The use of the video conference is fast becoming one of the most popular ways to connect without expensive travel. Researchers and developers can collaborate, workers can telecommute, effective job interviews can take place, and educational opportunities can be expanded by using technology to meet “face to face.”
The one thing technology cannot compensate for is the way the participants act during a video or telepresence conference. You still need to be aware of etiquette and how to use that technology wisely.
- Test your connections before the meeting starts to get the best sound and picture and then leave it alone. It is distracting to have camera angles and volumes fiddled with during the conference, and it looks unprofessional.
- Everybody is on camera. All of you, all the time. It’s like a movie shot, and you are on the set. That means no multi-tasking or goofing off during the meeting even if you are in the audience. You will be seen, and probably heard as well.
- Look at the camera. Putting the camera above the screen helps here, but remember that if the camera is off to the side, when you look at someone’s face in the screen, they will see you looking off to the side. This is counter-intuitive, so figure out how to do this. Practice this with friends before the big meeting because it is important.
- Use the mute button! Some equipment is voice activated and will automatically switch visual to you if you speak…not what you want to happen if you suddenly need to cough. Know what your setup will do and how to use it.
Technology is a tool, and the best way to use a tool is training and practice. When you use one of the public video conference or telepresence facilities on the WhyGo network, we provide training material and information guides as well as a global support team 24/7. At the venue, the equipment will already be set up and tested for you. Then you will be on camera, and it is up to you to look at the camera. Use the mute button, pay attention, and have a productive meeting.
The sudden need for a video conference often results in scrambling together a few screens and a camera in a back office and hoping for the best. Unfortunately, the best is not what you get. Video conference rooms have to be designed for the purpose of successfully transmitting picture and sound.
- Lighting can cast weird shadows on faces and make it difficult to see expressions. Use several sources of brighter, diffused light from the sides and overhead.
- Adjust cameras so they are above the screen. This way you look at each other instead of that shifty sideways stuff. Also, the screen should be eye-level when occupants are seated.
- Have two screens in larger groups, one for content sharing and one for faces.
- Pay attention to acoustics. Sound bounces off hard surfaces and distorts. Carpet, curtains, and sometimes acoustic panels will fix this problem. Also use the best microphones possible, like the multi-directional unit in the center of the table. Just remember that it picks up everything you say & do in the room.
- Seating and table configuration should give everybody an equal view of the screens. It should also give everybody a good position for contributing to the conference, so check each seat for camera angles & mic access.
- Background needs to be very neutral. Pictures, plants, etc. will clutter instead of enhance. The idea is to see the participant, not the decor.
- Technology integration is another deal-breaker. If your devices can’t talk to each other, you are wasting everybody’s time.
Another problem many enterprises have with setting up their own video conference facility is the wasting of valuable resources. Tying up space and technology for a video conference room can cause budget restraints. But there are two ways to deal with this problem: instead of setting up your own, you can go to the nearest room on the WhyGo video conference facility booking system; or you can become part of the WhyGo network by adding your room. Our reseller solutions can turn a rarely used, well-designed video conference room into another stream of income.
Skype is a very popular platform for connecting with family and friends. It is an easy way to speak from your laptop, and any living room or kitchen table is a great venue for this kind of conversation. It’s fun to have Grandma squinting into the screen saying, “they can see me?” and see a nephew’s upside-down head get in the way as he mugs the camera. When the signal gets mixed and the call is dropped, you just call back and go on. Family and friends don’t need professional backgrounds and perfect pictures to show love.
But business associates and colleagues are another matter. There really is a different set of expectations for video and audio quality because it is a different kind of communication. The screens need to be larger for groups of people to be able to see, compiled data needs to be accurately transmitted to other participants, and there is no tolerance for pixelated pictures. Skype is not really designed for groups to communicate on a professional level.
Video conference and telepresence facilities are designed to do exactly that. The room is designed and equipped to be a professional venue with the goal of perfectly communicating and showing the participants in a good light. That good light is a real thing: careful attention to lights, cameras, background, microphone pickup, and the rest are part of the package.
WhyGo offers a network of public video conference and telepresence facilities that are available to rent all over the world, over 3,500 venues. A lot of folks find that our FAQ page is a good place to start looking into improving the quality of their remote collaborations by renting a facility instead of using an app.
As the global emphasis on careful consumption of energy grows, the way a company impacts the environment — its carbon footprint — becomes a factor in more than philosophical discussions. There is disagreement on exactly how a company should do it, but the consensus is growing that companies should be reducing their carbon footprint in some way. It’s good for the environment, and it’s good for the company to be able to show their efforts to be “green.”
One of the easiest ways to reduce a company’s carbon footprint is to utilize technology for remote collaboration. It takes far less fuel to travel to a public video conference or telepresence facility than it does to fly to a meeting in another country. You can even bridge to compatible devices and private rooms, although the quality of the connection can vary. Sharing the use of the venue keeps your actual impact on the environment low.
WhyGo offers the largest network of public video conference and telepresence facilities in the world. Every one is searchable on the booking system, and when you pull up a location you can see exactly what kind of equipment and services it offers along with how many attendants it can accommodate. Multiple sites can be compared and reserved, all online. Of course, you can call too. Either way, you get solutions to the challenge of reducing your carbon footprint and continuing to effectively conduct your growing business.
Your customers want to know you care about the global environment as much as they do. Using public video conference facilities instead of building an often-empty private room and using technology instead of jet fuel are two convincing ways to prove it.