As a collaboration technical solutions architect and a member of the social media generation, I have grown up on video conferencing – not as a nice-to-have – but as the de facto standard for both business and personal communications. I’m newly married, and my husband and I use video to connect when we are traveling. My mom and grandparents live in Hong Kong and video calls are the only way we can really “see” how one another is doing, and this was so important when my grandmother was ill. But some of the things we put up with in personal video use are not acceptable for business communications.
In my work life, video is virtually the only medium I use to communicate with my team – all day, every day with people from all parts of the world. I am very fortunate as a tech nut to have played with a variety of solutions in the market today, so I know that not all solutions are created equal. I’ve collected some best practices about what makes for a great video call, and I want to share my top five considerations for awesome video communications with you!
Intelligent, integrated video conferencing devices
When you are on video calls as much as I am, the ability to use powerful video devices that are integrated with the workflow is not a luxury, it is essential – to maximize simplicity and productivity. These dedicated video devices are not just screens that run video. They’re really smart – AI smart. They connect with the meetings apps on my mobile devices and know who I am when I enter the room. I can use the apps to start a call or simply use voice commands and talk directly to the devices. They can count and recognize people and tell me their names. And they can save documents and whiteboard sessions into team spaces so the collaboration can continue long after the meeting ends.
Aside from the hard benefits, the soft benefits are almost invaluable. They say when you can see the whites in someone’s eyes, you actually see the subconscious truth behind what they’re saying. Those visual cues you get from crystal clear video can play a big role in the success of your relationships, and that is one of the key differentiators between being on a dedicated video system versus a laptop with a web cam.
Please be encrypted by default
If you’relike me, you probably have a post-it note or duct tape over your laptop camera “just in case.” But “just in case” is not a standard I want applied to my enterprise video discussions. I want security and encryption to be turned on by default, so every call and every piece of content shared is protected at rest and in transit. Many meeting solutions on the market say they have security, but it is off by default, which means you have to manually turn security on. That’s almost useless in my book and a non-negotiable when considering video conferencing options. I can’t stress this more: Invest in the most secure video option available where encryption is turned on by default!
Look, Ma: No plug-ins
As much as we hate it, the mundane task of scheduling meetings is par for the course. A solution that lets you easily schedule meetings from a desktop or mobile without the need for a plug-in is a god-send. Other solutions will make you download a plug-in, which means you may have to put up with buggy software or constant upgrades just to have a meeting. The first step of most video conferences is the scheduling piece, so make this as simple as possible!
True 1-click to join from any device
I am your typical 21stcentury peripatetic professional. I like to work wherever I am, and that means taking meetings on the road is part of the work/life blend many of us practice today. To be effective, I expect my mobile experience to be as consistent and powerful as the one in my office. One of my favorite features on mobile devices is the ability to automatically join, audio muted – a true one-click join! Actually, the one-click join experience from any device is the standard I’m used to – across all devices and apps. It can’t get any easier than that!
I see cool innovations in video conferencing fairly often, but they don’t have staying power unless they are meaningful innovations. For example, one of the most interesting features I’ve run across is being able to share an augmented reality 3D image that you can manipulate in your meetings! How useful would that be if you were a graphic artist or CAD designer. Some solutions offer features like virtual backgrounds but I’m more impressed by some of the other meaningful features that I use on a daily basis: voice activated controls, automatic noise suppression and directional audio. I love seeing innovation and cool features in video conferencing, especially ones that can add so much value!
If you would like to see these things in action, schedule a live demo with your Cisco sales team :).
And finally, one personal tip: Video is a relationship accelerator, so just turn on your camera and let them see the whites of your eyes. You’ll get more from your contacts, both business and personal, and they’ll get more from you.
If interested, check out Webex Meetings or Webex Teams for free: