Over the past few years, the many advantages of using video conferencing in a variety of applications have been heavily publicized. Whether organizations and individuals, those new to the technology but looking to get the most out of it in order to gain an edge over their rivals are working hard to set up their own systems from scratch.
If you are interested in putting together a video conferencing setup but have no idea where to begin in terms of video conferencing technology, you’ve come to the right place. Below, you will find detailed information on the basic video conferencing tools, including hardware, software, and networking tools, that you need to set up a reliable and effective system.
Basic Video Conferencing Hardware Tools
For the best video conferencing experience, it is important to have the right equipment paired with a great software solution. When it comes to the hardware required to support video conferencing technology, users can either go with dedicated video conferencing equipment or their familiar, trusty internet-enabled computers and accessories.
Dedicated video conferencing equipment is designed to be used for web meetings right out of the box. This means that the equipment comes with all the necessary hardware needed – cameras, microphones, displays, and so on – to bring your video conferencing solutions to life with minimal hassle.
However, most users prefer to use computers, tablets, and smartphones because they are already on hand, more readily available, and cost much less. If you already have a computer that meets the minimum requirements for video conferencing, you only need to get your hands on a few accessories, discussed below, to get things started.
Here’s a breakdown of some of the basic hardware tools required to provide you with a high-quality video conferencing experience.
One of the main advantages of video conferencing is that it makes it possible for participants who are miles away from each other to meet and talk “face-to-face” over the internet. The visual element of web meetings ensures that the non-verbal aspects of in-person communication are not lost, even when the parties involved in the meeting are not in the same room. Non-verbal cues such as body language and facial expressions are still maintained, ensuring that the interaction is as close to real life as possible.
To ensure that your own video conferencing experience is as close to real-life, face-to-face interaction as possible, it is important to have a high-resolution webcam as part of the recommended video conferencing tools. In most cases, built-in computer webcams, as well as those on smart devices, only offer basic functionality; this can be improved by purchasing a separate, dedicated webcam. Since different web conferencing solutions support different video resolutions, make sure that the webcam you buy provides you with the quality of video you need for the video conferencing technology you are using.
While a basic high-resolution webcam will be good enough, an omni-directional, rotating webcam will make it possible for you to focus it on any object, which may come in handy if you are showing products to those in the online meeting, or if you need to pan from one person to another in a conference room set-up for one of the participating locations in the meeting.
High-Quality External Microphones
To provide a positive web conferencing experience for all parties involved, it is important to have the best equipment needed to capture clear audio. Your computer’s built-in microphone might struggle in this regard, especially considering that it is relatively far away from your mouth; this means that you might have to elevate your voice to ensure that the mic picks up all the sound.
If you intend to host the web meeting by yourself, then a high-quality headset might be enough to ensure that you capture and transmit clear audio for your audience. However, if you intend to have several presenters sharing the same microphone from the same location, then another video conferencing tool to seriously consider is an omni-directional microphone. These powerful microphones are designed to capture high quality audio from all directions. With these properly set up, all presenters will be clearly audible to the audience without the need to lean into the microphone, thus allowing each presenter to maintain eye contact with other presenters and the audience at all times via the webcam.
Noise-cancellation headphones may also be needed if you intend to participate in a web conference in a noisy environment, like a restaurant or an open office.
Monitor or Display Screen
To participate in a web conference, you need to get your hands on a capable display screen. As previously highlighted above, the visual element of web conferencing technology is one of the main reasons it has become so popular over the last several years.
The best type of monitor to use depends on the number of people at the location. A smartphone, tablet, or computer monitor might be sufficient for a single user, while a large TV screen, projector, or dual displays are better video conferencing tools for use in conference rooms, lecture theaters, or boardrooms, where a group of participants will be attending the web event from a single location.
Computer Processing Resources
Computing power is an essential part of today’s web conferencing technology. For the best user experience, it is important for you to use a computer or mobile device that has the processing power to meet the basic requirements of the video conferencing solution in use. Failing to use a powerful enough computer or mobile device may result in the quality of your video and audio being downgraded to match the capabilities of your device, thus affecting your overall experience and the experiences of those on the other end.
The basic computing power required to support the best performance for most modern video conferencing technology is about 2GB RAM with a quad-core processor. While you might be able to get by with a slightly lower power, note that the video and audio quality may suffer accordingly.
Obviously, you need an internet connection to participate in a web conference. Just like a slow computer or mobile device is bound to lead to a sub-par video calling experience, a slow internet connection is bound to affect the quality of the video and audio transmitted. With a proper video calling solution, the audio and video quality will adjust dynamically with the amount of bandwidth. A general rule is that as the number of participants increases, so too must the amount of available bandwidth you require.
