Editor's note

The growth of video conferencing technology has been undeniable. What used to be only for large companies and executives now works for smaller businesses and all employees. For businesses, the question used to be if they should purchase video conferencing technology. It's not a question of if anymore; it's a question of which is the best video conferencing tool for their companies.

New players have come to challenge the old guard, and the number of video conferencing vendors has grown. This buyer's guide provides IT buyers a roadmap to selecting the best video conferencing tools that meet their companies' needs.

The biggest change to hit the video conferencing industry has been cloud technology. Before the cloud, companies that wished to employ video conferencing technology needed to implement a complex infrastructure on premises and install proprietary hardware. The cloud has essentially dissolved that infrastructure and made video conferencing products more affordable, while still maintaining the quality of an on-premises system.

The ubiquity of mobile devices has made users more comfortable with video collaboration. Because of that comfort, video conferencing is working its way into project workflows, even if the company hasn't formally adopted a video conferencing tool.

Smaller businesses and growing companies are beginning to experience the benefits of the flexibility and increased productivity that video conferencing systems enable. Larger companies are seeing the benefit of cloud-based video conferencing tools, too.

That's not to say there's no place for on-premises video conferencing. Nor are all cloud video conferencing tools built the same. Some businesses have a mixture of cloud and on-premises tools. There are industries that require the security and ownership that only come with on-premises video conferencing products.

While the need for video conferencing is apparent, the choice of which vendor is not. Picking the best video conferencing tool that works in certain business scenarios is a surefire way for a company to succeed in its communications strategy.

1Adopting video conferencing is no longer out of reach

Before cloud and software as a service, the best video conferencing services were regulated to the board room and to large companies, and only for internal use. Now, they're available and affordable to most businesses. Here are reasons why businesses should be purchasing video conferencing tools.

2Factors to weigh when assessing video conferencing tools

For most businesses, making the call on which video conferencing tool to choose is as simple as choosing between on-premises or cloud products, but there are finer points to assess. A company's ability to manage a network or an enterprise's need for a firewall could determine what is the best video conferencing system for its needs.

3Selecting the best video conferencing tool that's right for you

A business should select a video conferencing tool based on its needs. The capabilities, deployment options and business models of video conference vendors differ greatly. Guided by internal and external research and expert insight, here's an assessment of just a few of the vendors in the space and how they fit certain business scenarios.

4Assessing video conferencing vendors

Before deciding which product to purchase, read these in-depth overviews that cover technical specifications, pricing and licensing information, and support options for video conferencing tools in the market today.