Comparing hardware based video conferencing with software based video conferencing is like comparing traditional approach with the modern approach.
Traditional approach of video conferencing is hardware based, wherein a huge setup is required. Apart from having all the required hardware, from microphones, webcams, speakers to projectors, one also needs to maintain them and remain updated with the latest developments in the field. A completely dedicated IT staff and a person to monitor the complete conferencing are also required. There are chances of calls being disrupted in between due to poor connectivity or hardware troubles. If at all a person happens to trip in the mess of the wires then again the call could get disconnected in the middle. The hardware based video conferencing needs a dedicated budget to have the system and maintain it as well.
The modern approach to video conferencing is software based video conferencing, wherein the system, be it a laptop, tablet or mobile, supports the software of video conferencing and this software is downloaded in the system. One would need a decent internet connection to have video conferencing. This software based video conferencing doesn’t require a dedicated staff, huge setup or maintenance unlike hardware based video conferencing. Software based video conferencing is very cost effective. It is preferred more and more by small firms and individuals.
Software based video conferencing has many features, tailor-made for the users. The chances of video conferencing getting disconnected or snapped in between due to hardware technical snag are very less. In this kind of system many participants can join the video conferencing from various locations at the same time.
Hardware based system has many participants at one single place from a particular room for video conferencing with, maybe, one participant, or participants,at another location, unlike software based video conferencing. Hardware based video conferencing is more secure compared to software based video conferencing.
The organisations that cannot afford huge setup cost, maintenance of the conferencing products and upgrading the video conferencing system frequently, prefer software based system. Using software based video conferencing, one can have one-to-one meetings, multimedia data exchange, or group meetings, lectures, etc.
Software based video conferencing is used in remote areas to impart education, training, small discussion, supervision of medical procedures, etc. More people have started to work from home for various reasons. In such cases software based video conferencing is more preferable than hardware based video conferencing.
Defence forces use hardware based video conferencing in a dedicated safe environment with dedicated staff and setup to safeguard the important information from leaking out.
Both the systems have their own disadvantages and advantages and organisations choose systems according to their affordability, accessibility and necessity.