Setting Up a Multi-User Video Conference
People have to meet with other people from time to time, even if they usually work alone. Meetings enable them to accomplish what they can’t get done on their own. In today’s business environment, with offices, vendors, and clients spread out over a wide area, it can be inconvenient to schedule face-to-face meetings.
More and more businesses are turning to video conferencing to save on travel expenses and employee downtime while on the road. With so many different tools available for virtual meetings. It can be difficult to find the right combination to suit your needs. There is no one technological solution that works for every kind of meeting.
So you need to consider some basic questions, like the ones posed by Guided Insights, in order to choose the best tools for each meeting.
How many people will participate? A service like Skype may be perfectly adequate for a meeting of half a dozen people. The more people involved, the more elaborate must be the technological tool that makes it work. On the other hand, it is not economical to have to purchase equipment for maximum capacity and then need it for only a small portion of your meetings.
What do participants need to share? Will the meeting be based on conversation? Or will people be collaborating on writing, editing, or annotating a document? Preparing presentation slides or video? And will everyone be able to share, or can one or two people speak and everyone else just listen?
Is the meeting a one-time event, or part of a continuing collaboration? And is everyone a member of the same organization, or is it necessary to coordinate more than one company’s conferencing tools?
Will participants be in their offices? In a conference room? At home? And what will they use to participate? Some may use a desktop computer, others a tablet or a cell phone, still others a speaker phone or other technology.
Best practices for planning a conference
Webjunction suggests additional best practices for online conferences. How many rooms do you need? Will there be breakout sessions? The attendees will need all of the necessary hotlinks, just as they would need a schedule and map of the conference center for a physical meeting.
There will always be technological glitches. Use your experience to anticipate as many as possible and make contingency plans. Provide clear lines of communication so you can know about problems as quickly as possible. Both presenters and participants will need technical support. Therefore, every session needs a producer to handle the technology. Every presenter needs a host to greet participants and keep track of questions and comments. Some one person needs to be in charge to make sure the technology works, to gather evaluations, and, if the meeting is recorded, make sure that the recording is properly distributed and archived.
Using a virtual meeting room
According to Telepresence 24, virtual meeting rooms are a cost-effective self-service way to conduct a large-scale virtual meeting. They require the use of a video bridge, or multiple control unit. It allows you to control a conference from a single location that actually takes place in multiple locations. Videoconference with many participants can require up to 6Gbps of bandwidth. The video bridge controls this bandwidth, adjusting it so that each participant receives high-quality performance.
The earliest video bridges were hardware-based and usually very expensive. More recently, companies like Blue Jeans can provide cloud-based multiuser video conferencing for IT using software that can provide considerable savings while boosting productivity for your IT department. A software video bridge is scalable. You will not have to have more capacity for any given meeting than you can use, and your largest meetings will not be hampered by hardware with insufficient capacity. You won’t have to manage resource scheduling, either.
You will be controlling the meeting from a single location, but, of course, users work from many locations. They are all likely to have different hardware and different operating systems. The recent rise in the use of mobile equipment only adds complication. It is not easy to get all of these devices to work together, so interoperability is an absolute requirement in the modern business world.
Whatever technology you use, make sure that you understand how to take full advantage of what it offers. Know its limitations, too, so that to that they don’t hinder the meeting. Make sure that presenters and attendees don’t have to be concerned about technology to the extent that it takes focus from the purpose and content of the meeting. The more setting up you can finish before the day of the meeting, and the more you test everything, the fewer unpleasant surprises the meeting will present to you or anyone else.