How to Get Started with Video Conferencing

Use of video conferencing software has grown exponentially over the past few years, and its widespread use in the business world will only continue. The benefits of video conferencing are far reaching for most business environments, but it’s also important to consider best practices to make the most of this software. With the right video conference standards in place, your company can streamline communications, more effectively collaborate, and know what’s needed in a video conferencing solution. Here are some of the main benefits of video conferencing, as well as the video conferencing requirements your business should consider to help your virtual meetings run smoothly.

Image of a laptop with a video call open on it and a person blurred out int the background engaging with the call

What Is Video Conferencing?

Video conferencing involves two or more participants in a virtual meeting. A variety of video conferencing software options are available, so you can choose the option that makes the most sense for your business.

 

How Does Video Conferencing Work?

Participants in a video meeting will need to have laptop or desktop computers connected to either internal or external cameras for a successful video conferencing experience. Using your business’s chosen video-conferencing platform, participants can log into the virtual meeting using an internet browser or desktop application.

 

What Are the Benefits of Video Conferencing?

The benefits of video conferencing for your business are wide ranging. Let’s take a closer look at some of them:

  • Video conferencing provides a face-to-face meeting experience for geographically dispersed teams, so they can collaborate from anywhere. And your company can hire the best and brightest talent, regardless of location. Also, remote work can save employers money on rent and utilities and give employees flexibility.
  • Video conferencing lets your company reduce business travel expenses because you can conduct at least some customer meetings virtually.
  • And these days, customers and prospects expect multichannel communication options to engage with your brand, including talk, text, and video. With unified communications and customer-facing communications APIs, you can give your team those options from one cloud-based platform.

What Are the Disadvantages of Video Conferencing?

While the benefits of video conferencing are numerous, this technology also has some disadvantages:

  • Video conferencing has the ability to connect employees and customers across the globe, but it’s not the same as face-to-face interaction. Virtual meetings may not foster the same types of connections among employees as in-person meetings in an office environment. Overuse of video conferencing can also lead to potential burnout among employees.
  • Video conferencing software can malfunction, and your business may have to contend with occasional outages. Implementing video conferencing standards and best practices for your employees can help prevent some common challenges with video conferencing platforms, but it’s not guaranteed that the software will always work precisely as it should.

What Are the Basic Video Conferencing Requirements?

Let’s take a look at some of the video conferencing requirements you should consider for a good virtual meeting experience, as well as some equipment to enhance those meetings.

 

 

Video Conferencing Bandwidth Requirements 

As video conferencing technology advances, your internet connection must keep pace. Using HD video creates a sharper image. However, HD video requires more bandwidth than standard video streaming, so ensure your internet connection can handle the extra load. Consider how many video streams your company may have at any given time to calculate how much overall bandwidth you'll need. Most users will need an internet connection that offers at least 10 megabits per second (Mbps) downstream. Higher bandwidth can help with better video quality, and as the number of participants in a meeting goes up, you’ll also want to consider upping the bandwidth to accommodate all of the users. You can also consider an SD-WAN solution, which allows you to prioritize data across any network to ensure the highest priority channel gets the bandwidth it needs.

The Best Mic for Video Conferencing

When it comes to improving audio quality on video calls, investing in the right tools goes a long way. As part of your video conferencing standards, your business should consider providing headsets or other types of audio equipment for employees. Most of the time, the built-in speakers on laptops or desktop computers will not be the best option for the clearest sound on a video call. 

Luckily, you can choose from a range of different external audio options. Standalone microphones or hockey puck-style speakers can be great choices, as they allow users to be hands-free. Headsets, headphones, or earbuds can also be good options for users on the go, and they also offer the benefit of improved audio quality. In general, video conferencing protocols should strongly encourage users to use external audio sources for better results and engagement in virtual meetings. 

 

 A Background Screen for Video Conferencing

Having a well-organized background screen for your video calls is highly recommended as part of your video conferencing protocols. You should make sure that the background in your space on calls is organized to avoid distractions, and you might even consider purchasing a physical backdrop to streamline your space.

Alternatively, some video conferencing platforms offer built-in backgrounds to use in meetings, or you can download external applications that offer virtual backdrop options. No matter which option you choose, having a high-quality background can help make your video calls more productive.

Webcams for Video Conferencing

Investing in external webcams can also go a long way to improve the video conferencing experience. While most laptops and desktops have built-in video cameras, webcams tend to offer higher resolution and, as a result, better picture quality. Most individual webcams are also relatively easy to use; users can plug many of them into their existing laptops using a USB connection. When looking at webcams, consider features like resolution (at least 1080p), frame rate (at least 60 frames per second), noise cancellation or reduction, background removal, and low-light or automatic light correction.

