Using Group Video Conference for Your Business

If you are a small business and are asking yourself why you should invest in a multipoint or group video conferencing software, here are four important reasons why you should make this investment.

"using group video conference for business"

1. Cost-effective meetings

With video conferencing, you are able to cut down on travel expenses, especially when you have large teams in remote locations that must travel to work on even the smallest collaborative tasks. Since meeting in person is always prefered, there is the tendency to justify traveling. But with Multipoint video conference, you eliminate the travel expense, time and energy involved.

2. Allows Remote Workers to Feel Included

When you have lots of branches or locations for your business, video conferencing is a very cost effective way of making each site feel involved in important company functions. Rather than putting everyone on an audio conference which comes across as impersonal, multipoint video conference allows you to connect with everyone, with everyone hearing and seeing the same message.

3. Engage Participation in Meeting

When compared to audio conference calls, using group video conference for your business allows you to engage your audience better at meetings. And since everyone is seeing everyone, especially when you have 3 or 4 sites, participants are more likely to pay attention, keep engaged and participate fully in the meeting since they can all see each other. The video below highlights some of the challenges with audio conference calls and makes a strong case for why you should invest in a video conference platform.

4. Provide Timely and Effective Customer Service

Rather than troubleshooting a problem with a client over the phone, especially one that involves technical and mechanical parts, video conferencing allows you to show them in real time and watch them do it. If the solution requires a review and collaboration from multiple sites, Multipoint video conferencing allows you to be able to help the customer by connecting them with all the key players involved, thereby helping them get to the bottom of the issue quickly and make the customer happy.

Using Google Hangouts Video Conference for Business

There is no denying it – Google Hangouts is a powerful tool packed with features, especially given that it is a FREE tool. For a full review of Google Hangouts check out our Video Conferencing Tools for Small Businesses. In this post, we are going to focus on using Google Hangouts Video Conference for Business, especially growing your customer and client base.

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There are several ways you can use Google Hangouts to benefit your business. First, it can be a great tool to connect teams at various sites to collaborate on projects or discuss business needs and issues. If you have teams scattered across the country, one way to bring them together for effective collaboration is using Google Hangouts. They can see each other, share screens, share files, demonstrate products to each other and trouble shoot problems together all while being able to see each other via video conference.

Second, you can use it to provide customer service to your clients, especially when it requires demonstrating specific programs, tools or equipment to them or helping them trouble shoot issues with your product or service. There is nothing more frustrating than miscommunication between a vendor and client about a product that needs to be fixed. A simple way to address this is organize a Google Hangouts with all the key players on the call – so that together with the customer, you can find a solution to their problem.

Third, you can use it to be a content marketing tool. This allows you to create and share relevant content in your industry. You can share relevant content with your users and customers, on topics they will find useful. You just set up a Google Hangouts meeting and invite your followers and customers to attend. That helps you establish yourself as a subject matter expert, which introduces your business to a broader range of customers who would otherwise not have found you. You can also hold limited seat webinars on relevant topics in your niche or industry, helping you cement your reputation as an expert in the space.

Fourth, you can use it to hold press conferences on exciting things that are happening in your business, and invite people in the press, especially local press and bloggers that will be more willing to write about exciting local businesses. With a Google Hangouts press conference, you will be able to have a more engaging press conference and clarify any issues or concerns the press may have before they review or write about your exciting news.

Finally, you can use Google Hangouts to offer consulting services to your clients. This allows you to provide one on one engagement and tailor solutions to their needs. You can invite team members at other sites to join you, providing your clients a solid base of talent and value, in a format that allows them to ask questions, get feedback, and share ideas while being able to see each other without having to make a trip.

For a quick tutorial on how to use Google Hangouts for business, see the video below.

We hope you found this post helpful on how to use Google Hangouts for business. If you are using Google Hangouts in your business in other creative ways, let us know in the comments section below. We would love to hear from you.

Free Multipoint Video Conferencing Software Review

We have gotten emails about whether we plan to do a free multipoint video conferencing software review and point readers in the right direction about which apps live up to the task. Here is our initial review. We will follow-up with individual reviews later, which will provide a more detailed look at each software and the pros and cons. By definition, multipoint video conference means a video conference call that requires the participation of 3 or more sites.

Google Hangouts

"free multipoint video conference"

Google Hangouts is a late entrant to the free video conferencing space but has become a formidable competitor to Skype (reviewed below). The hangout capability comes as  the default chat app on Android devices. Google Hangouts allows you to connect with up to 10 people in a free web conference.

One of the things we like about this service is that regardless of how poor the data connection is, Google Hangouts seems to deliver a good experience, which is really important when connecting with lots of people with different data or broadband capabilities on their devices. Another neat feature is that Google Hangouts is integrated with Google Voice so you can call regular telephone lines and have them as part of your conversation (iOS only). You can also text and chat in the Google hangout application, making it a one stop shop for video conferencing, sharing information, chatting and texting with multiple people all at the same time. Here is how it works:

Google Hangouts is also cross-platform, and there are native apps on both Android and iOS, plus a web version that runs on Google Chrome. You can download it for free from Google Play for Andriod devices or the App Store for Apple devices. You can also get the desktop version online.

