The ability to see and hear a loved one is the reason more families are using apps like Skype and Google Hangouts to have their own mini-videoconferences on a regular basis. All that practice on smartphones and laptops means that people are getting good at using their personal devices to communicate via video.
Regular practice makes a difference when it comes to technology. There is a learning curve, and sometimes it is steep. But when you are making your mistakes with your friends and family it isn’t as big a deal. You aren’t carrying the responsibility of professional presentation when you videochat with your buddies. Since there isn’t the pressure of perfection you are free to figure out what works and what doesn’t.
This carries over into the realm of business videoconferencing. More professionals are choosing to conduct their remote collaboration with colleagues using their personal devices since they are familiar with its use. This works fine for one-on-one or small group meetings where smaller screens don’t matter. But when it comes to the larger business videoconference with professional presentations, screen size might matter a lot.
Confidence with personal videoconferencing gives confidence about using larger setups. The basics are familiar so you can move into new territory. Using a video conferencing facility for large meetings makes sense because the equipment can handle the need to share a lot more information. It’s already set up to work as soon as you walk in.
The great thing is that you can connect both kinds of setups, the video conferencing facility and diverse devices, using the WhyGo network.
BYOD, or Bring Your Own Devices, is an increasingly popular way to participate in video conferences on the job. There are some considerations, however. A recent guest article on TPO News points out the benefits and the challenges of this growing trend.
Benefits of BYOD for video conferencing are in allowing employees to utilize their own devices. This lowers the company cost, enables familiarity and customization with each device, and potentially increases the use of mobile and cloud-oriented IT strategies to efficiently complete work tasks from any location.
Challenges of implementation with one’s own device include data loss or unauthorized interception while online, loss of the device itself (unless the device has a secure method of data protection) and the ability of the employee to use the device for other potentially risky activities online.
Security should be considered carefully when developing a BYOD policy. Business applications would benefit from added layers of security, mandatory defense protocols, and traffic signal encryption. Developing corporate rules governing the practice should be undertaken with the input of security IT professionals.
BYOD is a valuable addition to the possible ways a business video conference can be held. Like anything else, it’s a good idea to understand both the benefits and the challenges before deciding to include it. It is possible to access a video conference on the WhyGo network with a device, because the Outlook PlugIn allows the user to connect any person, on any technology, on any network, in any venue with just a few clicks.
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.
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.