What are the benefits of high-definition video conferencing?

Irwin Lazar explains why high-definition video conferencing is the way to go for enterprises and which technology supports HD video.

We're thinking of investing in high-definition video conferencing. What are the benefits of using HD video for meetings, and which technology supports it?

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With 85% of organizations increasing the number of telecommuters, according to a Nemertes Research study, and 89% considering themselves "virtual workspaces," high-definition video conferencing isn't the exception, it's the expectation. Workers perceive the value of video. They use video at home with Skype and FaceTime, and now they want it at work.

HD video is coming to the desktop quickly, and it's widely available in both consumer and enterprise services. Enterprise HD video systems keep getting cheaper, crashing through the $3,000 barrier for HD point-to-point. And there is room for growth: Seventy-two percent of enterprises have deployed video conferencing to less than 2% of desktops.

There are tangible benefits that come with using high-definition video conferencing, including better nonverbal communication and more lifelike appearances. HD video becomes an enabler, not an obstacle to collaboration. Depending on the industry -- for example, healthcare or garment manufacturing -- high-definition details could help with actual job functions.

It is important to know the technology that supports high-definition video conferencing. H.264 scalable video coding (SVC) allows for high-quality video even over lossy networks. All video vendors are now supporting SVC, but with limited interoperability. H.265 was approved by the International Telecommunication Union in January 2013. H.265 allows for 50% reduction of bandwidth for HD video, and will incorporate SVC. Right now Cisco is the only vendor embracing H.265 and no services are available yet, but keep watching this space.

Learn more about high definition video conferencing:

  • Securing high definition video calls: Learn what security options are available for high definition video conferencing and how to test security services.
  • Video conferencing quality and bandwidth tradeoffs: Learn how video resolution and frame rate affect image quality and how much bandwidth you'll need to support video conferencing.


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