Learning the Ropes of HD Video Conferencing

We understand that not everyone is born a techie and that some are intimidated by or have a hard time accepting the new ways people and colleagues communicate today. Remember hearing all the criticism texting received when it was first being used? “Why can’t those kids just talk to each other?” Or, “People are going to forget  how to speak to each other.” Well it hasn’t turned out like that, has it? Now it’s Video Conferencing’s turn to receive the criticism. You might say, “Why do I need to see you when I can just text you?” Or, “We can have a three-way phone conference; why should we have to do video?” Yes, video web meetings over social sites are gaining a lot of traction. But what about enterprise grade conferencing suites like LifeSize video center, Scopia Mobile from Radvision, or standalone room systems? These Video Conferencing systems all have a place in the business world, so the people that are going to use them need to know how to work them. Individually, someone may choose to use whatever video platform they see as the best or easiest to use. Corporately, they have no choice except what is passed by the CFO and IT department as the company’s video system. How are we going to train 20, 50 or 100’s of employees to use this technology and get our money’s worth out of it? That’s a common question that may go through a CEO’s head when deciding if HD Video Conferencing is a conceivable option. Here is some information on what to expect and how to overcome common issues in HD Video Conferencing.

Multi-point video conference

Common Questions and Training Problems

Understanding and navigating the interface.

How can I use this? What are the applications?

Knowledge of bandwidth requirements.

Most people around the globe are used to either a Windows interface or a Mac interface. Some are simple and easy to use while others are not. To get started, the best thing to do is to take some short notes on where the contact list is located, how to start and stop a presentation, and other basic information. Make HD Video Conferencing amongst employees a daily practice, even if it is not entirely business related. Confidence in using the system will grow and there will be fewer chances for mistakes such as pressing the wrong button, accidentally hanging up the call, or showing the wrong presentation and not knowing how to end it.

When people first encounter HD Video Conferencing there may be uncertainty about what can be done with it besides the basic phone calls. But, with the video aspect included,  your boss can now see the reaction on your face when he or she asks about your reports. Video adds a physical level to communication that cannot be expressed by voice alone. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a Video Conference is worth a thousand emails. Another benefit applicable to this system is visual demonstrations. Showing someone how to take apart a device, collaborating on a circuit board with a document camera, or even taking music lessons are just a few of many visual meetings that can take place with Video Conferencing. Just about whatever you can do (outside of physical contact) face to face in real life, you can do in a Video Conference and have all your questions answered immediately, instead of waiting for an email or forum reply. As Video Conferencing evolves, the applications will become broader. Today we’re just scrapping the surface.

The biggest issues that stand in the way of successful deployment of Video Conferencing are network and firewall problems. Without sufficient bandwidth, your Video Conference will be lacking in the quality you might expect. To avoid this problem, some companies have a dedicated circuit just for their video. Hospitals and governments use these specific circuits for their superior performance. For example, when a surgeon is using Video Conferencing to help perform a surgery on the other end point, there can be no chance of disruption from other devices dragging down the bandwidth. Most systems require 1Mbps for high definition calls. If your location has 5Mbps or less, you may run into some connection problems if you’re calling in HD. The more the bandwidth, the better. Then there is the issue of the firewall. Protecting a company from outside threats is very important and must be done correctly. Unfortunately, Video Conferencing has a hard time getting through firewalls. The IT department can install systems that push the video protocol through, but that means letting down part of your protection. This topic really is a whole new subject, and deserves its own post. Keep in mind that when your Video Conferencing session is having complications, it may not be the systems fault, the IT department’s fault, or your computers either. It may just be a bandwidth issue.

Next time:

Videoconferencing Training

  • Where are the place’s I can Video Conference?
  • What kinds of things can I share from my computer?

 

Contact Face to Face Live for more information about HD Video Conferencing