Vidyo

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Vidyo, the video conferencing firm has a free multipoint video conferencing service called VidyoWay. It can be used from smartphones and PCs, and also from corporate conference rooms using Polycom, Cisco/Tandberg and Microsoft Lync endpoints, among others. It allows up to 9 HD participants in a video conference, making it more suitable for business environments.

We get a lot of questions about why Vidyo will offer VidyoWay as a free service. The answer is simple – They want VidyoWay to serve as a marketing tool for Vidyo’s paid, higher-quality corporate services. Once you see how powerful the VidyoWay video conference experience is, you are more likely to upgrade to other Vidyo conferencing products with more bells and whistles that you may need for your business needs. Here is how it works:

Skype

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Skype was the first to bring video conferencing services to the masses and have remained an industry trailblazer in the space. Skype is ideal when connecting with another person for video conference. All you need is to download the Skype application and just connect your webcam and microphone to the USB ports on your desktop and you are good to go. If your device or computer already comes with a built in camera, then all you need is a microphone or headset to conduct a video conference.  Skype can offer multi-point video conferencing with up to 10 participants. However, to use the service, at least one person on the call needs to have a Premium account (which is $9 a month). Note that you can do person-to-person video calls (point-to-point) for free. When you need 3 or more participants on the call, then one participant has to have a Premium account. The pricing sheet below shows what you can do with a free skype account and what the Premium account offers.

"skype multipoint video conference calls"

Here is how it works:

You can download Skype here. Skype is truly a multi platform application, with Mac, PC, Android, Windows and other devices like gaming consoles all supported.

ooVoo

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ooVoo is a free video conferencing service that allows you to video conference with up to 12 people. Once you download their app, all you need to do to start a video conference is by choosing Web Call in your contact list, then select Add a Call to add another friend. When you invite friends to a group chat, they get a link to download ooVoo and an invitation to call you to join the chat.  You can even add friends from Facebook, Outlook, Twitter, Gmail, and AOL mail.

ooVoo has apps for Facebook, iPhone, iPad, Android, PC, and Mac. ooVoo works well on a Windows 8 computer, but has no dedicated Windows 8 app. ooVoo’s  best feature, the ability to chat with 12 people at once, doesn’t work completely on all devices. While it is seamless on a PC, Mac users can only see six people, but can hear all 12. The iPad app lets you see only four contacts at once.

ooVoo needs to improve their user interface if they are going to compete with established platforms like VidyoWay and Google Hangouts. Also, there are display ads in the application, which can be quite large, making the experience quite unpleasant since the ads are in your face. We think that they should first work on making sure their application works on cross platforms seamlessly, so that if I am making a call on an iphone and inviting someone who has a windows or android phone, the experience is seamless and that we all see the same thing.

In addition they need to do something about the ad placement. They need to make it such that it is not intrusive to the video conference experience, otherwise it becomes a nuisance and people will be turned off by that. For a free app, ooVoo works, but needs a lot of improvements to compete with the big boys in the space for Free Multipoint Video Conferencing Software.

Here is how it works:

We hope you found our review useful. If there is a free multipoint video conferencing software or application we neglected to mention, please let us know in the comments section below.

Mobile Video Conferencing Solutions – Vidyo

Vidyo provides a very robust mobile video conferencing software solution on both ios and android devices. It was one of the first companies to take video conferencing mobile. They now have apps for Apple’s iPhones, iPads and iPods as well as Google Android based smartphones and tablets alike.

Mobile Video Conferencing Solutions – Vidyo Review

What we like about the Vidyo solution is that first, it allows users on smartphones and tablets to get on video calls with participants on similar devices or on desktops computers or room systems. That caters to people on the go that need to jump on a video conference call quickly but cannot connect to a desktop, laptop or room system.

Another reason we like Vidyo is that they are a software based platform, so their entire focus is making video conferencing software better across platforms, unlike Cisco or Polycom that try to do both hardware and software at the same time. Vidyo is taking a different approach to the enterprise model where companies buy hardware and software for their conference rooms. Instead, the company is focused on software that feeds the BYOD (bring your own device) market which is driving the surge in software video conference solutions. This has also been helped by advancement in cloud computing techonology.

Description of Vidyo Mobile Conferencing Apps

The video above goes into details about how the Vidyo mobile conferencing functionality works on smartphones and tablets. Here are reasons why we think you should choose Vidyo Mobile Conferencing solutions:

1. Works on hardware and devices you already own
2. Conferencing Distributed in the Cloud
3. VidyoRoom Systems don’t require purpose built rooms
4. Scalable and Flexible even on mobile devices

As a business, we think picking Vidyo is a solid choice because not only do you get in room and desktop capabilities but you are also able to deploy their mobile solutions, helping your team to stay connected all the time, no matter where they are or what devices they have available.