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Can Your Video Conferencing System Connect with Mine?

The “always on” workstyle is here to stay. We all have hyper-connected, super-powerful smartphones and laptops, so attending a meeting, editing a spreadsheet, or sharing a presentation can happen from anywhere. But while our personal communications are fast, seamless, and one-tap easy, the tools we’re bound to at work are a frequent source of frustration.
 
What we want is a seamless, “no worries” way to connect, collaborate, and engage with our colleagues. We want the HD-quality video (or better) that’s been in our smartphones for a decade. We want to connect with others without worrying about which meeting service they’re on or what brand of camera they use. We want to start meetings, share screens, and move between meeting rooms without thinking about it. In other words, we want our remote collaboration to just work, so we can just get to work.
 
So what’s holding us back? It stems from the way the video collaboration industry is clinging to legacy technologies and proprietary services. Over the years, it has fueled a culture of complacency among end users who have settled for less because that’s all there was. But now there is a way to rise above it all.
 
In-room conferencing is where businesses are demanding a shift. The massive migration to the cloud, coupled with the simplicity of consumer technology and apps, has made the complexity of the typical in-room conferencing setup seem downright ancient by comparison. The lack of interoperability is yet another point of frustration with these proprietary and vendor-locked in-room systems. It’s maddening that the tens of thousands of dollars you spent on vendor A’s system does nothing to help you connect to a meeting scheduled by a third party on vendor B’s system.
 
Consider, if you will, what happens when we send a text to a friend today. When you text someone from an iPhone, you don’t care if they’re using an iPhone or Android device; you just know your message will go through. But if you installed a Cisco Webex Room Kit, for example, you can only connect with other Webex systems. This might be fine if you’ve deployed the same systems across your locations and, critically, only ever need to have meetings between those locations. But that’s not practical. The reality is most businesses use more than three different systems across their organization and often need to connect with organizations outside their own.
 
Here’s another option: Use technology to solve the problem. Specifically, modern video collaboration tools can leverage WebRTC and SIP interoperability to overcome vendor-to-vendor incompatibility. This enables your teams to use the hardware and software you’ve already deployed to connect with parties using other hardware, solutions, and meeting services.
 
For most incumbent video conferencing vendors, however, it’s not that easy. They might use a mix of different hardware and maybe connect it all with an in-room NUC or Mac Mini. But if they share their APIs, using WebRTC and some creative software development, they can make their service interoperable from both sides, allowing inbound and outbound connections from the meeting room itself. With this ability to connect to other video conferencing systems from a single device in your meeting room, you can finally say: “I don’t care which conferencing service you use, let’s just get to work.”
 
There’s a huge opportunity for video conferencing vendors to work together and offer an experience where every system is compatible, just like a text message. Until then, we’ve developed our own solution, which we call the Highfive Meeting Connector. It’s free to all of our customers. Those with an intelligent Highfive Meeting Room can now easily join other video conference meetings—all with a single tap, from a single device, and without ever leaving their meeting room. Visit Highfive.com to learn more.

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