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How to Use Video Collaboration at Home for the First Time
2020 world events have caused a number of changes for workers. One of these changes revolves around how we communicate with our co-workers. In order to keep in touch with employees, companies are looking to video collaboration.
To help with the transition, Horace Savarino, the pre-sales technical manager for Logitech in Australia and New Zealand, hosted a webinar on using video collaboration at home, which is full of handy tips and tricks.
Good morning, everybody. We’re just waiting on a few more people to join the call. So please sit tight for a couple more minutes.
Just give it one more minute, before we start.
Good morning, everybody. My name is Horace Savarino. I’m the pre-sales technical manager for Logitech in ANZ. And for you [who are] new to this sort of broadcasting that we’re doing at the moment, I can’t see you. So essentially you’re all – you can see me, but I can’t see you. So just so that anyone who’s new to broadcasting and video conferencing, yeah, you won’t be – all you’ll be able to see is myself.
Today, what I’d like to talk about, is essentially a couple of topics.
So working from home, what should we be doing? You should have a routine in place, smart working space and the right gear, and also take regular breaks.
So, working from home is now becoming a new challenge for a lot of people. And I find the best thing to do is always stick to a routine, even though you’re not going to the office as you were normally. Try to dress up even if you are at home, like I’ve got my Logitech shirt on and I’m presenting to you at this point in time.
Set up a space for yourself to work comfortably and away from distractions. As you can see, I’m in my home office, and I’m actually using a standup desk rather than a chair. But, depending on what your circumstances are at home, wherever the space might be, try to make it comfortable for yourself.
We want also – talking about video conferencing, like we’re doing right now – lighting is very important. So turn on the light, so that way you’re backlit. So if I was to turn off my light here, my quality of my video is still pretty good, but not as good as if I had back lighting on.
When you’re not talking, what’s the best thing to do is always mute. So as you can tell at the moment everybody’s muted, the only one that’s not muted is myself. So, it’s essentially just etiquette, and polite, that way you’re not fighting, not everyone’s just typing away or distracted with noises around them as well.
The other thing to note, especially in video conferencing and when working from home, is having a decent webcam. So, currently I’m using a 4k webcam, and it’s broadcasting – essentially – pretty well. And you should be able to see me, naturally, there.
And as you can tell, I’m also a little bit nervous. So this is my first session I’ve done on one of these, so please be patient with me a little bit.
The other thing to note, besides the webcam, is if you can get one, is a good pair of headphones. Now, essentially, you’d like to make sure they’re comfortable, so if you are on long calls you can be comfortable with the headphones. Also, you should also consider having a pair of headphones with ANC. So something like that.
What is ANC? Active Noise Canceling. Essentially what the ANC does, it blocks out background noise because of the way the microphones are designed.
So, besides having a really good pair of headphones, having a set of speakers connected to your laptop or your tablet, or whatever the kind of device you’re using, is also important. So that way your image is clear, your audio is clear, and you can actually be heard and be seen properly.
What you can also do to help out in your home office, if you can, is get yourself a second monitor, like the way I’ve got it set up in my home office here. With the two monitors, at least I can view my notes, and also this will be part of the conversation as well.
The other thing I want to talk about as well is, depending on what kind of device you might have in terms of laptops or tablets, sometimes some of these newer devices only come out with one USB port. So you can essentially get yourself a USB expander, or something like that, and that way you can connect that to your laptop and still have multiple peripherals plugged into your device. So it’s always a good place to keep in mind.
Obviously there’s lots of different adapters as well, that you can get. You can get this one. So this one here is an Acer one, that does a similar sort of thing. You may need additional cables like VGA to display port adapters, and something along those lines.
And the other thing to note as well with your PC as well, when you’re on a call, try not to look down at your laptop and – if you can – elevate it, so put a couple of boxes underneath it, and that way you can actually be seen properly, rather than looking down at your laptop like you would normally do – you’re actually looking up. And what’s available at the moment on market, as well as little tripods – so you can actually mount the camera on the tripod and then be elevated, and can really keep the camera elevated.
The other thing, obviously as well, is you use the tools that have been provided by your organization, whether it’s Teams or Zoom, whether it’s Hangouts – they’re all available for you.
And, obviously, when on the call, try to be present, don’t get distracted by what’s going on via chat, or what’s happening in your own environment.
The last thing I probably wanted to mention on this as well, is always make sure you go on a break: go on a walk, get a cup of coffee, get a cup of tea, whatever you have, however you want to break up your day. Because that’s so important, especially when working from home.
