While we've all been living with social distancing and quarantine for the past few weeks, there is one thing every person working from home has in common, and there are millions of us. We are all struggling with crappy equipment and room setups, and therefore having terrible experiences with video conference calls. We almost all sound like crap, look way too small on a laptop screen, have delays and echoes, and it is affecting everyone's business in a negative way.
With remote work becoming the new normal for the foreseeable future, these problems need to be addressed and resolved.
We've outlined the potential problems that exist in every home office or virtual environment and how we intend to solve them:
- Bad network - Could be slow ISP, cheap equipment, or distance from the nearest AP, but a significant percentage of people have obvious issues such as voice lag. There should be a full-speed, multiple AP network in every home and home office.
- Bad acoustics - The dining room table or an empty guest bedroom affects the way a person sounds on the conference call. A room where you have video conferences should be acoustically treated to make your voice sound more effortless and natural.
- Bad Echo – Generally caused by mismatched gear, when a microphone and speakers aren't tuned right, you get a horrible delay and echo. You need a quality PC, microphone, and audio gear. Echos will destroy a presenter's effectiveness and distract their audience.
- Tiny Screen – You will never pay attention or learn as much from a presentation on a 13" laptop vs. an 85" LCD. Every proper home office today needs multiple large monitors. At a minimum, one for presenting your points, and one for viewing others. This can especially affect childhood learning, as our children continue to attend classes remotely.
- Bad Sound – News flash; the speakers on your laptop are not high fidelity, and they will most certainly affect your impression of the content you're viewing. There are tons of VoIP processors and soundbars equipped with a microphone array that we can source for our clients and give them genuinely natural sound, ensuring that the people on the other end of the call come through as if they are in the room.
- Bad Camera – Nearly all of us are using the built-in cameras on our laptops and phones, while there are a ton of huddle cam choices out there. Having a camera mounted from across the room that follows you around as you walk back and forth to your presentation slides or whiteboard drawings is our strong recommendation. It is a far cry from having a camera right under your nose and using screenshare for your presentation.
- Bad Artificial Lighting – Often, the people you are viewing simply don't look as good as they do in real life. Either their office has a terrible choice of high Kelvin LED bulbs that wash out their skin tone, or they have lights behind them than turn them into a shadow. Every home office should make sure that it is well lit with high CRI lighting.
- Uncontrolled environmental lighting – Not having shades on the windows of your viewing area, much like bad artificial lighting, can affect the way a person looks. Lack of shades can create a shadow if the light is behind them or wash out their skin tone if the light is too bright for the room. Of course, every modern home office should have shades that adapt to the sunlight and can block it out when appropriate.
Worst of all is that your video conference is only going to be as good as the weakest link. You can have huge screens and bad sound, and it's just as miserable as if it was on the laptop. These solutions absolutely require a professional custom integrator to pull off with perfection, and we are perfectly suited and experienced for the task.
So, we are proposing the following System Packages tailored specifically for your home or home office.
- Basic Videoconference starter kit - A 65" TV for viewing, with the addition of a dual monitor feature and soundbar/microphone array.
- Presenter Upgrade - Starter kit plus a huddle cam and an TV located over the client's shoulder for presentations.
- Power User - The ultimate executive setup. All of the above plus blazing internet, warm lighting, shades, acoustical treatments, and more.
- Virtual Classroom - Used for learning at a distance. Recommission the home theater or a spare bedroom into a makeshift classroom with a huddle cam and 2-way AV so kid’s and teachers can communicate more effectively.
- Party Room - One can assume that the online world will start to devise more and more ways to "party" online. This past week, several music events were held online and raised close to $200 million for various COVID-19 charities.
Do you need some help with your home office setup? Contact Bravas today to find out more!