When it comes to business, several factors can contribute to success. Among them is the ability for businesses and their employees to collaborate and communicate with one another, regardless of how far apart they may be. Fortunately, the information technology area has experienced unprecedented growth over the past two decades, helping bridge that distance gap through various means such as video conferencing.
While not every business will use video conferencing regularly (in fact, some don't even make use of e-mail), those who do should consider investing in certain pieces of equipment to help ensure that collaboration goes as smoothly as possible. Here we take a look at four pieces of common equipment used for video conferencing (and likely to be used by businesses of all sizes) along with details about what they are and how they're typically used.
1) WEBCAMS/VIDEO CAMERAS
Webcams, also known more commonly as just 'cameras,' are most commonly found on laptops and desktop computers though they can be attached to other pieces of equipment, such as projectors. They come in two varieties: fixed focus and auto-focus. Fixed-focus lenses have a fixed focal length, whereas auto-focus ones don't.
For video conferencing work, they're generally fitted with a high-resolution sensor, most commonly found in VGA format (640 x 480). In addition, they will have a resolution of at least 2 megapixels, but anything over 3 megapixels is preferred. They'll also come equipped with either a built-in microphone or one which can be attached via a jack plug.
Flipcharts are used in meetings to write down ideas or record decisions during the meeting, for example, brainstorming ideas. In contrast, you can use whiteboards to put up important points for discussion and use markers to point out key points. The advantage of whiteboards is that you can easily wipe them off after your meeting to use them again when needed. You should make sure you have enough flipchart paper (preferably not too much, because people often waste time drawing unnecessarily) and pens with different coloured inks to distinguish between them while writing comments.
A projector allows you to see your computer screen on a large screen, the wall, or any other surface using an image cast by an overhead projector, LCD projector, or data projector. They can be used as part of presentations, videos, or slideshows created via the computer provided the presentation has been prepared beforehand by creating it on your computer and then captured through software to deliver it at the right moment during the meeting. Some projectors also allow you to record meetings onto DVDs/CDs to be viewed again afterward for future reference.
4) NETWORKING EQUIPMENT
Network cables are used for transmitting data between different devices, a basic set of network cables. They include a cable that connects your computer to the modem through the telephone line and another cable that connects your modem to your local area network (LAN) – these two cables from a "patch cable." For wireless connectivity, you would also need an antenna or Wi-Fi card/adapter, which you can fit into any open USB port on the back of the computer. There are many different types of networking cables, so it's best to understand what each one does before buying them. That will ensure you only buy the ones you need rather than wasting money on unnecessary cables.
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