Teleconferencing technology is at a turning point in today’s workplace. While 68 percent of companies are using videoconferencing, it is underutilized.

If your company is looking to expand its videoconferencing capability, it’s important to be informed about the latest technology available to today’s business, since advances in this area have made traditional teleconferencing solutions outdated. Here’s a look at some of the key trends and tools characterizing today’s teleconferencing technology.

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Web-Based Videoconferencing Tools

One major trend in videoconferencing has been a migration from traditional room-based hardware to web-based videoconferencing tools, Ingram Micro Advisor says. Traditional room-based conferencing solutions typically cost tens of thousands of dollars or more.They also have other limitations, such as the need for a dedicated room to avoid scheduling conflicts.

Today’s web-based videoconferencing solutions, such as virtual meeting software, slash the cost of teleconferencing dramatically, making videoconferencing a feasible option for even small and medium-sized businesses. Web-based tools also allow more flexibility in location selection than room-based solutions, while overcoming some of the barriers that have previously favored room-based solutions. For instance, 8×8 Virtual Office is easy to set up, and support is provided both by staff and by an extensive online knowledge base that facilitates self-service. The software is also designed to adjust to bandwidth constraints, providing a reliable connection even over Wi-Fi and the public Internet.

Unified Video & Audio Communication

Unified communication is also characteristic of today’s tools, Gartner says. Traditionally, most teleconferencing solutions have been audio or video oriented. Today’s cloud-based tools can handle audio and video equally. Moreover, they come integrated with cloud-based office suite programs and features, supporting sophisticated communication and allowing users to work together on projects.

For example, you can use your web-based office suite’s calendar to schedule a teleconference, and then send out invitations with your  email or instant messaging tool, all without having to leave your application. You can also share files, or share screens so that your conference partners can see your audiovisual presentation as you talk. You can even share a virtual whiteboard to facilitate a brainstorming session. And you can use your project management software to delegate tasks and view progress without leaving your meeting app.

The Emergence of the WebRTC Standard

The growing popularity of cloud-based teleconferencing has promoted the need for new communications standards. One standard that has grown predominant is the Web Real-Time Communication or WebRTC standard, a free open-sourced project that uses APIs to provide web browsers and mobile applications with real-time communications capability. WebRTC bypasses the need to install plug-ins or third-party software, making web-based teleconferencing simpler and more accessible to a wider range of users.

Real-time Monitoring Tools for Quality of Service Control

The performance of videoconferencing tools depends heavily on a reliable connection, which has led to the development of real-time monitoring tools to ensure quality of service (QoS). For instance, Nectar Evolution enables companies to deliver unified QoS across a wired or wireless infrastructure. It uses rules-based policies to configure network resources so that quality of service is ensured during a teleconferencing session for both wired and wireless connections. This reduces network costs while improving user experience.

~ Jiro