It’s a debate any IT/UC engineer is likely to have – which unified communications/video infrastructure solution model is best — an premise or cloud video conferencing solution? Much like a famous alcoholic beverage that touts a great ad campaign promising “Great Taste … Less Filling!,” where the commercials portrayed a drinker shouting its great taste followed by another who vigorously disputed that it was less filling. There is a similarity that lies within the unified communications and video collaboration industry. Only which one is better?

This debate though, much like the alcoholic ad campaign, feels dated. On one side stands the shouting fans of “on-premise”, the tried and true stalwart that offers the greatest control.  On the other side are the vocal supporters of the “cloud”, which provides a different customer investment model that eliminates most of the upfront capital costs. Both equally appealing, for their own respective reasons.

Perhaps both fans on either side of the match up, will be surprised to learn that either solution delivery model can be successfully deployed to support enterprise use cases. The best option for an enterprise may not be as obvious at first glance, and some examination of an enterprises true needs have to be taken into consideration. Consider the following scenarios:

Scenario 1: On premise video conferencing

Enterprises who have already (1) invested in on-premise video collaboration technology and (2) configured its wide area network to best support calls with best quality, reliability and security can continue with on-premise only solution model or implement a hybrid on-premise and cloud model.  The latter may prove to be the best option in terms of economics to add infrastructure resources (e.g., bridge ports, virtual meeting rooms) on-demand and as needed from a cloud service provider to more effectively support specific use cases such as virtual meetings with non-company people and townhall meetings.  The enterprise can use analytics to determine and justify the optimal reference architecture to support the business use cases onward.

Scenario 2: Cloud video conferencing

Enterprises who have numerous geographically dispersed small offices and teleworkers may seriously consider a cloud-only option.  A cloud solution could be a much lower cost option. At first glance, you may think a few well-chosen pieces of on-premise infrastructure would suffice. However, if most of the remote offices are small 2-5 person offices with no IT on-site, the situation becomes more complex. Without the proper support for an on-premise solution, the setup and configuration becomes harder as opposed to just offloading the responsibility to a cloud service provider.

Scenario 3: Hybrid video collaboration

Enterprises who have geographically dispersed large offices may seriously consider a on-premise only or hybrid option.  An on-premise solution can be a much lower cost option since most of the video communication can be supported within its wide area network versus more expensive out-of-network options. However, a cloud service provider can be leveraged to support calls and conferences with non-company employees if needed.

While fans of on-premise argue it “tastes great” and supporters of the cloud model believe cloud video conferencing is “less filling,” both sides make the case for the highly attractive characteristics and value of video collaboration, the best business communication modality to increase workforce productivity and customer engagement. At Vyopta, we are dedicated to offering analytics and engagement applications to enable enterprises to optimally implement and manage “on-premise”, “cloud” and “hybrid” models. No matter which solution you choose, either video conferencing model will not replace or displace each other. Depending on your unique needs for your organization, they have proven that they can peacefully coexist – even within the same company – and are another sign of the dynamic, innovative and growing global video collaboration industry, proving that at this point, it’s a classic debate of the ages.

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