How to master the video conferencing call

How to master the video conferencing call

11 September 2020

If you didn’t use video conferencing software before the pandemic, there’s every chance that you do now.

As we’ve shifted online, some platforms have seen as much as a 2,000 percent increase in use. Much like streaming services, tools such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams have become a necessity to keep in touch with others while we’re all spending more time at home.

Video conferencing apps have become an important part of our daily lives, for both work and personal purposes. And they’re here to stay - even as we start to take steps to return to normality. We’ve put together a list of top tips on how to get the most out of your video calls, whether you’re using Zoom, Google Hangouts, Skype or one of the many other options available.

How can you get the most out of your internet when working from home?

During the height of the coronavirus pandemic, many of us were spending a record high of four hours per day online and making twice as many video calls than before. More time spent in the house also means increased reliance on household utilities, so it is no surprise that energy and broadband usage across the nation also increased during this period. We did some research into how energy and broadband usage in the UK was affected during lockdown.

It goes without saying that a stable internet connection is required for a successful video call. Nobody wants the dreaded buffering and blurry screen to appear halfway through an important meeting. It’s the telephone equivalent of going through a tunnel.

Try running a speed test to see your current bandwidth and make sure you’re getting the best performance from your broadband. If you find that you’re having difficulties, it might be worth limiting the number of devices connected to your router. If everyone in your household is streaming, downloading and running apps your bandwidth is used up much quicker, slowing down your internet. Some devices even use up bandwidth without you knowing by scheduling software updates, running apps in the background and backing up photos to the cloud.

There are a few tips and tricks to ensure you get a good Wi-Fi signal at home, and we’ve put together some guidance on how to get the best Wi-Fi signal

And if you feel like your broadband isn’t keeping up, you might want to think about swapping to a faster broadband package that better suits your needs.

What bandwidth allowance do you need to work from home effectively?

Having a good connection is essential for the majority of online activities, and while there’s no exact speed requirement, it’s safe to assume that internet bandwidth between 10 and 20Mbps will be sufficient. You can confidently expect to use tools like Google Suite, video conferencing such as Zoom or Skype and check your emails without any issues with these speeds.

With the UK average broadband speed currently 64Mbps, most people should enjoy a speedy connection that allows them to get plenty of juice out of their broadband while working from home.

How can you get the most out of your home internet when more than one person is using it at once?

It’s one thing to have a stable internet connection if you’re at home by yourself, but lockdown has meant that many households have multiple family members using the internet throughout the day. A family of four will need a faster internet connection than someone who lives alone.

25Mbps is the recommended bandwidth for a household with multiple people living under one roof. If you find there is a slowdown from several people being online at once, it might be worth investing in an internet boosting smart device such as Google Nest Wifi, which can emit bandwidth speeds of up to 2,200Mbps and improve your internet’s performance throughout your home.

Video calling software options

There are plenty of options on the market if you’re looking to use video calling software at home, so you can make calls to family members and participate in those all-important work meetings.

  • Zoom – the video-calling software with the most exposure during lockdown, Zoom lets you automatically schedule meetings, host calls with up to 100 people and you can even change your virtual background to jazz things up a bit.
  • Skype – one of the first video software apps, Skype allows for cross-platform functionality, is easy to use and lets you make both video and voice calls.
  • Slack – what started as a messaging app has evolved into a fully-functioning communications tool that allows businesses to make video calls with up to 15 participants.
  • Google Hangouts – you can enjoy an entire suite of tools with Google, including Hangouts, which lets you conduct video calls. It recently rebranded its business version of Hangouts, calling it Google Chat.
  • Microsoft Teams – another video app that saw mega growth during lockdown, Microsoft Teams is designed to let companies collaborate together. Features include video calling, documents and file sharing.

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