Compared to audio conferencing calls, video conferencing offers a clear leg up. With the right tools, a video conference can be as good as – and more efficient than – being there in person.
As more businesses catch on to the value of video conferencing, more solutions have entered the market, but few companies come close to challenging the two titans of the enterprise video conferencing space: Polycom and Cisco.
Cisco and Polycom Systems are the giant players in the industry for a reason: both offer highly functional and seamless video conferencing solutions.
Many of the features offered by both companies overlap; both offer reliable, high-quality video conferencing products. For maximum security, both companies also offer on-premise and IP capabilities for maximum security and flexibility. Their pricing is broadly similar, and both offer an extensive range of products.
VSSi can help you configure a solution which fits your exact specifications, and provide support down the road. But for now, here are some factors to keep in mind when beginning your research:
Cisco systems are one of the first players in the video conferencing space, and is still the largest and most well-known. As an international conglomerate, they’ve been able to use their size to fund innovation and create a wide range of high-tech products.
For example, Cisco was a leader in developing 1080p and 4k resolution video options, and their current video conferencing solutions include audio triangulation technology to help filter out background noise.
Cisco focuses on the biggest enterprise clients; nearly all Fortune 100 companies use Cisco systems for video conferencing. They do customize their offerings by the size of the business, but their products can be more expensive and less streamlined for smaller businesses.
Polycom systems competes with Cisco with its smaller, more nimble company structure. They focus on hospitals, universities, and entertainment companies. While there are a number of large enterprise clients on their list, they focus more on public organizations than the biggest Fortune 500 companies.
They offer ostensibly more personal services because of their structure, but their main selling point is interoperability with other vendors. Polycom’s video conferencing tools work with Microsoft communication products like Skype for Business and Office 365.
In other words, where Cisco offers a wide range of products which work well with each other, Polycom focuses on fewer products, but ensures that they are open and interoperable with multiple vendors. Since over half of enterprise businesses use more than one vendor’s AV equipment, this can be crucial.
Polycom also claims that all of their products are both forwards and backwards compatible, meaning that new versions of their products will still work seamlessly with the previous and future editions.
Whether Polycom vs Cisco video conferencing is ultimately a better fit for your business will boil down to preference and your specific constraints and needs.
If you already use Cisco systems products, or have a complex or very large organization, looking into an appropriately scaled Cisco video conferencing solution may be the best choice. If you’re a healthcare, education, or entertainment company, Polycom may offer products which fit more seamlessly into your existing AV architecture.
Regardless of what you choose, VSSi can help you choose, design, install, and learn to use AV solutions so that you end up with an easy-to-use and effective set of audio-visual tools and maximize the impact of your investment. To speak with a VSSi representative, click here.
When it comes to video conferencing software, Zoom is the new(er) kid on the block. It was founded in 2011 by the original creator of WebEx, who decided to leave WebEx after it was acquired by Cisco 2007.
Since then, Zoom has been growing by almost 20%
per year. Cisco still
holds a large portion of the market, but Zoom is gaining on them, and
While there are still a few features that only WebEx offers,
users have increasingly flocked to Zoom.
Why? Here are a few reasons why we think Zoom conference solution is the best choice for many businesses:
Simplicity & User-Friendliness
To set up WebEx, you will
need multiple downloads and logins (client, extension, VCS control, TMS,
Smartnet, and a paid account). Starting a new meeting takes over a minute.
This may not be a big deal if the same people will be using the software every day, but if you have non-tech-savvy employees, or most of your staff will only use the conferencing tool occasionally, Zoom is a much better bet.
Zoom was built around the
idea that people are increasingly joining conferences remotely and bringing
their own devices to work. Most devices will support Zoom, and once the cloud
connector account and codec are set up, you can join a meeting in one click.
In general, Zoom is also
easier to integrate with third-party apps like Skype for Business. It’s
technically also possible to use WebEx with Skype, but the process to set this
up is complex and time consuming.
Zoom supports up to 100 video
participants in a single call, and up to 500 feeds. WebEx can only support 8
If your organization is big
enough to require collaboration among or between large teams of people, having
this limit on how many people you can include in a call can quickly become a
Ease of Collaboration
Zoom rooms let you keep track
of who’s present in an online meeting and look back on meeting recordings after
Zoom conference solution also embeds a number of other helpful collaboration technologies to support remote meetings.
For example, users can choose
custom virtual backgrounds to present themselves more professionally in online
meetings. Zoom rooms also offer built-in IM capabilities in the same interface
for text communication as well as audio and video.