And obviously the best thing to do, as well, is maximize your productivity. So whether that might be getting a new mouse, keyboard, and especially with mobile devices – have a good pair of headphones connected to that as well. You know, this is all essential tech to have at home so you can actually work effectively and efficiently. And that way you’ve got the tools available to you.
So, essentially these were the topics I wanted to bring up today. I wasn’t going to actually go talk about products in specific, but more about the general working from home environment that you should have already set up.
So I know a lot of you may have questions. What I’ll do is open it up for Q and A, so that way you can ask me any questions you might have.
If you want to put your questions through on the chat, or in the Q and A on the bottom of the screen, that’d be awesome.
I’m seeing a lot of questions coming through at the moment, in terms of what … hang on, sorry.
So I am using a webcam at this point, I’m actually using a Logitech BRIO, and it’s got a built-in screen protector as well – privacy covers, sorry – that’s got a privacy cover built into it.
Some cameras will do 4k, like this one here will do for 4K streaming. And it also – other cameras will only do 720p stream. So like there’s a few others on the market that only do 720, and our cameras can do 4k.
What does … so 4k is the screen resolution. So, generally, you might have a home panel at home that can do 1080p at 30 frames a second, streaming. The 4k resolution essentially will give you a greater field of view, greater depth of view, and also a higher resolution as well. So when you, like at the moment where you’re looking at me, the resolution should be coming up pretty clear.
Is there anything I can do when I experience poor connectivity?
Yeah. So, with the resolution as well, if you’ve got poor connectivity at home – when you’ve got poor connectivity, a lot of the collaboration tools that we’ve got available at the moment, in terms of Teams or Zoom, they’ve got built-in technologies in them which reduce the packets. So, essentially what that does is, it’ll reduce your quality, but still can maintain the connection. Now, if you lose it all completely, the lowest common denominator is audio. So even if you lose video, you still will always have the audio component as well.
What type of webcams would be good from a simple to high resolution?
So the tripod itself is more designed for a webcam, itself, so not for a mobile device. There are some products out there on the market that you can actually get, so your mobile phone does pair with the holder. So you can do that as well.
In terms of the leasing, I’ve got lots of questions coming through, so I’m going to try to get through them one by one.
Do I need to buy the full license to do BBC calls? At this point in time, you don’t have to buy the full license. It depends on the platform that you want to use. So if you, looking at Teams, you don’t need to get the full license to do that. If you’re looking at Zoom, you don’t have to either. They’ve all got a minimum requirement of a license, so it just depends on what you want to do as well.
So at the moment, yes Allen, I am actually using an external mic on this call, the headset – the quality of the mic on the headsets are pretty awesome, so you can use that, but in this particular case I’m doing it as well.
“What kind of webcam specs should I consider for a normal meeting?”
Look, for a normal meeting, you don’t need 4k. You can just use a normal webcam, anything that can do 720, that’s sufficient, that people are still going to see you clearly, and you don’t need to have a fully spec’ed webcam at all.
There’s another question come through here,
“What’s the benefit of a webcam over the camera built-in on my laptop?”
Well, some of the laptops, that the quality of the cam inside the laptop itself isn’t fantastic. And that’s why I always choose an external webcam over the internal laptop. There are devices out there, like the service laptops and the service books, their quality of the cameras is exceptional. So that is a lot better having a webcam because you can also elevate it. So you can put it on top of a monitor – that’s essentially how I’ve got to sit up here, and you can do that.
Yeah. So this is a question from Donna.
“I will have to teach a dual mode class, some online and some present. Do you have any tips for the set up of the camera? I’m assuming I have to look at the screens and the class.”
So if you’ve got a dual screen set up, what you can essentially do is put your camera in the middle of the monitors. So something like – I can’t do it here, I can’t actually show you – essentially, put the camera so that it’s basically … Like that, if you can see that. So that way, if you’re mounting it on two screens, you can actually have it set up on the display like that.
Yeah. So this is another question from Gordon.
“What is the best camera option if you need to connect it to an iPad?”
Yeah, that’s going to – iPads are a little bit tricky because they don’t actually have an additional port to plug into an iPad. So, you’re not going to be able to get anything to support it on the iPad itself, unfortunately. So you can’t do that.
Okay. So I’ve been asked a really good question.
“Could you please suggest the best way to manually control your webcam settings, exposure, focus, etc.”
So, most of the cameras available out there on the market, do have some sort of software available to you. So you can actually control the camera, like with the Logitech cameras, we have the Logitech camera settings application that you can load. And that way you can actually adjust the exposure, and webcam settings as well.
