5 Common Video Conferencing Problems
Guest Blog by Frankie Alvarado, CTO of VisibilityOne
Video conferencing should, in theory, be the technology that revolutionised business. By being able to have that visual human touch in clear-as-day audio and high-resolution visuals, video conferencing theoretically removed many of the logistical issues that bog down the work day while connecting people more effectively than simple phone conferences. So why doesn’t everyone use it?
The problem is that technology doesn’t always work the way we want it to. It’s easy to blame the platform itself; after all, isn’t that supposed to be what flawlessly works? But the issue here is that video conferencing can only work flawlessly when it’s properly supported on both an infrastructure and a user level. Is your video conferencing stuttering, stalling, and echoing? Try checking for these four issues first before giving up on the whole enterprise.
Problem 1: A lack of standards
Many cloud video platforms exist but which one is right for your company? That answer depends on a number of variables – your existing hardware, your conference needs, your conference room specifics, and of course, your budget. Some companies install the most advanced and expensive platform, which may be overkill for their needs. At the same time, these high-end capabilities may also fail to function optimally on lesser hardware, which could create a false sense of blame on the platform.
In situations like this, the best thing to do is to take a step back and see if the whole thing needs to be rebuilt from the ground up. No one likes to hear about that level of drastic action, but it’s a case of “short-term pain for long-term gain.” By finding the right fit for all of your needs, you will have a video-conferencing solution that is optimally designed to match your hardware capabilities and conference needs. This audit of hardware is all-encompassing: user workstations, audio devices, cameras, screens, and more. It’s the obvious (workstation CPU) and the surprising (most video conferencing solutions won’t work with Airpods, no matter how much we love them). By standardising the technology involved, everyone will be using a predictable solution.
Problem 2: A faulty infrastructure
Getting the right hardware is key, but the network infrastructure is one of the most important pieces to the puzzle – and it can be the reason why the platform feels like a failure. The worst possible thing that can happen after testing is using it the next morning during peak hours, only to get pixelation, freezing, audio/video desync, delayed video, and on. It’s easy to blame the equipment, but the equipment may only be the middleman. Instead, digging all the way up to the root cause brings it to the network.
That could lead to IT infrastructure questions, because data only travels as fast as the slowest component. Are you still transmitting data on CAT3 cabling? Are you still using general consumer networking gear (router, switches, and firewalls) instead of optimised enterprise equipment? Is your networking gear configured to prioritise Audio and Video traffic to define Quality of Service? If your platform is optimised for your given hardware configuration (in the first point) and you’re still having issues, it’s time to look at the infrastructure.
Problem 3: People don’t use it
Here’s a simple issue – you’ve got a great optimised video conferencing system and you’re losing money on it simply because it’s sitting idle, despite all the researching, evaluating, negotiating, and configuration. The thing is, tech is not “if you built it, they will come.” Instead, people often fear change, and as an administrator, one of the biggest tasks is actually building an encouraging environment. Try talking about these benefits when changing your company culture to one that embraces video conferencing:
- Stronger collaboration and communication through face-to-face visuals
- Avoid traffic, skip travel, and reduce carbon emissions
- Faster, easier face-to-face for increased efficiency and productivity
- Save on the practical costs of travel
- Better personal feel and stronger relationships with partners, team members, and vendors
Problem 4: People are using it wrong
Telling people to use the new video-conferencing platform is one thing, but even if they’re enthusiastic, they still need to know how to do it. Training is often overlooked and usually an afterthought due to a failed user adoption. Thus, it’s best to hit the ground running with user adoption. The following tips are proven paths to higher user adoption rates – and in some ways, may actually protect the hardware from misconfiguration or damage by frustrated users:
- Accommodate one to one training sessions
- Distribute a cheat sheet including helpdesk support info
- Publish short training videos on your intranet
- Survey your users about what they do/don’t like
- How to put the device in sleep mode
- Identify a device already in sleep mode
Problem 5: The biggest, easiest problem to solve
That’s a lot of information to pass along, both among your IT team and your company’s user base. But the most important point addresses the easiest – but biggest – issue. No one is going to know any of this without strong communication, so the simplest way to get the ball rolling into optimising your technology and your user rates is to communicate. All of the points listed above start from that – which is kind of what video conferencing is all about, when you think about it.
Guest Blog by Frankie Alvarado, CTO of VisibilityOne
VisibilityOne is revolutionising video monitoring by delivering deeper insights through patented technology that goes beyond conventional SNMP monitoring tools. Our data-rich view, across multiple vendors and cloud services, provides real-time performance and unprecedented actionable insights into devices, applications, and the operating environment.