Set Up Hangouts Online

Given the many advantages that video chats and calls offer—low costs, high productivity and convenience are just a few mentioned by The Future of Business Collaboration blog—it’s a smart move for companies to start thinking about adding video to their network infrastructure.

But how does it work? Here are a few handy pointers you’ll need to remember before you start setting up a video conferencing system for your business.

 

Set ups

ItBusiness says that all video conferencing systems come with a video camera and a microphone, along with a system that’s designed to support audio and video. And then there’s the software. That’s the element that ties everything together. For starters, then, make sure your video conferencing setup has a complete lineup of the necessary software and hardware.

Some setups, too, even come along with video screens matched with full-duplex audio. Whiteboards, document sharing features and HD quality complete the package. However, these additions, while they make for a more sophisticated system, can also cost more. Be sure you’ve calculated all the costs and associated expenses. Don’t bust your IT budget over the more expensive setups. Pick only the package that works for you and your team’s needs that’s well within budget.

 

Conferencing Systems

Then, decide on the system or platform you want to use. For cost-savings, you’d want to pick a software-based solution. Of course, you could still opt for hardware. You might just want the least amount of hardware necessary. That way, you can avoid most, if not all, hardware issues, maintenance snags and the huge costs associated with it.

Do you go for consumer-level video calling services like Skype? A lot of companies use Skype for the free IM system perks. However, while Skype offers great features for chat, it lacks the professional and controlled environment that businesses often require.

In this case, maybe it would be better for you to go with a setup integrated with video elements such as the one you get from Blue Jeans? Designed with a ton of features—from content sharing, video sharing and screen sharing to file transfers, zoom capability and HD video quality—Blue Jeans offers one of the most professional-ready environments for video calling. Setting up live hangouts with Blue Jeans is easy and stress-free.

 

Servers

After that, choose your video conferencing servers. Do you want it as a part of a larger set of applications, under unified communications? For better functionality, small businesses should consider building an internal video conferencing solution that ties in to one of the major software vendors like Blue Jeans. That way, multiple functions can run in a single server, making it so much easier for anyone in your team or company to configure as well as administer the system and services.


 

Protocols

When all that’s done, you’ll need to brief yourself up on the protocols of the web conferencing system you picked. Figure out how you can use it to establish connections to the same video meeting while using different platforms and devices. One of the many advantages of web conferencing solutions is that the system is any-device ready. That quality makes it a prime tool for collaboration. Anyone can join in, anyone can connect to the same video conference using any device, regardless of where they even happen to be.

Also, make sure to take note of what standard you’re working with. There’s the H.264/AVC and the MPEG-4 AVC. Think of these are two different ways of solving a problem. These are entirely different from each other so you want to make sure you’re getting standard you’re organization uses. Otherwise, compatibility issues might throw up roadblocks along the way.

Also, when you start the installation process, don’t forget to consult the manual every step of the way to avoid any missteps.

 

Achieve maximum advantage

Now that you’ve got most of the technical stuff out of the way, it’s time to focus on some basic tips on how you can get the most out of your conferencing system.

Room basics

  • Make sure the room is suitable. First, there shouldn’t be any windows. If this can’t be helped, then simply make sure never to point the cameras in the direction of the windows.
  • To reduce any lighting problems, cover up the windows with cloth. Make sure the colors don’t stand out when caught on camera. Otherwise, they could prove distracting.
  • Also, by putting up curtains is that it helps preserve the sound inside the room, making for a better and clearer audio environment.

Location

  • If you’ve got whiteboards, remember to position the camera in a way that captures that as well. This way, everyone, on both ends of the call conference, can easily view online presentations.
  • Remember to put the camera in the best possible location inside the room. Take display height into account. It has to be just above the table’s height so that all your participants, even those sitting the farthest away, are still in its line of sight.
  • Put the mike in the middle of the room so it’s easy to capture everyone’s voices.

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