So Pat asked the question,
“Can the webcams work on a Mac?”
Yes, they can. So all of our – well, any of the Logitech webcams or majority of the brands out there will work with that
Edmond’s asking the question,
“What is the recommended solution to be able to set up multiple webcams for a webinar?”
So that’s an interesting one, and you can set up multiple. It depends on what platform you’re connecting to. So, say for instance, in this particular case, I’ve only got the one camera into it for the webinar, but it’s more about potentially having two laptops to do that.
Another bit of questions come through,
“Should we have any privacy concerns when it comes to webcams in general?”
Well, this – the majority of the webcams available these days do all have a privacy cover on them. So if you are concerned about that, when your camera is not in use just basically, either, put down the privacy cover or disconnect it. I’ve seen a lot of things out there in the workforce, where people have actually put little bits of sticky tape over the laptop cam, or there’s even little privacy covers for the laptop cameras available as well. So you can actually, there are things out there, but you shouldn’t really be too concerned about that, but if you are, you can certainly use the privacy covers.
I’m just reading another question here from Tony.
“With Logi wireless headsets, how do you manage the connection between PC and phone?”
So you can toggle between the two. Now, that is because the Logitech headset can actually pair Bluetooth with both the mobile and the headset, and also your PC, you can manage that. So if you’re on a call with the Logi Headsets, and you get another call on your mobile, you’re not going to be interrupted. So that’s how that works.
“What do you recommend for teleworkers?”
It’s probably, for teleworkers, I’ll probably recommend a wired headset, that way you’re not too concerned about battery life running out.
I think I’ve gone through most of the questions – I’m just looking for … having a look.
Another one has come through from Louise.
“Can you also split a screen with one teleprompter, and video record with webcam, so it looks natural and eyes gaze in the webcam, instead of staring to one side.”
That’s a very good question. Where is, probably … I might research that one for and get back to you on that one, if that’s okay?
So yeah, I’ll explain that also. So it says recording, does that record, meaning recording on my side? So the recording, we are recording the session, I probably should have announced when we first got on this call, the recording is being done on my side. So it’s not actually being recorded. You’re not being recorded on this call. So it’s essentially recording my session at this point in time.
I’m looking at another question here from Paul.
“Will it be possible to get access to the recording after this presentation? I need to run off shortly, thanks.”
Yeah, absolutely Paul. I think we’d be able to manage to get that. So I’ll have a chat to Kristy and see if we can actually send you a link after this.
Are there any better benefits of certain basic platforms over others? Really, it comes down to the organization and what you use. There are benefits from some platforms to others, but from my perspective, from a Teams or Hangouts or a Zoom platform, they’re all pretty much on par. Teams has got benefits where you can have all your files stored in one location, as opposed to – that way you can have channels set up in teams. You can have channels set up and people can actually store information.
Zoom is more of a UC platform as well, which also incorporates messaging and files as well. So it really comes down to more what your organization is planning, which way your organization is going. Generally speaking, most organizations will run two platforms at some time, at some point. So you could have been running Teams for IM presence, and you might have used Zoom for video, or you might have Hangouts and Teams, or it could be a mixture of the combination.
So I’ve got another question here from John.
“I tend to use an external sound card to input guitar and voice. Are there any settings to consider?”
There are. There are other applications in there that can actually make that sound better, but it’s going to the far side, from a VC perspective. So you can actually get up applications that have set up a stereo sound for music. So, that way you can actually transmit that clearly.
Well, I don’t know if there’s any other questions that you’d want to have, but hopefully, I know I ran through that pretty quickly, and I do apologize. I think my nerves got the better of me. But if you’d like to have a chat to me at any time, please reach out. I’ll send out my email address after this call, and that way you can actually ask me anything you want on VC or, or the peripheral questions that you may have. So I’m happy to answer anything, any questions for you.
In saying that? Well, I’ll just share, let me just share… I’m going to give you some final useful tips, if I can, just bear with me one second.
So, useful tips just for when working from home is, obviously create some boundaries from work life and your personal life, and more so obviously where you’re at home stay healthy.
Stay connected, video chat with your family and friends, and that way you’ve always got that available to you, whether it’s FaceTime, whether it’s WhatsApp, whether it’s Teams or whether it’s Zoom, whatever the platform might be – stay connected.
Maintain a schedule – set a schedule for yourself throughout the day and try to stick with it. Schedule breaks, just like when you’re working in the office, make sure you’re giving yourself a little bit of downtime as well. So that way you can relax.