For conference room settings, many of the same standards apply when considering webcam solutions. Some manufacturers now offer webcam solutions designed specifically for meeting rooms; these types can sync up with video meeting technology inside a conference room and allow multiple participants to join from the same space.

Whether employees are joining meetings at home or from the office, external webcams should be a part of your video conferencing standards to improve video quality and engagement.

Illustration of a person on a video call with an external webcam clearly visible on top of the computer
Illustration of Video Conferencing with external webcam

Employee Training

Finally, you'll need to train your employees on how to use the video conferencing system. Advise them on best practices, such as where to stand and how to adjust lighting, as well as technical details, such as how to share screens for presentations, how to record meetings and trainings for future reference, and how to access call stats and other valuable information. Taking time to train employees before implementing video conferencing solutions can make all the difference in a successful adoption.

With video conferencing, you create effective opportunities for teams to stay on the same page, even when they're on the go. And to get the most out of your video conferencing solutions, be sure to have the right personnel and technology requirements in place prior to implementation. 

What Are the Right Features You Need For Video Conferencing?

Here are some of the features of video conferencing to consider when selecting a platform: 

  • Number of meeting participants: Video conferencing systems can serve just a few meeting participants or many. Some video software options are best used for 1:1 or small group meetings, while other video solutions allow companies to scale up to host virtual events for thousands of users. For the former, a solution like Vonage’s Video Express offers the ability to upgrade your video experience using a low-code solution. For larger-scale use cases, such as all-team meetings at a large company, you might want to consider a solution like Vonage’s Interactive Broadcast, which allows you to create customized video event experiences that immerse audiences during and after the event.
  • Out-of-the-box solutions vs. customizable video conferencing platforms: While some options are simple and designed to be used out-of-the-box, others are more customizable, with add-on features that can elevate the virtual meeting experience. Video conferencing systems run the gamut, but most include some key features to enable more efficient meetings. Screen sharing and recording features are now table-stakes for most video conferencing solutions, as they allow participants to see each other’s screens and record meetings for future reference. As video conferencing solutions become more sophisticated, many have also rolled out add-on features like virtual backgrounds, reaction buttons, and more to make video meetings more engaging and enhance the visual experience.
  • Mobility: When establishing video conference standards, it’s also important to consider mobility. Since some users may want to access meetings on the go, you may want to consider a video conferencing solution with a mobile application. At a minimum, choosing a system with a good in-browser experience will help users join meetings either at home, in the office, or on the move.

While there’s no shortage of features of video conferencing, most businesses can benefit from sticking to some of the basics, coupled with an easy login experience and both desktop and in-browser access options. A video conferencing system like Vonage Meetings offers a user-friendly experience that makes it easy for participants to log into meetings, while also including the core features needed for a successful video session.

Summary

Now that you know the basics of virtual meetings and are familiar with video conferencing protocols, it's time to think about the best video conferencing solution for your business. Choosing the right video conferencing system and having the proper accessories in place to enhance the video experience is key for making meetings productive and for keeping employees engaged.

Looking for an out-of-the-box video conferencing option for your business? Learn more about Vonage Meetings.

Want to take it a step further and consider building your own custom video experiences? Explore all the features of the Vonage Video API

FAQs

A.

 

Here's a quick look at the different types of video conferencing:
  • 1:1 Video Conferencing: This kind of video conferencing involves a virtual meeting between two individuals who both access the meeting from their respective computers. 
  • Internal Team Video Conferencing: Similar to 1:1 video calls, team video conferencing involves a group of employees gathering together in the same video meeting. These video calls can usually rely on the same video conferencing infrastructure as 1:1 meetings. 
  • Virtual Events Video Conferencing: Consider this video conferencing at scale. Events video conferencing could involve an internal all-hands meeting for your business or a larger, public-facing event or webinar. In this case, your business might choose to onboard a more comprehensive video conferencing solution with features designed specifically for events; these solutions can accommodate a greater number of participants and differentiate between access modes for event hosts and attendees.  

 

Brian Pilgrim
By Brian Pilgrim Senior Video Specialist

Brian Pilgrim is an established video producer across many formats who oversees in-house video production at Vonage. He started his career as an independent cameraman and editor. His tenure as a video producer also includes previous work as an editor for a daily lifestyle show at NBC, and he served as the creator of an auto show at NBC LA that ran for two years. Prior to joining Vonage, Brian developed and led the production department for the United States Tennis Association and worked at CBS Digital to lead a digital production department for CBS Radio and CBS Local, as well as producing two shows for CBS Sports.

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