The benefits of video conferencing are well established. Meetings with attendees from around the country or around the globe can be put together in a matter of minutes rather than a matter of days or weeks. This means that the expense and time required for travel can be reduced or eliminated.
Moreover, familiarity with video conferencing has increased. Almost everyone has used video calling, whether for business or personal calls. Whether users realize it or not, voice and video calling through Skype, Messenger, and FaceTime use voice-over-IP (or VoIP). VoIP is rapidly growing in popularity, with traffic estimated at 158 petabytes per month in 2016. That translates to 158 million gigabytes. In short, the audiovisual system needed for a video conference room would look familiar to most meeting attendees.
However, just because the equipment is familiar does not mean that the selection of video conferencing equipment and audiovisual installers is easy. Nor does it mean that the audiovisual installations of the equipment are simple. Here is an overview of the features and equipment available for video conferencing::
Returning to the very basics, video conferencing without specialized equipment is enabled by the Internet. Specifically, without high-speed internet, the exchange of data packets that make up the audio and video signals would be too slow to allow for real-time conversation. It is this audio visual technology that allows you to see and hear a signal from someone who is on the other side of the globe virtually and in real-time. This is the same technology that allows VoIP telephony, but it also includes video data along with the sound data.
The essentials for video conferencing are fairly basic. It consists of:
- A camera and microphone on both ends of the video conference to capture video and sound signals.
- A computer on each end running video conferencing software to process those signals into data packets. The computer then transmits those data packets to a server on the Internet. The computer will also receive data packets via the Internet.
- High-speed Internet connection to send and receive data packets representing audio and video.
- An audio visual display and speakers to see and hear the other person’s signal.
This equipment would likely be purchased from, and set up by, specialty audiovisual installers. The reason for this is fairly straightforward: you want to make sure that your equipment to work. That means it needs to form a compatible system and that you have experienced audiovisual installers who test your system before leaving. Moreover, audiovisual installers will be able to troubleshoot the system if there are problems getting it up and running.
One benefit of video conferencing using VoIP is that the equipment does not need to be the same on both ends of the call. In other words, you and the other party could use completely different equipment and the video call will work as long as the two systems are either accessing the data packets via a web browser or are using compatible video conferencing software.
Moving beyond basic equipment and software, it is possible to create a meeting space that is more interactive and informative. For video conferencing that requires visual aids, video conferencing websites and software applications are available where slides or notes can be shared in real-time.
An upgrade to slide sharing is an interactive whiteboard. This device is like a combination between a large screen TV and a touchscreen. Coupled with drawing software, this device allows freehand drawing for streamlined communication. More importantly, this device allows printing and sharing of the drawings with both in-person and virtual attendees.
Yet More Features
Moving up in technological sophistication is a system that includes separate microphones and multiple cameras. It’s not uncommon for employees to struggle during a conference call and strain to hear attendees. Multiple microphones integrated into a new system can eliminate this problem.
Similarly, multiple cameras within the video conference room can create a video conference that borders on telepresence. It may even be worthwhile to provide cameras and microphones in individual offices for those who cannot be physically present in the video conference room.
In many ways, the sky is the limit for video conferencing. An experienced audiovisual installer can not only recommend equipment to meet your needs, but they can also ensure that it works flawlessly. Contact AVS Installations when you’re ready to streamline your business with audiovisual tech.