Video conferencing makes the world a whole lot smaller for organisations. Those that have international bases, or take advantage of remote workers, can hold a meeting as if they were all in the same room. Saving travel time and costs.
Video conferencing can be used as a collaborative tool for teams on projects, with the freedom to take part and leave them as and when needed, rather than having to find a time everyone can travel to a set location and meet up. Participants can take part while sat in a coffee shop, in a hotel room or from their desk at home. It is a lot more personal than a conference call, allowing participants to see each other and put names to faces.
What equipment do you need?
- Webcam/Camera – Many laptops are fitted with webcams, while for small groups in a conference room taking part in the call then a high-quality camera is needed. HD cameras guarantee better quality than a cheap and basic camera.
- Microphone – either the microphone on a headset connected to the PC/Laptop/Mobile or a conference speakerphone. Speakerphones are fitted with integrated microphones in order to pick up noise from around the room it is set in, while some are fitted with noise reduction technology.
- Monitor – Whether it is a simple computer screen, or a large monitor/TV you will need a screen large enough to clearly see what is happening, who is involved and if needed be split to include a whiteboard.
- Video Conferencing Software – The perfect software will allow the sharing of screens so everyone on the call can see a ‘whiteboard’ and understand clearly what is being discussed. They will also offer easy file transferring and be scalable to your business. Consider software such as Skype, Lifesize, Zoom and GoToMeeting.
- High speed broadband network – A video conference will require a high data usage and therefore your broadband service must be able to handle it, or you risk having the conference dropped, poor video quality and poor sound quality.
Getting the best of your Video Conference
The upside of a video conference is that participants can get comfortable, and relax in their own environment – allowing them to be more engaged within the call. This can be sitting in a comfy spot at home, or wearing clothing that they can relax in (for some working at home, yoga pants and hoodies is more relaxing than a suit and tie). Each participant will need to double check their lighting, background noise and quality of their software beforehand, this is where background noise cancelling equipment is best. Although participants can take part from a coffee shop, a distraction free background is of more benefit because both the individual sat in the coffee shop and those on the other side of the call are not getting distracted by movement in the background.
Consider if any of the information being discussed needs to be documented, if so assigned a ‘minute taker’ who will make note of the key points, and then share this file with all participants. A single document in a cloud sharing facility will make reduce the time and number of documents associated with the calls. If you need to record the whole video conference, then consider recording software.
If you are considering adding video conferencing to your communication channels then let us work out the best software and equipment to work with your current system.