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How Much Video Conferencing Company Wide?

This is the third of three posts on video conferencing utilization and how to predict that use for room-based and desktop-based endpoints. Most of the discussion so far has been around determining the utilization of equipment for efficiency purposes (how well is my investment being used), or for determining the maximum demand on the network (peak bandwidth).I was recently working with a customer who intended to use a managed services provider for multipoint conferencing support and wanted to use a per-minute billing methodology. The service provider priced out the offering on a per-minute per-endpoint basis. The logical next question was "how many minutes per month will we use?" This question drives a simple ROI analysis to determine if the company should instead purchase the expensive multipoint bridge and bring this capability in-house, or if it will be cost effective instead to use the service provider.

One approach to answering this question is to use variations of the calculations as shown in my previous post, estimate the number of calls that are multipoint calls (at least three endpoints), and use that to determine minutes per month in multipoint calls. But because this company was just starting the process of deploying its first video conferencing equipment, no good statistics were available for utilization.

Again working with Jim Idelson of DesigNET, we came up with a different model for predicting the number of video conferencing calls per month for a company as follows:

Table 1: Calls per employee per month

This chart indicates the number of calls per employee per month to expect for these different call scenarios. It is based on two dimensions--level of deployment and level of acceptance. The rows indicate the level of availability of video conferencing to employees within the company, with the bottom row indicating that all employees have access to video conferencing capabilities. The top columns differentiate how well video conferencing has been accepted by the company, and how often it is used. Where the first column is primarily driven by planning and investment, the top row is more driven by executive sponsorship and by internal marketing of the video conferencing capability. And acceptance is also very dependent on having a high quality, easy to use and reliable service.

To use the chart, choose the row and column that fit your enterprise profile, and then multiply the value in that cell times the number of people in your company. This will give you an idea of the total video conferencing calling to expect.

Jim and I have tested this model against data from a number of companies we know well. If you have data on your company, please comment on this blog or send me email to see how well this chart works for your situation; I would love to see if this model works over a broader range of companies.