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Photo credit to: Shutterstock
Photo credit to: Shutterstock

Video conferencing is becoming a large industry. The technology promotes communication in a broad array of areas including business and education. Depending on the type of web conferencing you want and need to use, and the scope of your conference, there are different types of hardware that you will need, in addition to software like Blue Jeans conferencing software. A quick, one-on-one meeting can be managed on a mobile device, but a full-on conference may require more hardware.  Before running out and purchasing equipment for an upcoming video conference, take a look at the your web conferencing options and the hardware needed to achieve different conferencing goals.

Mobile Meetings
Video meetings have been around for years, but they haven’t always been in vogue. The reason for the delay in video conferencing popularity was that the available hardware was not up to par with the software. In the past couple of years, however, technology has greatly improved. Now, there are many mobile devices available on the market that are well suited for using video meeting applications like those provided by Blue Jeans and other telecommunication companies. When looking for a mobile device that will make video conferencing easy and convenient, Verizon Wireless recommends that you  look for a device with the a long-lasting battery, fast processor, and front facing camera. A long lasting battery will ensure that the phones power is not drained too quickly while using the video chatting application of your choice. A front facing camera makes it easier to frame the shot and make sure that the other party(ies) can see you. A fast processor will help to reduce lag time in conversation relay. Verizon notes that two of the best cell phones for video chatting are the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and Motorola’s Droid Turbo. One of the best tablets for video conferencing, according to Verizon, is the Sony Xperia, although the iPad and iPhone are also popular with consumers.

Educational Web Communication
Video conferencing is extremely popular in the field of education. Many universities are converting standard classrooms into “smart rooms” that are fully equipped for video conferencing. This technology is then being used to facilitate online course offerings as “distance learning” becomes more and more popular. Colorado University explains that some of the hardware available in university grade video conferencing rooms include: multi-line speaker phone that is connected to a land line service, a mounted web-enabled video camera, wireless or mounted microphones and speakers, a Bluetooth projector for displaying slides, and a projections screen. In addition to enabling schools to offer online courses, these rooms are also open for professors to attend video conferences and meetings, and to students who need to attend a long-distance interview.

Conferences on the Web

Holding a full scale conference via the web is vastly different from a one-on-one video meeting and requires more advanced hardware than the tiny cameras that come mounted on a laptop, tablet, or smart phone. Genius explains that wide angle cameras work best for conferencing. A 120 degree viewing range allows a speaker to be able to stand at a podium or on-stage, in front of visual aids and projection screens, and even to walk around while presenting, all while remaining in view. Built-in speakers and microphones are also not enough for a large scale video conference. The host typically needs a wireless clip-on microphone to allow for broader range of motion. A good speaker system is also needed for conferencing. As LIfehacker explains, an efficient and convenient option is to use headsets that combine an earphone speaker and a microphone in one device. They list the top three tech companies offering headsets for video conferencing as: Sennheiser, Logitech, and Steelseries. These items, combined with good, front angled lighting, can help to make your next web conference a success.
The software needed for web conferencing has been around for a while, but it has taken several years for internet connections and hardware options to catch up and become compatible with video conferencing. Depending on the scale of web conferencing you are looking to take part in, whether you want to host one-on-one mobile meetings, small family get-togethers, classes, or full scale conferences affects the type of hardware you need. Mobile web meetings can be accomplished with a mobile device that has a fast processor, internet connection and built in camera, speakers, and microphone. But you’ll need a multi-part set up for larger conferencing. A conference setup can be as simple as a mounted camera and a land line speaker phone, or as complex as a projector and screen, Bluetooth web cam, and wireless headsets with speakers and microphones. Evaluating your intentions and needs before purchasing equipment for web conferencing can help to ensure that you get exactly what you need to most a successful video conference.

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