The Ultimate Guide to Video Conferencing in Business
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the world of work has changed. With the rise of remote work, video conferencing has taken over. Thanks to this technology, people can meet face-to-face as if they're in the same room even when, in reality, they're miles or even continents apart.
Even as the world slowly returns to normal, video conferencing is still a crucial part of every company's communication toolkit. If you want to adopt a video conferencing setup in your office but haven't yet, this article will help you cover the basics.
Keep reading to learn how video conferencing works, its benefits, and how you can get started.
How Business Video Conferencing Works
In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past few years, video conferencing is a communication technology that allows multiple people in different locations to meet with each other face-to-face virtually. It's an essential part of a company's communication in a world where everything is becoming increasingly remote.
Virtually any meeting can be turned into a video conference. Business brainstorming sessions, performance reviews, and even corporate presentations can be conducted online via technology like Zoom, Google Meet, and more. Weekly meetings, town halls, or CEO announcements can also be made in a similar manner.
Video conferencing is also a fantastic medium for training employees. HR teams, for example, can conduct seminars for multiple branches through Google Meet instead of flying them individually to the head office. In-house senior developers can also use video conferencing to guide junior members on a remote team.
A video conferencing setup can be set up in many different ways. Each person simply needs a device (such as a smartphone or laptop), a microphone, and a stable Internet connection. Then, they need video conferencing software to connect and talk with call participants.
Point-to-Point vs Multi-Point Video Conferencing
Video conferencing can be either point-to-point or multi-point:
Point-to-point video conferencing is when one person talks with only one other person. This is often done when you want to explain something further to a teammate or co-worker. It's also the best alternative for customer service reps or salespeople who want to talk with clients.
Multi-point video conferencing, also known more informally as group calls, is an online meeting that involves multiple participants in various locations. For example, a management team in Los Angeles talking with the sales team in New York and Chicago is an example of multi-point video conferencing.
Multi-point video conferencing is typically more common in a business setting. However, because of the number of participants involved, it's also the most demanding. You typically need to invest in extra hardware to make it possible (we'll discuss this in more detail later).
One of the main advantages video conferencing offers is its flexibility. The ability to join from any device removes barriers, making meetings more accessible to everyone. For instance, one member can use an iPhone while on the field while the rest of the team talks through a video conference room at the head office.
Business Video Conference Benefits
So why should you invest in video conferencing technology for your business? Let’s discuss some of the main advantages of video conferencing:
One of the top benefits of video conferences is that it gives a human touch to online meetings. Seeing the person you're conversing with (even if only virtually) helps build a connection with them. That could make everyone engage more with the meeting. The non-verbal cues can also enrich an otherwise "robotic" communication.
The second benefit is that it saves time and money. Instead of having to fly team members to one location for a meeting (which is expensive and time-consuming), you can simply have them attend virtually. Even when everyone is already in the building, it's easier to gather everyone online than in the conference room.
Another benefit of video conferencing is it leads to stronger communication. Some concepts are simply very difficult to explain through chat or email. In these cases, saying it face to face is faster, clearer, and more accurate.
The fourth benefit is that it helps promote employee retention. Remote work can be lonely, and many people crave connection with their colleagues. Hosting video meetings can help create a sense of belongingness, which can help boost employee morale. And the more people are happy working for your company, the more likely they will stay.
Video conferencing also helps with productivity. That's because people would spend less time driving to meetings, freeing them up for more productive work and causing less disruption in their time.
Finally, video conferencing helps your team become much stronger and more unified. This translates to better service, higher revenues, and more profits.
As you can see, every single one of these benefits is key to a successful company. To help you grow your business, let’s go over the process of implementing video conferencing in business settings.
Video Conferencing in Business: How to Get Started
The great thing about video conferencing in business is that you can usually start with the things you already have. In fact, your smartphone and a stable Internet connection are already enough to start video conferencing with colleagues.
Of course, investing in a high-quality setup is crucial for delivering the best results, especially if you have a large team or you’re planning to meet virtually often.
Decide on the hardware you'll need
The first step is to determine the hardware you'll need. This will depend on the video conferencing setup you want.
Point-to-point video conferencing is simpler to set up. You'll need a decent laptop or desktop computer with a built-in camera. But we recommend purchasing a third-party camera for better quality videos, especially if you'll be facing clients. A headset is also recommended over your computer's built-in speaker and microphone. This can provide better privacy and sound clarity.
If you require multi-point video conferencing, there will be a more substantial investment in the setup on top of a desktop or laptop computer. The most crucial for these is a good-quality omnidirectional microphone. This allows you to capture the voices of all the speakers in the room. On the output side, you also need robust speakers so everyone in the room can hear the other party on the call.
For video, the most basic is to get a large monitor or TV screen with HDMI input. The dimensions of this will depend on the size of the room. Consider the distance between the person sitting at the farthest end of the room and the screen. If it's 14 feet or less, a 55-inch screen will suffice. However, if it's around 20 feet, then consider an 86-inch screen.
However, a TV probably won't suffice for large rooms where the screen distance exceeds 22 feet. In that case, you'll need a larger screen format, such as an overhead projector, wireless presentation display (WPD), or an interactive whiteboard.
Wiring is another consideration. All the hardware components will need to connect efficiently to minimize interference and maximize sound and video quality. You can do it yourself, but that could take more time and effort on your part.
The best approach is to work with an experienced cabling contractor for the best results. In addition to making setup easy, an expert can also suggest the best hardware to maximize your video conferencing performance.
Choose the right video conferencing software
Once you have the hardware set up and ready, it's time to consider the video conferencing software you'll use. Luckily, you have plenty of options here.
Let’s look at some of the top video conferencing solutions:
Zoom is perhaps the most popular. It's a flexible video call application that can be used in various applications other than video conferencing, such as brainstorming, customer support, and screen sharing. Despite being free, it is fairly reliable and the video conferencing experience is stable. Zoom is also feature-rich, with things like breakout rooms to help you organize your meetings.
Google Meet is another popular choice for video conferencing. Benefits of this platform include price and accessibility because it's already part of the Google suite (which your team probably already uses). The biggest advantage of Google Meet is that it's slightly more user-friendly than Zoom, although it consumes more bandwidth.
Another good option is Microsoft Teams, an instant messaging and video conferencing tool integrated with Microsoft 365. If your team is primarily based on the Microsoft platform (like Office and SharePoint), then Teams is a solid choice because it works seamlessly with your existing pipeline.
All of these tools require everyone on the call to have an account and install software on their devices. However, some tools like Skype Meet Now, Jitsi Meet, and Web Room allow you to get on video calls without requiring participants to create an account or download software. The benefit of video conferencing tools like these is that they’re easy to use, require very little setup, and are relatively affordable (or free).
Get high-speed internet access
If you want interruption-free video calls, a high-speed internet connection is essential. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) advises a minimum speed of 1 Mbps for basic video calling for business. If you're using higher-resolution HD cameras, it's best to bump up to a 6 Mbps connection. But for best results, aim for an Internet connection in the 8 – 10 Mbps range, especially if you talk with multiple people at once. This ensures minimal lag, choppy audio, and distorted video.
Start Video Conferencing with Signal Solutions
Video conferencing in business is a must in today's work-from-home landscape. However, to get the most out of this new communication approach, you must set it up correctly.
That's where Signal Solutions comes in.
If you're a California-based business, we can handle all your video conferencing suite's cabling and hardware needs. Our expertise and experience span over 35 years. And we've served every kind of business, from small family-owned wineries to large multinational corporations like Amazon.
For expert audio and video installation in San Francisco and Los Angeles, contact Signal Solutions today for project consultation or site assessment.