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Remedies for Common Video Conferencing Problems

Posted by: Ontarget Canada Posted Date: August-06-Tuesday-2013
Skype-Conversations
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Skype Conversations
under cc2.0
Video conferencing has quickly become the go-to medium for business gatherings around the world. The concept is simple: Rather than maintaining an expensive travel budget, companies can use this interactive telecommunications system to connect employees across the country or ocean. 

While the concept is simple, actually navigation of the system can be tricky for some. Technical problems may occur that pulls the plug on a perfectly planned meeting. In some situations, that is literally the case. 

Someone forget to hook up the right the right connectors or a typo sent participants to the wrong IP address. The following tips outline how you can recognize and overcome some common video conferencing problems.

Issues with the IP Address

Even though people are coming together from divergent geographical territories, everyone must have identical destinations. The IP, or Internet Protocol address, enables participants to route to the correct location and connect to the conference system. A proper connection is not possible with a misdialed or misspelled IP address. Double check the IP address information before sending it out to participants.

Audio Problems

Typically, audio problems originate from problems with external speakers. If participants are having trouble hearing the conference facilitator, the problem could be volume control. The volume setting on the computer or microphone is the first thing to troubleshoot. If the volume level is appropriate, verify whether the audio was switched from handset to speaker.

Test the sound quality and volume settings ahead of the conference start time. Allow enough time to check everything thoroughly and avoid stopping once the conference begins.

Forgetting the Plug

pckiwi1
Photo credit to pckiwi1
under cc2.0
Short for Registered Jack-45, the plug is crucial to connecting computers to participate in a video conference. As simple as this may sound, it is not unusual to find out that the right plug is missing. Again, give yourself enough time to check everything before starting the video conference. 

Incorrect Camera

Quality video feed connection is another important aspect of hosting a video conference. This starts with choosing the right camera based on the type of conference, meeting or training session. 

Generally, you can use either a document camera or a room camera for video conferencing. However, a document camera is most appropriate when documents are the primary focus of the session. Remember the overhead projector? Document cameras have replaced this visual equipment and might work best during a training session on a new company-wide accounting system, for example. 

Room cameras can capture a larger span of an auditorium, boardroom or lecture hall. Using a document camera when you should have the room camera will interrupt the flow of the meeting. Participants will struggle to focus on the content of the presentation when the wrong equipment is used.

Camera compatibility with the meeting venue is essential. Make sure you avoid technical issues by using the right camera.

Event Management Problems

Now that you have addressed the technical issues, behind the scenes coordination is equally important to hosting a successful video conference. A myriad of issues may arise that can threaten the success of your next meeting. Beyond hosting regular business meetings with dispersed personnel, there are other functions that need organization and management before the meeting begins.

CEO presentations, employee training, product launches, crisis management situations and board meetings are a few examples of high-level events. Due to the sensitive nature of these events, each one should run smoothly. Some of the common behind the scene problems that could thwart an otherwise successful event include a lack of:
  • Video conferencing system training for the facilitator, support staff or site contact
  • Contact information for event origination and receiving sites
  • A backup plan to continue the event after a connection or equipment failure
You can have a productive video conference by avoiding these common mistakes. For example, interruptions are minimized with a backup plan such as having a speakerphone in the conference room if the video feed fails. Each issue is solvable with proper planning before the video conference begins. Otherwise, you risk hosting a less-than-stellar performance.



Looking to get some video conferencing help? Contact us today to get started.

How to Run a Smooth & Effective Video Conference Meeting

Posted by: Ontarget Canada Posted Date: June-07-Friday-2013

How to Run a Smooth & Effective Video Conference Meeting

Video conferencing offers a practical solution to conduct business meetings anywhere, anytime.
However, just like other mediums or tools, there are effective and not-so effective ways to have a video meeting.

So, how can you run a productive meeting in a virtual environment smoothly? Here are a few tips to make sure your investment in software and hardware is not counterproductive.

Video Conferencing Options
  1. Know How to Operate the Video Conference Solution

    Look for software that allows you to effortlessly navigate through slides, charts and other materials related to the meeting. Experiment with different features before the meeting so that you feel comfortable with operating the system.

    Gotomeeting and Skype are popular options that can be suitable depending on your number of participants.

    Continue to use the same video conferencing software once you have found the best solution for your business needs. This minimizes setup time and helps to improve the quality of future meetings.

  2. Choose the Right Environment

    Running an effective video conference meeting also depends on choosing the right environment. Ideally, you can use a conference room with window blinds. Natural light tends to interfere with the interior lighting of a room.

    When participants from a remote site have trouble viewing the video feed, it can disrupt the meeting. Imagine discussing a critical part of your company’s strategic plan and overhearing participants complain about the poor visual on their end. This causes a distraction and rather than moving on to the next agenda item, the meeting is delayed while you attempt to fix the lighting.

  3. Choose the Right Location for Camera Placement

    Along with appropriate lighting, you should make sure the video camera is positioned correctly.

