Getting the most out of conferencing technology

The conference room is where many of a business' best ideas are conceived.

One of the most important components of unified communications is conferencing technology. Communication is the cornerstone of effective collaboration; in a business setting, conferencing is often regarded as the communication portal of choice when multiple parties are involved. The ability to bring people who are working remotely into a single room can yield huge gains in productivity.

Crystal clear audio conferencing

Audio conferencing is an especially productive communication portal. Unlike email and instant messaging, it allows for a fluid back and forth discussion among multiple parties. Video conferencing certainly has a role to play in the conference room. However, in many cases, audio conferencing is the go-to solution, mainly because it is easier to launch a call and requires less bandwidth. An informal, weekly conference between a small team of employees just to make sure everyone is on the page, for instance, would be a prefect use case for audio conferencing technology.

"The beauty of audio conferencing is that it is quick, direct and collaborative."

That said, audio conferencing quality should not be garbled. There are exceptions, for example, depending on the equipment end users might have in a home office. But if the solution in place requires participants to say the same thing two or three times, it's time for a new solution.

General ease of use of the audio conferencing solution is also important. In the example of a weekly meeting between a small team of workers, these employees should be able to leverage a personalized conference bridge, so that they won't have to generate an access PIN every time they hop on a conference.The beauty of audio conferencing is that it is quick, direct and collaborative – at least when used properly. 

Video conferencing

The video conferencing market will be worth an estimated $6.40 billion in 2020, which is nearly double its worth in 2013, according to Transparency Market Research. This growth is the result of increased adoption of a powerful business communication tool. This is not to suggest that video conferencing will supplant audio conferencing; there are many situations in which audio conferencing is the superior choice, such as when there is low bandwidth, or for casual daily or weekly use between collaborators.

That said, video conferencing is the closest substitute to an in-person meeting outside of business travel. Making the most of a video conferencing solution does not necessarily mean using it every day or in place of audio conferencing, but rather relying on it in higher-stake situations, such as for a remote job interview or to communicate with an especially needy client.

The ability to see the other people on the conference helps establish greater confidence in the communication thanks to the addition of body language and facial expressions. Communication is more refined, which it needs to be in certain business communication settings. 

Mobile conferencing lets employees collaborate from any location on nearly any device.Mobile conferencing lets employees collaborate from any location on nearly any device.

Mobile features

Mobility has become hugely important in unified communications. According to a recent study by VMware, companies that have adopted mobility practices have reported a 150 percent return on investment, which bodes well for the future of mobile UC.

The most effective use of conferencing technology, therefore, entails the inclusion of mobility. Mobile VoIP makes it possible for employees to audio conference with one another regardless of location. The only prerequisites are Wi-Fi and a smartphone with the mobile UC application installed.

Video conferencing from a smartphone is also possible, assuming bandwidth permits it. Businesses must make sure that they pay close attention to the mobile capabilities of their respective conferencing solution. Otherwise, they could be missing out on opportunities for greater mobility. 

Effective business collaboration in the modern age begins and ends with collaboration tools. Make sure that your business is using conferencing technology to its full potential.