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.
One of the great advantages of using a video conference to collaborate with colleagues is your ability to utilize a computer presentation to clarify information. Also called a “PC connect”, transmitting the screen of your computer to the other participants is a useful way to give software presentations, images of charts, and more.
So, if you are using one of the thousand options WhyGo offers as a site for your videoconference and you would like to use a PC connect, here are some tips:
- laptops, both PC and Mac, are preferred
- you’ll need to have a VGA/desktop monitor-style connection
- any software can be used; ie. Excel, Word, or PowerPoint
- your screen will be shown on a TV screen at 800 x 600 so use this display setting
- large fonts that show clearly on a TV screen are best
- crisp, subtle coloration works best for this format — no bright blocks of color
- keep your content centered so it won’t be cropped inadvertently
When you set up your conference, you will need to let the room provider know that a PC connection or Scan Converter will be needed at the time of booking. Ask if there will be an additional cost, and also ask for access time before the meeting so you can configure the equipment.
Make sure your connection is VGA (not RGB) and that you have your AC power supply and charged batteries. The middle of your video conference is not the time for a lagging laptop! Once your equipment is set up, hit F8 on your keyboard to tell the computer you have a second screen.
If you have questions about the technical side of things, give us a call. WhyGo has over ten years of experience providing telepresence and video conference networking and we will be glad to help yours be a success.
It is so easy to rent a public video conferencing room with WhyGo that you might assume it all will work like magic. There could be some issues arising if you have multiple devices being used to access the meeting, because not all devices are compatible. There are just too many different types of software, network, and devices in use today for all of them to work with each other.
Still, most large video conference meetings have attendees using more than rented videoconferencing facilities. Some may be joining you from a hotel, their private telepresence room at the office, or even from home. As long as the bandwidth is sufficient and secure and their equipment is compatible, it works fine.
So, suppose you’d like to attend a conference from home? That’s not a problem if you do your homework before the meeting. The ability to meet with each other remotely is extremely popular, and services are constantly being developed to help users get past compatibility problems. It’s a matter of knowing what will be in use and verifying that all expected attendees will be able to connect to WhyGo’s network.
You can easily do this by testing your connectivity before the conference. If you need help, contact the team at WhyGo and we can give you support. We want your meeting to be successful, and that means everybody has to have a quality connection. The rooms in the WhyGo network have passed that test, but attendees using their own equipment and networks will need to make sure they can keep up to that standard.