The Top Eight Priorities to Consider When Evaluating Video Conferencing Tools
1) Security – Security should be at the very core of the selection of any video conferencing system. You can easily begin your search by choosing from products that have met the strict standards set forth by NIST for FIPS 140-2, Level 1 Certification.
Many vendors state that all of their communications (sent over the internet) are encrypted, “end to end”, because they utilize 128 Bit SSL. The use of 128 Bit SSL encryption, alone, does not provide true end-to-end encryption.
Many vendors want you to think that FIPS Compliance is interchangeable with FIPS Certification. FIPS Certification, by NIST, is the only true guarantee that all of your communications, including audio and video, are secure end-to-end.
The real question becomes whether or not compliance, versus actual certification, meets the standards of your organization. Additionally, if compliance is acceptable today, are you prepared to switch out your web conferencing vendor, if your organization eventually requires a FIPS 140-2, Level 1 Certified web conferencing tool?
Response: VIA3 utilizes full AES 128-bit encryption combined with 1024 Bit AES Encryption to ensure all voice, video, and data are 100% secure. VIA3 is fully certified, in both the ON and OFF premise implementation of the product, to meet the Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS) 140-2, Level 1.
2) Audio and Video Quality – If members cannot be seen or heard…what is the point? Look for products that provide clear CD quality sound, crisp video imaging, and that are easily adjustable to achieve the quality you desire for each user.
Response: VIA3 offers clear CD quality sound and crisp high definition video imaging. Tools are built in to the product to allow all users to test and fine-tune both the audio and the video to meet their individual needs.
3) Ease of Installation and Use – Look for products that are provided as a single download for their entire suite of features. Many products require multiple downloads of different modules and network add-ons to achieve the full featured product. Ask to review their Installation and Training Guides before ordering the products.
Response: VIA3 is delivered in a single download for the entire suite of features. Our all inclusive approach has allowed us to keep the per user cost to less than $25/mo on the Winvale GSA contract. Quick and easy installation, a rich feature set and FIPS sercurity on an existing laptop/desktop have been the impetus for some highly prolific Federal installations of VIA3. VIA3 encourages potential clients to review the installation guide and training guides.
4) Customer Support Services – How quickly is the support staff available to you and how knowledgeable are they? Can they be reached via multiple ways: 1) by phone, 2) email, and/or 3) instant messaging? Is there an annual charge for their support? Is support based in the United States?
Response: VIA3 offers support through numerous ways. Fully staffed in the United States, VIA3’s entire customer support staff can be reached by phone, email, and even instantaneously through the instant messaging feature built right into the VIA3 product. There is no monthly or annual support fee, and all support services are fully available at no additional charge.
5) Depth of Features – Depth of features is what most companies use as their major selling point. Sometimes this gets overwhelming because you end up getting “sold” on features you do not need. The best approach is to find products that have a rich set of features built in at one low price that can be turned off/on as needed. Can you say for certain that your team will need the same features today, as they will six months from now? Additionally, you may not have the manpower, the time or the budget to face future downloads and reconfigurations, as well as additional training.
Response: Since VIA3 includes everything in a single download, one never has to worry about the scalability of the product. If you do not need a feature, you simply do not use it. However, if ever you need a feature (e.g., Instant Messaging or Workspaces for real-time sharing of files) it is there. Again, this is all included by default, at a single price of less than $25/mo/GSA.
6) Price – The important issue to consider is whether or not you are maximizing the dollar spent for the features needed in the product, and that you have a predictable ongoing cost for your web conferencing usage. You no longer have to pay for by-the-minute usage or by the meeting usage for a product, nor should you suffer the hefty cost of T-1 lines. Additionally, you should not have to pay for “extras” like the recording or the playback of a meeting.
Response: At less than $29/month for Professional Users and $0/month for Temporary users….for unlimited meetings and unlimited record/playback of meetings…and the ability to procure an unlimited site license either “On Premise” or “Off Premise”….VIA3 is the most affordable, feature rich, and secure web conferencing product available today!
7) Product Utilization – Where can you utilize the product? While video conferencing definitely reduces the time and costs associated with travel, the bottom line is that employees still need to travel. Is the product mobile enough to allow your employees to conduct virtual meetings wherever they are?
Response: VIA3 allows you to conduct meetings from anywhere in the world, at anytime. With VIA3, users can conduct virtual meetings while in a car, a train, or even on a flight – while still maintaining the FIPS Certified 140-2, Level 1 security!
8) Independent Evaluation – Has the product been tested and evaluated by an independent organization with a rich set of criteria against which all products are measured?
Response: To read an excellent report that discusses the top 10 web based conferencing tools and ranks them by many of the above priorities, please follow this link to: www.webconferencingcouncil.com
To view a 4:52 video demonstration of VIA3, please click on the following link:
http://www.via3.com/Info/ProductTour.aspx To download the free 15 day trial, key in Code CS for unlimited customer support during the trial.