Businesses wary of investing in HD video conferencing

Every major IT retailer surveyed as part of the research said sales of basic video conferencing packages are on the up. Yet doubts about the current hardware in UK offices to handle the content is the main reason preventing more HD video conferencing taking place. In addition to this, half of respondents had fears about their current internet connections providing sufficiently reliable connectivity.

Tony Grace, Chief Operations Officer of Virgin Media Business, said: “Video conferencing has firmly established itself as an everyday tool for business. As we enjoy more HD content at home, we’re increasingly expecting similar quality in the office. The latest iPad has a HD screen, but many executives can’t use it to hold a HD video conference with colleagues. That seems odd to us and is one of the rare examples of consumer technology superseding business technology.

“It’s true that streaming HD content requires more bandwidth, but businesses should rest easy in the knowledge that business-grade connections can handle this and are rigorously tested to ensure their reliability.

“The real issue is that older hardware simply can’t handle HD quality content. It presents a tricky dilemma for business owners and CIOs. They recognise the need to use HD services, but don’t want to make wholesale, and expensive, upgrades to their hardware.

“One way businesses can gradually introduce more HD-ready hardware, without paying through the nose for it, is with employee initiatives such as ‘Buy Your Own Device’ (BYOD) schemes. These allow employees who really need HD equipment to get the hardware first as each person is given their own budget to buy the hardware they need. It means businesses don’t need to shell out huge sums in one go across the company.”

Virgin Media Business research also revealed nearly one in five of companies already offer BYOD schemes, with a further 20 per cent looking to introduce them within the next twelve months.