To own or not to own a video room?

Office Space Using Digital Display Technology - Thought Leadership Tech Blog.

That’s the question.

As organizations grow in size and their need to communicate over video increases, management is faced with an important decision.  Own a video conference meeting room, or rent one on an as-needed basis?

Why Rent?

Renting a video conference meeting room when it is required is a popular choice.  Room rentals allow companies to pay for the service only when it‘s needed, and in theory it’s a smart decision to control costs for low usage cases.  It can also be very convenient, as these rooms are designed and configured to allow clients to walk in and start their meeting with a white glove service. These facilities will also have technical staff on site to assist with presentation technology, to ensure the meeting runs smoothly from start to finish.  When the meeting is over you can walk away and not worry about the technology left behind.

Room rentals also provide a global solution for international companies.  Your conferencing partner should be connected to the global room rental network and provide options based on the location of the meeting participants. Room rentals are also a good option when a large on-site audience is required.  They are harder to find, but some facilities can host 50-100 in-room participants.

These rental rooms also come with additional services that can be quite attractive, such as:

  • Professional grade audio and video equipment
  • Video bridging (virtually joining two or more meeting rooms)
  • Video recording
  • Teleconferencing integration
  • 24-hour access
  • Catering

As for cost, simple room rentals can range from $250-$500/hr, and larger rooms with HD conferencing capabilities can cost upwards of $750/hr.

Why Own?

There are two main reasons that companies usually don’t invest in their own video conferencing system.

First is the cost.  Yes, a traditional video conferencing system does come with an upfront cost that companies are hesitant to invest in.  A dedicated video conferencing room that contains display, video codec, camera, microphones, speakers etc. can start at $35,000 and go beyond $50,000.  However, once installed, the system can be used 24/7, allowing for increased use and greater ROI over a longer period of time.  There is also the convenience factor of being able to stay in your own office space vs. traveling to a room rental.

The second reason tends to be the perceived demand on the IT staff to maintain the system. IT teams are very busy supporting the existing day-to-day activities in an office space and aren’t always willing to onboard an additional technology that they aren’t experts in.

This is where a system integration partner can step in and fill the gap.  A system integration company like Audability will take care of the design, installation, and in some cases the ongoing support of the video room.  A good partner will also take time to work with the IT team to educate them on the system so they have a good understanding of the devices on their network.

The final component is user training.  Once the system is installed, the integrator should create a user guide and provide on-site training for the employees to ensure that the system is used to its fullest potential.