Video-Conferencing is Easier Than Ever! Warren MI
Video-Conferencing is Easier Than Ever!
By Gregory Grabowski, PE
Do you need Video Teleconferencing?
While your particular need to conduct a VTC with clients or vendors may not be great, there are some business needs that can leverage this technology and save money on time and travel. Examples include arbitration and mediation businesses; contract negotiations; design reviews; team/meeting facilitation businesses; or any time face-to-face dialogue is required with 2 or more parties separated by time and distance.
To get your face and voice to one or more other parties and to see and hear theirs as well requires some specific equipment. You’ll need a Web ready camera and high quality microphone, a high-speed Internet connection (cable, ISDN or DSL), software to put it all together (for point to point VTCs), or a hosted service if you need to VTC with two or more other parties.
Although most of the web cams available in electronic stores or major online vendors today are of sufficient quality to do the job, the image of your business will be affected by the quality of your meetings. I suggest a USB 2.0 or greater WebCam with a frame rate of not less than 30 frames per second. You shouldn’t spend more than about $100 for a high quality camera, though you can spend a lot less.
The microphone cannot be underestimated here. A head-phone mounted set with a boom microphone is a must. I use a boom-mic headset which provides superior voice quality going out, and it keeps the speaker sound coming in up at my ears in order to prevent that annoying feedback screech. My set cost $130 and is worth it when I’m hosting a meeting.
A broadband Internet connection is an absolute must for a VTC. Cable, DSL or ISDN broadband connections are critical to eliminating latency, echoes, and drops in your meetings.
As most of my VTC meetings are point to point, I use Microsoft’s free NetMeeting® application. This is about as simple as having both participants log on, click a few buttons, and begin the meeting with both voice and video. Although limi...