And obviously tools for success – equipment that will allow you to work from home easily, and more effectively. They’re the sort of things that I would like to leave with you, and that way you can feel that you are still working, but that you’re at home at this point in time.
With saying that, if you don’t have any other questions, cool, we can …
So thank you. And I just want to thank you for your time. I hope you found this informative and I didn’t rush through with it too quickly. I will actually do another session – one of these sessions coming up coming up in the next couple of weeks, and will try to break it down a little bit further for you all. So thank you. Thank you again, guys. And I hope to see you soon.
Setting up for a video conference
When setting up for a video conference, there are a lot of important steps to take. This is because a successful video meeting is dependent upon a number of things, such as the quality of your laptop, headphones and working environment.
Finding the right desk
When working from home you want to be comfortable, and this often starts with the desk you use. Whether it’s a traditional desk with a chair, or a standup desk, it’s important to look for comfort.
This is because if you aren’t comfortable, you are prone to fidget and move around, which can become very distracting when taking part in a video conference. So, take the time to set up a desk that is both comfortable and positioned away from distractions.
Investing in noise cancelling headphones
It goes without saying that video conferences should be held in a quiet environment. However, with multiple members of the household working or studying from home, this might not always be possible. To combat this, a pair of Active Noise Cancelling headphones may be needed.
Savarino explains that, because of their design, noise cancelling headphones block out the background noise, allowing you to focus on the meeting and its contents. Even if another member of your family is speaking loudly in the next room.
Having the right webcam
Horace Savarino notes that when it comes to video conferencing, it’s also important to have a decent webcam. A product like the Logitech BRIO offers 4K streaming while other cameras may only have the capacity to stream at 720p.
This is important because as Savarino says,
“… 4K resolution essentially will give you a greater field of view, greater depth of view and also a higher resolution as well.”
When it comes to setting up for a video conference at home, it’s all about maximising productivity. So by purchasing some essential technology like quality webcams, you can work more effectively and efficiently, even if you’re working from a home desk.
Choosing lighting wisely
The importance of lighting when video conferencing is paramount. Many people will open their blinds during the day, however, this doesn’t let enough light into the webcam and therefore the displayed picture.
Having the right balance when it comes to lighting is important because, as Savarino says, the quality of the video isn’t as good if you’re not backlit. The term backlit means turning the light on in order to provide a clearer picture.
When it comes to video conferencing, the picture is everything. That’s why as workers, we need to be making sure that our colleagues have the best view possible when it comes time to hold meetings via video collaboration.
Getting familiar with webcam settings
When it comes to using extra technology in order to effectively use the communication means of video collaborations, it’s important to become acquainted with your technology. This means learning all the tips and tricks and featured settings.
As Savarino explains, Logitech cameras come with an application to load called Logitech camera settings. This means that individuals can remotely control the settings of the webcam in order to find the right exposure and focus for their required purposes.
Researching different video conference platforms
Thanks to modern technology there are a lot of video conferencing platforms available to the average business and its workers. Depending on what service any one business is looking for, one platform may be more beneficial than others.
Savarino says that platforms such as Teams, Hangouts or Zoom “are all pretty much on par”. Teams has the benefit of storing files in one location, meaning that you can set up channels within Teams where people can actually store information. Zoom is more of a unified communications platform, but which offers users the ability to incorporate messaging and files as well.
When deciding on a platform to use, businesses will have to determine their key wants and needs and go with the platform that can satisfy them.
Video collaborations at home
Setting up for video collaborations at home can be a tricky task. However, by purchasing the essential technology, setting up in the right environment and getting to know your new equipment, you will be a pro at video conferencing in no time.
Of course, if you need help with your search for the right product, or technical support along the way, the team of representatives at Logitech are ready and waiting to guide you through your new setup.
With a Masters in Business Marketing, and a 15 year background spanning process management, B2B relationship management and customer facing roles, Kristy has always held an interest in the psychology behind customer choices. As Logitech’s Business Marketing Specialist for the last three years, Kristy has looked after all outgoing and internal marketing objectives, working with external agencies to create a holistic product offering through ads and content. Kristy’s goal is to ensure Logitech is known as a serious player in the collaboration space; not just boardroom suitable, but easy to deploy from wherever work happens. She’s passionate about helping customers identify their next normal through hybrid working spaces to ensure business continuity, and is thrilled to collaborate with her wider team in a company that sees itself as a huge ambassador for working from home.
VC Marketing Manager, ANZ