Video conferencing is one of the fastest-growing collaboration and communication technologies on the market today. According to research by Infonetics, 88 percent of businesses hope to add video conferencing to their workplace by 2015.
With the current surge in video conferencing customers, value-added resellers (VARs) are quickly adding it to their product offering and working to become familiar with the various manufacturers, devices and installation techniques. Luckily, most VARs are already accustomed to similar systems; being successful in video conferencing really only requires a slight shift in focus.
To help get you started, remember these six video conferencing tips and tricks:
1. Bring a buddy.
Even the most seasoned VAR could use a helping hand on many video conferencing installation jobs. When testing settings for sound and lighting and deciding on exact placement of cameras, speakers, displays and other devices, having a colleague with you not only helps you be more precise; it can also help the installation go by a lot faster.
If it’s not feasible to have a partner with you during the entire installation, have someone arrive to help near the end. That way, he or she can help you double check settings and device placement without spending hours cooling their heels.
2. Protect against electrical surges.
Video conferencing systems require many different electronic devices – all of which are susceptible to electrical surges. It may seem like common sense, but many VARs have experienced problems because they didn’t plan for electrical surges.
On each job, be sure to use surge protectors for every device. If you’re working with an electrician to install new outlets, ask for those with built-in surge protectors.
3. Right-size your displays.
When designing each video conferencing system, carefully consider the size of the displays that you recommend. Generally, office displays should be at least 42 inches or larger; consider 60 inches or larger for a large conference or meeting room.
Some customers might require a dual-display system, in which one screen is used for video and one is used for desktop and data sharing. Be sure to fully understand your customer’s needs before opting for one display size over another.
Not sure of the ideal size-to-distance ratio for a particular room? Search online for a TV viewing distance calculator, which will help you decide.
4. Remember your end goal.
Perhaps one of the most important video conferencing tips is this: Remember that your goal is to recreate an in-person meeting. When selecting and placing each device, keep this goal in mind.
To that end, displays should be hung at or near a natural viewing angle, depending upon where and how people will be seated. Microphones should be located in the middle of the room so they can pick up audio from every angle. And cameras should be mounted near eye-level to encourage face-to-face communication during video calls.
5. Take it for a test run.
Before finalizing your installation and leaving the facility, take the video conferencing system for a test run. Call your office or your house, just to ensure that everything works as it should.
Ideally, you would take this opportunity to test each feature of the system, and play around with the various settings. If testing a conference system in a large office, ensure that the audio can be heard and the video can be seen from even the farthest seat. Make sure that anything the end user will see or experience is exactly as it should be. This will save you return trips down the road.
6. Partner with a pro.
Of course, all the video conferencing tips and tricks in the world still won’t make every installation go 100 percent smoothly. For VARs who are new to video conferencing, and for those who simply need some technology support, partnering with a leading technology distributor can make all the difference.
What video conferencing tips and tricks have you uncovered in your experience? How do they help you in your day-to-day job?