There is a plethora of software and hardware on the market to support the ever-growing interest and need for video conferencing and telepresence technology. It is understandable that the consumer may feel overwhelmed by all of the options and their various features, price tags, and limitations. Let’s take a minute to focus on the hardware associated with video conferences and when you should choose to use which types of tools.
First, there’s your standard laptop or desktop configuration. Many modern computers already come equipped with cameras and microphones, but you can also use USB-attached hardware at relatively low cost. These conference tools are best for office workers who are only looking to interact with one or a handful of people – you can only realistically show yourself on this kind of camera, and the audio pickup isn’t strong enough to reach farther than a few feet away. Still, they are inexpensive, integrated, and useful tools for a lot of situations in which you may find yourself.
If you’re looking to include a bigger group in the conference, you may want to look at tools designed for conference rooms. There are larger cameras, cameras that rotate, ones with configurable views, and so on. These more adaptable tools are generally more costly but provide a more full experience for users who need to collaborate together on a conference.
Finally, there are mobile conferencing tools. You can use your smart phone or tablet such as the iPad to partake in a video conference on-the-go. These should really only be used when other options aren’t available, but that doesn’t mean that they are not convenient. Even free programs on these mobile tools can support a small group of conference participants.
Choose the video conferencing tools that are right for you!
The focus on video conferencing in recent times has been centralized around the software used to apply this technology to a wide range of platforms. With the roaring popularity of mobile phones, tablets, laptop computers, and other effective multipurpose devices, users are generally interested in finding software that can function on their current hardware. This is not universally the case, however – Polycom has just taken a step in quite an interesting direction to challenge existing hardware used in most businesses and offices around the world. Their new VVX 600 Business Media Phone comes with a video camera and tap-swipe features that make your normal office phone obselete. Conference calling can take on a whole new form with these phones installed in offices around the globe. The article from Gizbot elaborates:
“Business users can find this phone quite useful as they can get into video conference sessions using the Polycom VVX600 camera. As per the official press release, this business media phone will be launched in select countries for a price tag of $479 (approx Rs 24,450) and the Polycom VVX600 video camera will be sold for $129 (approx Rs 6,600). This desk phone has all intuitive controls for users to enable faster video communication and collaboration.”
An HD camera will also be listed as an option on the purchase. The price tag is really rather reasonable considering the effectiveness and superiority over current items on the market. Although it may not be realistic to stock every office in a business with these phones, having key conference participants hooked up with these tools may make things a lot easier for businesses that do a lot of remote collaboration.
Polycom continues to innovate in both the fields of hardware and software, and we are excited to see how the business media phone takes off worldwide.
Telecommuting has become more and more popular over the past handful of years thanks to rapid developments in the areas of video conferencing and other software and hardware that promotes productive remote work. One of the most interesting areas of advancement within this category is the subject of telepresence robotics. The combination of powerful video conferencing tools with intuitive robotics allows users to have a unique “in-office” and hands-on experience while working from a remote location. A new story about a rolling robot known as the Beam Remote Presence Device (BRPD) looks to change the way that remote workers present themselves in the office. The article from The Register explains:
“The new bot comes from an outfit called Suitable Technology, which seems to be having a a shot at bringing us the best of both worlds – the cheapness of telepresence and the intimacy of actual presence – by giving you the chance to mount cameras on your desk and beam the resulting vision to the BRPD. On-screen controls let you pilot the ‘bot around the remote office, so you can roll from room to room.”
It may sound a bit strange, but the possibilities with this new tool are very impressive. The user will be able to collaborate with people all around the office simply by navigating the robot towards them and holding what mimics an in-person conversation.
Of course, there are some obstacles for this product to overcome. Navigation may not be as simple in certain types of offices, and workers around the workplace will have to get used to its presence. With that being said, ti’s certainly an interesting advancement!
Video conferencing technology has certainly expanded a great amount over the past handful of years. Although it has theoretically been around for decades, the technology has only recently reached the public in a meaningful way. This is in part thanks to the ability of developers to put the software and systems on a variety of hardware platforms. Let’s take a look at a couple of platforms you can use when deciding to engage in video conferencing and how they differ from one another.
The most common platform for video conferencing might be the personal computers. Laptops these days generally come with built-in microphones and cameras, and even if they don’t, getting a USB attachment is not very difficult or expensive. Both Windows and Mac OS X systems can support a wide range of video conferencing software, from free tools like Skype to more powerful systems like Cisco’s WebEx and so on. Using a PC for video conferencing is beneficial because it has a large screen, powerful processor, and integrated tools.
The advent of the smart phone has also brought video conferencing to new platforms. iOS, Android, and Windows Phone systems are now able to support video conferencing software for mobile users. Though the screen may be smaller, it’s still a great way to take part in a video chat on the go, and phones generally have built-in cameras and microphones to make this an easy task. You might not find the highest quality systems on mobile phones, however.
The most recent example of new hardware that supports video conferencing is the development of the tablet. iPads, Android tablets, and other similar products boast larger screens and more powerful processors to take the mobile video conferencing world a level up. While it may not be recommended to buy a tablet for the specific purpose of video conferencing, they are definitely great tools for holding video chats.
Choose the platform that suits you best and enjoy the many benefits of video conferencing!