Let's be honest, when it comes to web-conferencing, almost all of us can probably remember at least one occasion where we thought, "This really shouldn't be that hard."
Web-conferencing has been around for a while now and given the number of out-of-the-box solutions available these days, you would think it's simple. However, the reality is that getting web-conferencing right can be a challenge.
Although the many out-of-the-box solutions that provide simple one-click meetings with screen sharing and instant messaging have simplified some aspects of online conferencing, it has caused complications in the standard meeting room environment.
It's not surprising then that we still hear a lot of web-conferencing related questions. We thought we'd shed some light by sharing the answers to some of the most common questions we hear from the market.
1. How can I optimise my meeting rooms for web-conferencing?
Not every room is suitable for high-quality web-meetings. Things like shape, placement of doors and windows and concave surfaces can significantly impact the suitability of a space. These are factors you want to consider when designing your office spaces.
There are other aspects of a room that you can change, even when the room is already built, in order to improve the quality of your web-meetings. They include
- Optimising the lighting based on the camera location
- Using absorptive materials to enhance the acoustics in the room
- Selecting furniture that allows all participants to see the screen and camera
- Choosing appropriate wall colours to allow a camera to see the subject clearly
For more details on how to get room lighting, acoustics, layout and wall colour right, download our free AV Buyer's Guide.
2. What camera is best?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to that question. The best camera solution depends on the size of the room, the use case, the lighting in the room and other elements.
Generally, device cameras are the least ideal option and should only be used when no other camera is available. Beyond that, fixed in-room cameras are often a good choice for smaller meeting rooms while we would recommend auto-cropping cameras or pan tilt zoom cameras for medium and large spaces.
But choosing the right camera comes down to more than just the room size. We recommend getting advice from an experienced supplier based on your specific space and environment.
3. Which microphone and speaker are best?
As with the camera question above, there is no simple answer. Again, we would discourage the use of device microphones and speakers and would recommend a headset as the minimum solution.
Beyond that, there are many options, ranging from in-table microphones and speakers to those installed in ceilings and others.
As with cameras, we recommend working with a team of experts that check out your space and recommend the right solution for you.
4. Why do many organisations still struggle to make web-conferencing work seamlessly when it should be simple these days?
That is an excellent question. In a way, we think that the countless 'simple' solutions that are now available have maybe made things look too simple.
In the past, video-conferencing specialists were often engaged to help with the design of meeting spaces and the installation of hardware to make collaboration with remote parties possible. Now that the conferencing device is a PC, we're seeing a worrying trend of businesses purchasing USB microphones and cameras for all of their meeting rooms without any consideration as to their suitability for the space – or even the space's suitability for web-conferencing. This often leads to poor sound and video quality and frustrated employees when the technology is not working as they need it to.
It's been our experience that when designed and implemented correctly with a trusted partner, web-conferencing solutions really are simple and seamless.
Are you interested in learning more about how to design web-conferencing solutions that enable seamless communication and collaboration? Then check out our free buyer’s guide to learn more about web-conferencing as well as video walls, another popular AV technology.
Learn more and download the guide here.