EDUCATION AND CORPORATE VIDEO CONFERENCING SOLUTIONS
Videoconferencing (VTC) is becoming an increasingly viable option in schools and businesses due to the falling prices of the technology used in VTC systems. It is now an extremely attractive option due to the numerous benefits it can offer, the most prominent of which is the sizeable amount of money that videoconferencing solutions can save by allowing meetings to be conducted virtually instead of on a face to face basis. This can significantly reduce an organisation''s spending on travel, especially where meetings would otherwise require cross continental travel.
There are numerous applications where videoconferencing can be extremely advantageous in both education and business environments. In this Projector Source Canda article we will focus on the ways in which videoconferencing can be used, and the general benefits it can offer, as well as specific examples of where institutions might use videoteleconferencing technology.
Videoconferencing in education
Through videoconferencing systems, students all around the world can benefit from the opportunities for remote learning that videoconferencing presents. It allows communication between multiple people from anywhere in the world as long as they have an internet connection. Students who cannot attend a class in person sue to illness, snowstorms or other circumstnaces, can watch a videoconferenced lesson so long as they have access to a computer.
This allows foreign students all around the World who may not have local educational facilities or courses specific to their needs to have access to desired learning material via VTC. It also lets people of different backgrounds communicate through videoconferencing to share ideas, as well as allowing students to see the cultures and places of other parts of the world virtually.
Today there are numerous examples of where videoconferencing can help benefit education establishments. For example:
- Researchers can work in a far more efficient manner with other workers in different locations, and resources can be shared easily without the need for travelling and personal meetings.
- Guest lecturers can be broadcasted to the class no matter where the lecturer is located.
- Interviews, for future jobs or acceptance into the university can be conducted without the need for a long distance travel to attend the interview in person.
- If a lecturer is away either for personal reasons or business reasons, they can still keep in touch with the class via a videoconferencing session.
Videoconferencing for businesses
Implementing videoconferencing into a business can be a way of saving a substantial amount of money. Since it allows employees to communicate with each other and conduct meetings on short notice a considerable amount of time and money can be spared by eliminating the need to travel. This is particularly beneficial to businesses with multiple offices across the country and allows simulated meetings to occur that are close to in person due to the ability of technology to broadcast both images and sound in real-time. Therefore, employees can communicate from their desks or even their home, thus increasing the accessibility of the workforce.
The advantages of videoconferencing for businesses
- VTC is environmentally friendly since it decreases the amount of travelling, either by car or by plane, previously needed to conduct meetings in person.
- A great deal of money can be saved since less travel costs need to be incurred to physically meet each other.
- Videoconferencing makes it much easier to keep in regular contact with a geographically remote location -- for example large oil companies with remote outposts.
- People are far more accessible via VTC no matter where they are, so long as they are near a computer capable of videoconferencing.
- It is much easier to coordinate regular meetings with videoconferencing due to the ease of spontaneously setting up and gathering people for a videoconference.
Common problems with videoconferencing
Despite the numerous benefits that videoconferencing offers, there are still some problems that deter from the advantages it offers. These include the following:
The complex nature of videoconferencing
The fact that VTC systems require many different components and that most companies and schools will have relatively few technologically experienced people. Just one loose cable can sabotage an entire videoconference and force users to revert back to normal meeting. Specific support staff needs to be in place, which obviously comes at an additional expense.
The limited bandwidth of some locations
Limited bandwidth issues means that sometimes it can be hard to broadcast a good quality VTC signal. ADSL technology has a capped upload limit, and is also unavailable to upload and download at full speed simultaneously. While Internet speeds are increasing around the world, some countries still may not have a strong enough connection to support videoconferencing.
The expense of a dedicated system
A room designed to facilitate videoconferencing can cost thousands of dollars due to the specific VTC equipment and furniture required.
Connection problems can arise when trying to connect two people using different VTC systems. For example IP and ISDN connections need a bridge in order to function together. Even the most prominent software programs by reputable VTC companies cannot always connect to hardware smoothly.
The risk of "appearance consciousness"
Since the appearance of the participants in a videoconference is clearly visible on the screen, some people may feel uncomfortable or conscious of being on camera and prefer audio only communication where they do not need to worry about how they look.
Reduced eye contact
Videoconferencing is not able to completely replace the experience of a face to face meeting. Eye contact, a key form of non verbal communication, is not supported particularly well by VTC systems.
To ensure the best videoconferencing experience possible the following are some general tips to keep in mind:
* A good connection is vital to prevent any audio or visual lag issues.
- Since your voice has to be transmitted and output via external speakers, make sure to speak clearly so that you will still be coherent even if the audio is of a lower quality.
- Wear clothes that have a single colour since patterned colours are harder to view when broadcasting using a lower quality video signal.
- Be aware that despite the fact that you are not physically seated in front of someone, you are still seated there virtually. You are constantly on display, so try not to fidget as it can become distracting for the viewers in the other VTC location.
- Before starting an important meeting, be sure to check well in advance that that all the videoconferencing equipment is working. This way, potential issues can be identified and resolved ahead of time.
- When conducting a videoconference, people should make an effort to speak more clearly than they perhaps would in a normal meeting. Although it seems like those on the other end of the videoconference are in the room with you, remember that the sound compression can make your voice less audible.
- When not speaking into a microphone, the mic should be turned off. This will have the effect of reducing any echoing if the microphone picks up other people speaking. Setting up the videoconference in a quiet place will also minimize background noise.
- It can be confusing figuring out where to look in a videoconference. Generally, the best advice is to look directly at the camera when you are speaking.
We hope you enjoyed this article by Projector Source Canada. For more information, or to purchase a display and projector for your business or home, visit us online at http://www.projectorsourcecanada.ca
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