There are two main types of video conferencing systems: software and hardware based systems. Each of these systems has its own set of pros and cons. With that in mind, here is a detailed look at video conferencing software vs hardware systems:
Video Conferencing Software
Video conferencing software can either be cloud-based or installed on devices such as desktop PCs, tablets, or smartphones. Besides the relevant video conferencing software, you would also require a webcam and microphone in order to participate in video conferences.
Video conferencing software has become increasingly popular because it is affordable. In fact, most web conferencing programs do not charge for basic features. However, consumers often have to pay to access premium features.
2. Easy to set up
Video conferencing programs are generally easy to set up because all you have to do is install or access the relevant software online. This also means you do not necessarily have to hire an expert to install or configure a videoconferencing solution.
On the quality front, video conferencing programs are generally inferior compared to hardware systems. For instance, some web conferencing solutions suffer from freezing of video images, meaning they may not be suitable for conducting important meetings.
2. Camera control
Most video conferencing programs lack camera control features. As such, you would need to align your webcam before initiating communication with another person.
3. Limited capability
Compared to hardware systems, web conferencing programs have limited capability. For example, they do not support life-sized video images.
Video Conferencing Hardware
Hardware video conferencing systems refer to video conferencing solutions that are installed in a dedicated room. As such, they are usually called room-based videoconferencing solutions.
1. Greater functionality
Room-based conferencing solutions afford users greater functionality compared to software-based solutions. For example, some solutions come with basic video editing features and even support virtualized deployment. What’s more, they can also be used for on-demand viewing and live streaming.
2. Integration with in-house systems
Most hardware video conferencing systems support integration with in-house systems. For example, some support integration with Microsoft or Cisco workplace solutions.
3. Camera control
Hardware systems come with camera control features such as zooming, panning, or changing the focus of a camera. The increasing popularity of virtual reality is expected to lead to similar changes in the video conferencing sector.
Acquiring and installing room-based video conferencing gear is typically expensive. As such, small and medium businesses may be unable to afford these solutions. Moreover, you may also need to hire in-house experts to maintain your hardware video conferencing system.
2. Dual room usage
Room-based video conferencing may inconvenience other employees, especially in a business that is unable to dedicate a room for this purpose.
Video conferencing has become essential for businesses communication. However, whilst software-based solutions are generally cheap and easy to set up, they have a limited capability, lack of camera control, and poor image and sound quality. On the other hand, room-based videoconferencing systems offer greater functionality, camera control, and integration with other systems. However, they are generally expensive and can cause dual room usage conflicts.