To give you an idea of the bandwidth you need for an enjoyable and satisfying web conferencing experience, consider this: For 15 frames per second at 720p resolution, 1 Mbps per video attendee is enough. To achieve 30 frames per second at 4K resolution (the higher end of visual quality), you need 4 Mbps of bandwidth per video attendee.
Video Conferencing Software Requirements
Even with high-end hardware specifically designed to support today’s advanced video conferencing technology, you need to have the right software; otherwise, you risk having a poor user experience.
While the right hardware and a strong network will make it possible for you to participate in web meetings, the software acts as the portal through which you and your online meeting attendees see, talk, and exchange files and messages with each other. The software not only encodes and decodes video, audio, and text data for secure transmission across the network between different computers or devices used by different web conference participants, but it also ensures that it is sent in real-time. The software, therefore, is probably the most important part of the video conferencing experience.
For the best user experience, it is recommended that you go with a highly capable but easy-to-use video conferencing software solution that matches your hardware and network capabilities. The best solution should come with a list of useful and value-added features that make it easier for you to get the most out of your existing system.
Most of today’s web conferencing solutions are cloud based for efficiency purposes, as well as to facilitate easy and convenient access. Here’s a brief description of some of the main features to look for in the best video conferencing software.
If you intend to use web conferencing in your core business activities, then it is important that it bears the right branding. After all, your organization’s brand is an important part of its identity.
A white-label video conferencing solution makes it possible for users to use their own branding elements, including colors, logos, and domain names, to communicate their brand to all participants of their web conferences or events. With such a solution, you can be sure that everyone attending your web events will always see the same branding your organization uses. If you intend to resell web conferencing services, having built the necessary system with the above tools, this white-label feature enables you to put your own company’s branding on the solution.
Simply put, the white-label feature ensures that you can own the entirety of the presentations you make using the solution by applying your very own unique branding to all aspects of the software.
Secure Data Transmission
Web conferencing relies on the electronic transmission of video, audio, and text data. While this swift method of data transmission does enhance the accuracy and efficiency of many operations, it also introduces a significant security threat. This has even led to the introduction of various regulations to ensure that anyone handling private information secures it from such risks. For instance, if you intend to use web conferencing technology in healthcare applications, you need to ensure that it is HIPAA compliant.
To safeguard the security of your web conferencing communications, be sure to choose a solution that employs secure data transmission systems and protocols.
For starters, the best solutions encrypt all data before transmission. This involves scrambling the data before it is sent over an internet connection, and then putting it all back together after it reaches the recipient. This way, even if the data is intercepted during transmission, it will not make any sense to an unauthorized user.
Secondly, to prevent unauthorized access during transmission, the best solutions make use of peer-to-peer networking. This means that the encrypted data is sent from the sender’s computer to the recipient’s computer without going through a server. Servers can be an extra point of vulnerability to various security threats, and avoiding them during the data transfer phase of online video conferencing meetings eliminates these risks.
Finally, since web presentations can be recorded for documentation and future reference, the solution chosen should do so in a secure location.
One of the main benefits of online webinars or video conferences is the fact that they enable the host/presenter to effortlessly reach an audience, made up of people who are miles away from each other and using a variety of internet enabled devices, without anyone having to leave the comfort of their home, office or any other suitable location.
If you want to make it as easy as possible for your audience to follow your online presentation, then be sure to choose a browser-based solution. This feature makes it possible for attendees to follow your webinar via their device’s browser without having to download any app or software.
Screen and File Sharing
The best video conferencing tools allow you to share your screen display, as well as any applications running on your computer, with other participants in your web presentation or webinar.
Many top solutions make it possible for hosts or presenters to give other participants in the video meeting the ability to share their screen as well. This not only makes it easier for presenters to demonstrate how new products or solutions work, but also increases collaboration, as any attendee’s screen can be viewed by all meeting participants.
Video conferencing technology has evolved quite a bit over the last decade. Newer and more efficient hardware and software tools and solutions have made it more powerful than ever. As you can see from this blog article, all you need to set up and use this highly beneficial technology is the right hardware, a strong network and a feature-rich web conferencing solution such as MegaMeeting.
MegaMeeting solves the biggest challenges of modern video conferencing. For users, it is an all-in-one platform that delivers both video conferencing and webinars in a single, simplified interface. For attendees, it is 100% browser-based, making it highly accessible; joining a meeting is instantaneous from a single click. For enterprises, it is highly customizable, with white-labeling options for a private branded solution. For developers, it is API-driven and easy to integrate.
Powered by WebRTC, Node.js, React, and GraphQL, it is a cutting-edge platform that is fun and easy to use for users and developers alike.