When the local Social Security office in Barstow, California closed, it left residents facing a drive to the Victorville office to meet and discuss problems they may encounter. Along with the distance, many seniors in particular do not have transportation for such a drive. To solve this problem, the Barstow Senior Center has set up a facility where Locals will be able to use video-conferencing on Fridays.
Budget cuts forced the Social Security Administration to consolidate offices, but this innovative solution to the problem gives residents access to needed government services on Fridays from 9 to 11:30am. There are plans for more flexibility if many people are coming in and more time is necessary. The ability to set up appointments or scheduling other times will be simple now the basic equipment has been installed.
This is not the only place a government agency has used the flexibility of video conference technology to meet with those needing services; according to the article, an island in American Samoa is helping citizens with their needs remotely. In fact, a quick search of “video conferencing” will usually result in one or two news items about such services being instituted in many countries all over the world.
In the years since WhyGo started the use of remote conferencing technology has grown dramatically. We’ve watched that growth from the middle of the activity, because we’ve grown, too! Now there’s over 3,500 video conferencing facilities on the network, three global operation teams, and much more is on the horizon.
It just makes sense to us that you will see this technology used more and more in everyday life. And it really makes sense to use it for meetings that used to involve a lot of travel and waiting room time!
One of the nice features about our Outlook booking system is the ability to see exactly what the availability of your venues and people is for the dates you are trying to schedule. This “snapshot” of availability provides an overall look at all the factors:
- private rooms
- public rooms
We even built in a conflict resolution feature to help you figure out when the best time for everybody will be, so you can get the meeting booked and on everybody’s calendar. And you can add a virtual room to your conference call invites with no problem — BlueJeans, Easymeeting, MS Lync, VidTel, or whatever works.
A lot of stuff works, too! With the WhyGo Outlook Plugin, any video device (IP/H323, SIP, Skype, Google+ or MS Lync) on any network, with any bridge or MCU can connect. It all can launch automatically ahead of your start time. If you aren’t sure about something, just ask our amazing Global Support team any time…and that’s available 24/7.
The ability to make communication simple is an ability we think everybody should have. The snapshot feature of the scheduling system does that! Whether you are using the Outlook Plugin or a company-branded system, you get the same simplicity of approach.
There’s no reason why a video conference has to be much more complicated than a phone call in today’s technological world. Sure, it is a little more complicated on the tech side, but on the user side? Try out the Plugin and see what we mean — you will be setting up video conferences like a pro.
A room that is used for a business meeting may not be the best room for a video conference because the way a room is arranged physically and technologically affects the quality of both audio and visual communication.
Physical arrangement of furniture and lights changes the way a camera picks up the faces of the participants. It’s a good idea to have the table set up in a configuration that keeps everybody the same distance from the camera and microphone. There should be an unobstructed view for each member of the screen, too.
Video conferences should ideally give every participant a chance to actually participate.
Every video conferencing system will have unique requirements for optimal results. The support staff need to be able to set up cameras, microphones, video displays, speakers, transmission equipment, and the compression/decompression device that allow huge amounts of data to be transferred with little delay.
If the technology can’t work properly, the video conference will not work either.
Many times, the best solution for an organization is renting a public video conference room for their regular meetings. This allows them to have all the advantages of ideal physical and technological arrangements without having to dedicate a specific video conferencing room in their building.
WhyGo offers a world wide network of public video conference rooms that all meet this high standard. Take a look at all the possible locations you will find on our network and see which ones will work for your remote conferencing needs.
Setting up a space for a video conference can be slightly daunting, because there are factors we ordinarily do not consider in designing a meeting room. Your specific type of video conferencing equipment will have optimal installation tips, but problems can occur as a result of decorative choices. Here are a few of the things many miss at first, and suggestions on fixing the problem.
- Muted colors like beiges, pale greys, and the like will not cast odd colors on the participant’s faces. Decorating in the neutral zone keeps the background in the background. Patterns are best kept to the minimum, like a tone-on-tone or solid. The idea is that you don’t notice it.
- Non-reflective surfaces keep your lighting from glaring off a glass-covered picture or mirrored decorative object. This additional light means your camera adjusts to compensate, and your faces might be left in the dark. Think about photos you’ve seen with the subject in front of a sunlit window, and make sure there’s a way to adjust the light coming in from the outdoors, too.
- Minimal hard surfaces keeps sound from bouncing around and creating echoes. The reverberation affects your audio and might cause problems in communication. Avoid large glass on pictures or credenzas, and consider upholstery and drapes to control acoustic quality.
- Lighting should not cast odd shadows on faces. Set up several sources of different types of lights around the room. Use both incandescent and florescent lights in diffusing fixtures and avoid light shining at the camera.
- Trial runs of your video conferencing room allow you to see where a difficulty like glarish lighting or bouncing sound occurs and fix it. Once you have perfected your space, you may want to consider becoming a reseller and add a source of income to your business by renting out your room when it is convenient for you to do so.