December 12, 2015
Is video conferencing only for businesses?
Video conferencing is no longer just for large enterprises with deep pockets. Over the past few years the price point of entry into video chatting has dropped all the way to zero. Yes, for only the cost of the device which you probably already have (your phone, tablet or PC) you have the ability to chat with your friends and family over video.
What can I expect?
Depending on which program you choose (programs being Skype, Hangouts, Facetime, etc) the ease of use and call quality varies. These two factors can make or break your experience. Try one. If the quality isn't what you want, try another. Take note that if your internet bandwidth isn't that great, the experience will suffer as well.
What not to do:
Don't get on a video chat and proceed to shake your phone/tablet or run around with it.
Don't get on a video chat in a really noisy place. Any room noise goes right through your microphone and out of the speakers of whoever your talking to.
Don't turn the volume up too loud. If you need to, wear earbuds or headphones. The microphone on your device will also pick up the sound coming out of the speakers creating a loop of feedback. If (when) that happens, simply lower the volume until it goes away or if that doesn't work, temporarily mute your microphone.
What to do:
Both you and the person you want to chat with need to be using the same program. With regards to Facetime, both parties need to have later generation Apple products like an iPhone or iPad. In addition to those I mentioned above, there is also a product called Zoom whose quality is far greater. The problem with the three I mentioned above is that they are owned by companies who make several other products so the attention to detail and quality doesn't seem to be there.
Plan your call. Schedule a time to call the other person. Even though we tend to answer our phones for an audio call without a second thought, video is a different matter. The person you're wanting to call may not be ready to be on camera.
Have fun! Give your parents a virtual tour of your house or let them see their grandchildren. Reconnect with people across the country who you don't get to see often. Seeing someone is so much better than just hearing them. It's more personal and the communication is better.
I am not affiliated with Zoom in any way. It is however the video chat product that my company actually pays for because in my opinion the quality is the best available.
Image on this page courtesy of franky242 at freedigitalphotos.net