How to make your video conferencing work

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The death of Blockbuster video was predictable. Netflix came along and did video rental better. Along with Amazon and iTunes, Netflix is now a regular way for TV audiences to watch their favourite shows and films. Nowadays more than 80% of the adult population stream TV and films at least once per week.  

Between them, consumers have invested £ millions to upgrade the speed of their internet connection, home cinema displays, and surround-sound systems to enjoy the ultimate movie experience. If the quality is poor we know its because either our connection or our equipment is flawed in some way.

This behaviour is perfectly normal but does not always permeate to video conferencing. There is a tendency when experiencing a poor quality video call to blame the video conferencing device or the whole concept of video communications. To help you overcome this in your business we have identified the best ways to ensure a great experience when you use video conferencing.

Network

The more video systems that you deploy, the greater the potential impact on your network. Good bandwidth more affordable now but you must ensure you have reserved some of that bandwidth for your video conferencing calls.

Sometimes a video call will not connect properly. It is fairly common for one end to be able to see and hear their video counterparts whilst the other end cannot. The call is connected but video and audio only seem to be going one way. This can be caused by your firewall regarding incoming video and audio as a security risk. A good quality border controller should help you overcome this problem without compromising your network security.

If you are concerned at the impact on your network, you can run a network readiness assessment. This will help you identify any potential network issues before deployment.

Choosing the Right Systems

The range of video conferencing systems available can make this difficult. I doubt your users would be disappointed by the performance of any of those made by market-leading manufacturers (if deployed correctly). Make sure you choose the right system for the room. If you have a very small meeting room, a good quality USB camera may be good enough. Many vendors offer “huddle” room systems, which are appropriately cost-effective to justify populating small meeting rooms with video conferencing.  

Audio

For larger rooms acoustics can be a problem. You will need to think about quantity and positioning of microphones. Fortunately, most leading vendors offer white-noise reduction, echo cancellation and auto-gain (to enhance the mic pick-up for those sat further away) as standard. However large room acoustics is a specialist area, so consult with a reputable Audio Visual Integrator to ensure you get the best experience.

Cameras

One or two PTZ (Pan-Tilt-Zoom) camera will work well for most meeting rooms. These can be set with presets to ensure the camera is trained on the person speaking. Some vendors offer voice-tracking solutions, which means the camera will automatically find the person/ people speaking and zoom in on them. No messing with controls means more seamless meetings, which I think is a good thing.

Is Your Software Up-to-date?

Manufacturers are always working to get the best out of video conferencing systems by offering software upgrades. This will usually improve the video conferencing experience. However, if you are running different software versions on different systems, you can experience quality issues. Talk to your provider about what they can do to update all of your VC systems together in a timely fashion. My tip is to wait a few weeks before deploying new versions of software across your estate. This will mean manufacturers will have worked out any kinks in newly-released software so you don’t discover them.

Audio Visual Equipment

Video Conferencing manufacturers can offer up-to 4K video resolution and hi-fidelity audio performance beyond the range that humans can discern. You should choose AV equipment to match. The latest LED/ LCD and speakers will help you experience this quality. You don’t necessarily have to raid your piggy bank but you will need to choose the right size and quantity of displays, appropriate speaker, and microphones and positioning for each. You may also wish to offer a more accessible control system than the remote controls supplied with most room video conferencing system. A reputable AV integrator or IT supplier will be able to advise you here.

Companies usually choose to deploy video conferencing because they want to achieve greater productivity for their business whilst saving money; a great quality deployment will pay for itself. Recent technology advances mean that this experience is now more affordable than ever. If you plan to replace or newly deploy video conferencing in your business, why not speak to us? Call us on  01252 834 932, or take a look at the 5 things you should do before deploying video conferencing.