codecs use software to encode and decode audiovisual data, without the need for dedicated hardware. Web-based video conferencing uses only an internet connection, the software, and a device such as a computer, tablet, or smartphone. Soft codecs include programs such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Google Meet, which have grown hugely in popularity since the start of the pandemic. Zoom users increased 2.900%, while Microsoft Teams recently surpassed 270 million monthly active users (up from 250 million in July 2021).

There are pros and cons to each of these solution types.

Hard Codec Pros

Greater reliability: Because hard codecs run on their own hardware, they experience fewer bandwidth bottlenecks and are more stable. While this typically means a higher price point beyond what start-ups can afford, MAXHUB’s range of UC solutions is real value for money, especially compared with similar products on the market, making them perfect for small businesses.

Better quality: The hardware is dedicated to handling audiovisual transmission, with no other background processes or software updates running like you might have on a computer, tablet, or smartphone. This means it can offer better-quality calls. Paired with a high-quality camera, this makes for a highly professional video-conferencing experience.

Stronger security: Hard codecs feature enterprise-grade security with fewer vulnerabilities, making them suitable for transmitting sensitive information. Along with sophisticated encryption, the MAXHUB UC S10 features agnostic conferencing platforms that run on all major meeting platforms.

Hard Codec Cons

Higher price: Dedicated video-conferencing systems are typically more expensive, putting them out of reach for most start-ups.

Compatibility issues: Hard codecs have historically been less cross-compatible than soft codecs, although competitive modern offerings should interface more readily with other systems.

Soft Codec Pros

Affordability: For businesses on a tight budget, soft codecs present an affordable, scalable video-conferencing solution. The major solutions all offer free versions with plenty of functionality, although you’ll have to pay for longer meetings or more advanced features.

Ease of use: Solutions like Zoom, Teams, Meet, and Webex are all designed with the non-technical user in mind. Some don’t even require software downloads as they can run through a browser.

Soft Codec Cons

Quality issues: Soft codecs run on devices that are constantly wrestling with a host of other processes, creating potential computing power and bandwidth bottlenecks. These can result in compromised video or audio quality, disrupting meetings.

Weaker security: Although they have made progress in this regard, soft codecs typically feature less robust encryption than hard codecs. In a class-action settlement, Zoom recently paid out $85 million to users whose meetings were disrupted by abusive pranksters.

What to Look Out For

As a start-up, you’re looking for the best value for money, but you also want to ensure you get a future-proof solution that suits your unique circumstances.

Businesses that are on a tighter budget but don't want to compromise on image quality may opt for a non-interactive screen such as MAXHUB’s Digital Signage. Bear in mind that high resolution and effortless screen-sharing are essential for productive meetings in a variety of spaces.

On the other hand, MAXHUB​'s interactive flat-panel technology represents a comprehensive solution for presentations, collaboration, brainstorming, and conferencing. Although more expensive, this doesn’t require investment in any other equipment. To get the most from your investment, you need the broadest possible feature set. To simulate the real working environment as closely as possible, be sure to choose a solution that offers annotation, intelligent input recognition, and easy screen-saving and sharing.

MAXHUB offers a wide range of professional video-conferencing solutions to help start-ups become competitive in today’s evolving business environment.

Learn more about how MAXHUB can help your business grow.

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