There are a lot of possibilities available for making a phone call become a video call, and there’s nothing wrong with it as a quick way to connect. After all, the ability to speak face-to-face without the time and expense of travel is what the WhyGo Network is all about. But there’s a distinct difference in quality between connecting on a little bitty screen and connecting in a professional conferencing venue.
3 Advantages Professional Conferencing Venues Give You
If you are connecting one-on-one, that smartphone or laptop will probably be adequate because there are only two of you dealing with any tech issues that come up. But each new member to the conversation adds another layer of complication because the set-up is not like a professional conferencing venue.
- Professional conferencing venues have invested in the technology to equip their rooms with exactly what is needed for business conferences. They have all the equipment and a professional IT staff that knows how to make it work right.
- Professional conferencing venues are dedicated rooms that are set up to create the perfect environment for video conferencing, from the lighting to the drapes to the way the chairs are arranged around the table.
- Professional conferencing venues have the hard-wired connections that provide adequate bandwidth for both sending and receiving signals without the interference that can affect wireless signals.
If you are an experienced IT person, you can DIY an impressive video conference. Don’t get us wrong. But most of us do not have the experience to make a video conference the high quality meeting that is possible from a professional venue, and most of the time it is a mistake to try. If a lot of money is at stake, investing in renting a professional conferencing venue is a good idea.
There are professional venues — video conferencing & telepresence facilities — all over the world in the WhyGo network. There’s one near you!
You wouldn’t necessarily think that schoolchildren are going to be at that video conference, but remote collaboration is fast becoming a regular part of the classroom and other learning environments for all ages.
For example, High Tech Youth Studio empowers students aged 8-25 in underserved communities in the Pacific with Lights, camera and creativity. This program originated in Otara, New Zealand ten years ago and has grown from six students on the first day to 30 on the second day and over 600 participants today. According to the article, this program is designed to be a safe place for youth to expand their horizons:
” … the range of creative expression will be nearly infinite. The after-school facilities will offer state-of-the-art learning where youth can experiment with animation, robotics, engineering, website design, video game development, software coding and music and video production.”
On the other side of the world, Kids build robots, explore engineering ingenuity, and do it with the help of video conferencing. The Robot Garage sends boxes of parts to places like a library in remote areas and then connect in a video conference to a room of kids exploring the science of robotics. According to Beth Weigel, programming and events coordinator for Juneau Public Libraries:
“The event is a combination of a video conference with the Museum of Flight, using the OWL (online learning) system to connect with them to talk about the history of robots, where things are going in the field and the kind of things they can be used for such as in space, in the home and just everyday use,”
It’s exciting to see what technology is being used to do in education all over the globe. WhyGo has seen a lot of changes happen in video conferencing and we look forward to seeing what will happen next!
Sometimes it is helpful to have a checklist of things to go over before the actual video conference starts. If you are using the WhyGo Outlook Plug-in and network for your meeting, some of these will be automatically covered.
Video Conference Planning Checklist
- Contact all attendees and coordinate an appropriate date
- Verify attendance and the mode they will be using to attend the video conference
- Email everyone the agenda and contact information, including who is in charge at each location
- Email reminders of basic video conference etiquette and procedure
- Contact those in charge at each location to answer questions and verify individual tech needs and alternate procedures including troubleshooting
- Do test runs of all connections before the meeting starts with the same providers, etc. that will be used during the meeting
- Make any changes that are needed as a result of your test runs
- After the meeting ask for feedback and suggestions to improve the next videoconference
The Foundational Importance of Technical Support
Every location that is using technology to connect needs to have access to technical support. If you are not utilizing rooms on the WhyGo Network, then the support should be verified before you get into attempting to troubleshoot while trying to take part in an important conference.
If you are using WhyGo’s network to connect, then there’s already a support team available any time in any time zone every day. We have three–in Sydney, Australia, in London, UK, and in Dallas, US. That means that you can call and we can answer or get back to you quickly, any time you need help.
Have you tried to have a video conference with a group lately? The current trend seems to be to let everyone use their favorite device to get in on the meeting, but many are starting to become frustrated with the actual dynamics of trying to talk to a group where one member is on a laptop, one is in a coffee shop on a tablet, one is at their desk with a monitor and still more are in a conference room set up for video conferencing with a big screen.
What happens is that the guy on the laptop doesn’t come across well on the big screen, and the big screen people are trying to hear what coffee shop person is saying over the noise of the espresso machines. The fact that all these different endpoints can be connected doesn’t mean that it’s the best connection possible.
WhyGo can certainly connect any device and any network, technology, or venue. Remote collaboration is what we do and we are good at it. But we can’t control what the quality is when the endpoint is not actually part of our network. We connect as well as is technically possible and the user has to be responsible for the rest. (Maybe that guy in the coffee shop should rethink where he sits next time.)
The best way to be assured of a high-quality connection with every member of a video conference is to analyze the various endpoints beforehand and take appropriate steps to ensure that each member is able to be where their audio and visual participation is as good as possible. Your video conference experience will only be as good as the ability of your members to participate.