    Wandering minds are a normal part of human nature. Therefore, if you keep the camera in a location that has simple surroundings participants can focus on the discussion and not the painting on the wall.

    It may be worthwhile to have your system professionally installed to ensure the best result the first time, rather than from a trial and error process.

  4. Connect 15 Minutes Before the Meeting Start Time

    Allow enough time before the meeting begins to check for potential issues. It is best to find out sooner rather than later that the audio is not working properly or the lighting in the room is bad. Connecting a few minutes before the start time will help in identifying problems – and give you enough time to fix them.

    Certainly, you want to connect early if this is the first video conference meeting with a new software system.

  5. Have an Alternative Connection

    Most video conference meeting solutions offer several ways to connect such as over the telephone or by using audio over the computer. Make sure that you and all participants have the information needed to connect in different ways.

    If the video connection becomes a problem mid way through the meeting, it is not as disconcerting if they can still hear you.

  6. Meeting Agenda
  7. Develop an Agenda and Stick to It

    Besides making sure technical issues are minimized, it is important to develop a meeting agenda and stick with it. In face-to-face meetings, it is common to keep minutes and use time controlling rules. These techniques also transfer effectively during a video conference meeting.

    Some people think video conferences are less formal than meeting together in the same room. Dispel this expectation by sending out a meeting agenda in advance of the video conference meeting.

  8. After the Meeting

    Likewise, distribute minutes or a meeting transcript to all participants after the meeting. Circulate key decisions and action items that were delegated during the meeting. Schedule next step and follow-up times for updates and feedback. Provide a way for participants to contact you after the meeting if necessary.

    Keep the lines of communication open with clients, employees and colleagues. Choosing the right video conferencing software and preparing for the meeting will produce professional, efficient and smooth meetings.

If you’re interested in getting a professional video conferencing system installed, contact us to request more information today.

The Greatest Advantages of Video Conferencing

Posted by: Ontarget Canada Posted Date: May-17-Friday-2013


As much as everyone loves spending long hours at the airport, lounging in comfortable gate seats and sipping on lukewarm soda from the nearby food court, the ever-increasing length of time spent going through security lines, taxiing on runways, then arriving at the destination only to wait once more at the baggage claim and the car rental company has made business travel more and more of a pain.

Certainly, there may be a few complaints from those employees of your company who are avid fans of Homeland Security and TSA when you announce that your company will be doing more video conferencing and less business traveling, but the chances are that most of your company's representatives won't miss those long hours of waiting in airports, driving rental cars and sleeping in impersonal hotel rooms.

As most business people know, reduced travel cost and time are two of the most significant advantages of video conferencing. Here's a closer look at three more benefits that you might not have considered.

 

1. Video conferencing is a far more powerful communication tool than email or the phone.


Did you know that some researchers believe that as much as 80% of our communication is nonverbal?

From hand gestures and shrugs to eye rolls and smiles, so much of what we say to one another isn't really "said" at all.

From personal experience, you already know that it's easy for miscommunications to occur between team members via email. A phrase that was meant to be sarcastic, and which would be interpreted that way had the person's body language been seen, is taken seriously instead, with the result of weeks-long disharmony between two co-workers.

Communicating over the phone reduces the risk of misunderstandings and miscommunications when compared to email, but even that has its limits.

 

Video conferencing is a great improvement over both email and the phone. Team members in different offices can both hear and see one another, greatly reducing the risk of unfortunate misunderstandings.

 

2. Video conferencing is one of the oldest "green technologies" available in the business world.

 

Perhaps your company has developed a conscience about the environment over the last several years. In your break rooms, there are recycling bins right next to the trash cans. In your copy room, there are stacks of recycled paper and yet another recycling bin.

To reduce paper waste further, you take advantage of email and PDFs to get as close as you can to a "paperless office." Even your files are now mostly digital. You encourage carpooling and give certain workers the flexibility to work from home.

However, as much as your company has worked hard to reduce the size of its carbon footprint, all that progress can be easily erased with just a few plane flights. Air travel increases the carbon footprint of your company tremendously. If you want to show your customers and your competitors that you are serious about the environment, trade some of that air travel for video conferencing.

 

3. Video conferencing improves the quality of life for your company's employees.

 

Saving money and time by cutting down on travel are two of the most obvious advantages of video conferencing; improving communication, and thereby productivity, is another clear advantage. Saving the environment via video conferencing technologies is a nice touch, but one of the biggest benefits of video conferencing is not nearly as easy to measure.

When you make it easy for your sales reps, trainers, managers and others to talk to their stakeholders without having to leave the office or even their homes, you improve their quality of life by reducing the amount of stress they're under and removing the physical hardship of travel. Although improving the overall quality of life at your company may not be easy to measure, you'll definitely see that benefit show up in your bottom line.

The three benefits of video conferencing mentioned above are just a few of this technology's many advantages. Get your company in the habit of using video conferencing today.

 

 

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