WebEx offers some of these
features as separate add-ons, but they are sold as separate products for an
“Zoom Rooms” are another
compelling reason to choose Zoom, as they can offer broad collaboration
opportunities without the significant price hike and hassle of setting up a
fully custom Cisco WebEx configuration.
Zoom is built to run from a
single click on an iPad – and these rooms are multi-functional right out of the
box. It’s possible to sync calendars, share your screen, call another room,
conduct remote presentations using either your iPhone or a laptop, and more.
If the above reasons weren’t enough, Zoom solutions also
tend to be more affordable than WebEx solutions. Though pricing is liable to
change over time, WebEx solutions can run up to twice as expensive.
Zoom vs. WebEx: Bottom Line
Both of these tools will get the job done, but considering
the overall user-friendliness, features, customizability, and value delivered
by Zoom, we recommend it over WebEx for most businesses.
Interested in learning more, or getting your questions about video conferencing answered? Contact us here.
Regardless of your presentation needs, there are many potential AV configurations on the market. VSSi works with businesses to help design custom AV solutions to fit any space and business scenario.
Many of our customers are unsure whether a video wall or projection-based system will better suit their needs.
Of course, both LED video walls and projection systems are highly functional and impressive solutions.
Both can be customized to provide modern high-tech aesthetics and support multi-media presentations. Both offer cost-effective, high-res, and flexible solutions.
However, whether a video wall vs. projection system will be more effective for you depends on a few key elements about your organization’s space, business, and AV-needs.
Here’s a short guide to video walls vs. projectors:
LED Wall Considerations:
Video walls have changed dramatically over the past two decades; modern solutions are slimmer, more energy efficient, and offer much higher resolution, and less bezels (space between panels) than ever before.
Since they’re made up of multiple panels working together, video walls can be configured into multiple shapes and viewed at many angles. LED panels also reduce glare and can be used outside and in areas with plenty of ambient light.
They are also modern, impressive-looking and elevate the spaces they’re installed in. Unlike some projection screens, video walls can be installed piece by piece. If you need a big solution, but have space constraints like small doorways which might otherwise prohibit large hardware, video walls are a great option.
Because the picture is native to the screen, video walls often require less space than projectors and can be viewed from farther away. They often also have better color saturation.
They are typically a larger up-front investment, since installation can be intensive and component parts are high-tech and must match each other. Some older models can also be more energy intensive than projectors, since each panel used to require its own power source.
Projection systems have been around for much longer than video walls. Since there are more options available on the market, projector component parts tend to be more interchangeable. It’s generally possible, for example, to upgrade only the projection screen or only the projector and scale up slowly. Depending on the model, projection screens are also more energy efficient than multiple-panel video walls.
Ambient light can be a problem for projection systems; they work best in conference rooms, banquet halls, and other rooms which can be darkened to avoid glare. Because the video is removed from the source, you’ll also need a way to keep the space between projector and screen clear of people and other obstructions.
However, projection screens are highly customizable by size and can more easily be moved to new locations. Projection-based systems can be cut into multiple configurations to fit unique shapes.
Projection systems are typically much less expensive up front than video walls, though replacement parts – especially bulbs – can increase the price tag. You may need to factor in potential additional costs such as cleaning and maintenance, blackout curtains or high-quality projection screens.
LED displays are typically less high-definition than projectors, though this again varies depending on the specific solution you install. Standard high-def projectors can be up to twice the pixel height of standard LED video walls. Whether this matters to you will depend on how far away your audience will be – at larger distances, attributes such as brightness and color saturation may be more important than fine details, or vice versa.
Video Wall vs Projection System: What’s best for your space?
Both projection systems and video walls can be customized to provide an impressive and flexible solution for your organization’s needs.
Knowing how you will use your AV system and what your space is like will help you weigh the pros and cons when choosing a video wall vs. projection system. In light of the considerations detailed above, questions such as:
- How big is the space? Is it an indoor room which can be fitted with blackout curtains, or a sunlight lobby?
- How far away is the audience, and what kind of presentations will you be supporting with AV?
- How much do you want to invest now, vs. down the line?
- Will space constraints make installation difficult? and
- How important are color saturation and brightness vs. image sharpness?
are all important to consider when making a decision.
Whether you want a custom video wall or cutting-edge projection solution, VSSi will work with you to ensure that you maximize the results of your budget and end up with a solution that fits both your space and your organization’s needs. VSSi makes custom-built high-tech AV solutions and supports projects from concept through execution and support down the road.
To learn more, see some of our past installations or get in touch with us here.