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During the COVID-19 pandemic, video conferences have become the norm for businesses across the globe. As of March 2021, the Zoom platform had over 300 million daily meeting participants. Things might be returning to normal slowly, but it’s clear that video conferencing is here to stay for businesses, remote workers, and even freelancers.
Unfortunately, it’s also become a new work stressor.
Remote work anxiety is a very real thing, and it’s been on the rise over the last year. While it’s easy to assume that working from home is less stressful, it can actually add more pressure to an employee than working in a traditional office setting. Video conference anxiety is only a small part of that.
Let’s take a closer look at why remote work and stress can go hand-in-hand, and what you can do to alleviate the anxiety that stems from it – as well as the worries behind video conferencing.
How could working from home possibly cause someone to be anxious? To fully understand that, you have to break down the specific challenges that come from remote work. Some of those include:
Then, of course, you have the “little” issues that could come up every day, like problems with technology. Unexpected stressors like these can make things even worse and can trigger deeper mental health issues, including anxiety. In fact, some of the problems associated with remote work, including isolation and extra pressure, can contribute to the formation of different anxiety disorders like:
Whether you feel overwhelmed because your family/roommates are distracting, your schedule is thrown off, or you just miss the daily interaction with your co-workers, working from home isn’t the ideal solution for everyone at first. It takes dedication and a willingness to adapt. Even then, anxieties can linger – especially over certain aspects that come with remote work, like video conferencing.
Video conferencing is nothing new. MediationSuites™ has been around since 2018 but online meetings have seen a huge increase since December 2019. Needless to say, it’s “new” to a lot of people. As a result, the term “Zoom anxiety” is new, too. But, it’s a very real problem for people who dread getting on a video conference call with others.
So what causes video conference anxiety, and why is it happening so often?
Research suggests that when you’re taking part in video conferences, your brain is carrying a heavier cognitive load. You have to attempt to read the nonverbal cues of others on the call while increasing your amount of eye contact. Other possible culprits include:
Sitting on video conferencing calls all day can also cause you to become more self-conscious about the way you look on screen. This type of anxiety can manifest itself in different ways. It can cause frustration and forgetfulness (like stage fright). But, it can also contribute to negative physical symptoms, like an increased heart rate and nausea.
Working remotely has become the norm for so many people, and it doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. It’s estimated that 22% of the American workforce will work remotely by 2025. If you’re someone who is experiencing remote work anxiety and/or video conference anxiety, you’re not alone.
Great news though... there are things you can do to fight against it.
Putting these strategies in place can help to ease your stress and make you more comfortable in a remote environment and on screen.
To start, make sure you have a dedicated office space. You don’t necessarily need to clear out an entire room, but you should have a space specifically meant for work, and nothing else. When you’re in that space, make sure your family or roommates know you’re working, and can’t be distracted.
Don’t be afraid to change up your space if you’re feeling uninspired or unproductive. Make sure your space is decluttered and clean to give you a clean slate. From there, add things that inspire you, from plants to personal items, to things that bring you comfort. Make your office your own, and let your personality come through.
It’s important to establish a routine. While working from home makes it tempting to wake up late and work strange hours, this can lead to an unhealthy work-life balance, damage your productivity, and cause extra stress. Stick to a daily schedule and have set working hours. You’ll be able to enjoy more personal time when you do.
Finally, take breaks and practice self-care. If you’re feeling anxious about working remotely or video conferencing, take better care of yourself. Do something every day specifically for you, whether it’s exercising, journaling, or taking a long bath. Self-care is a wonderful way to reduce stress. Depending on what you do, it can also boost your self-confidence and ease your worries over things you can’t control.
Just because remote work and video conferencing are here to stay, your anxiety doesn’t have to. Keep these ideas in mind to develop a stronger grasp on the cause(s) of your anxiety, and how you can cope as you continue to work from home.
If you haven’t planned a virtual event marketing strategy yet, you’re in the minority. The data shows that virtual events have increased by 1,000% since COVID hit. Virtual events have normalized the idea that an online training, sales, or product-related event is as cost-effective for attendees and sponsors as meeting in person is. Not to mention these digital meetups are just as effective at building brands and making sales—that is, if you know how to plan a virtual event correctly.
This article will help you professionalize your virtual event marketing and planning. It also shares virtual event engagement ideas and other tips that will help you succeed in creating an online forum to achieve your business goals.
You may already know that there are several types of virtual events out there:
· Live streams
· Online conferences
· Ask me anything sessions
Online platforms like Facebook offer virtual event venues, as do professional video conferencing platforms such as MegaMeeting. The one thing all these venues have in common is that they are less expensive than flying to a rented conference space. Today, a company of any size can plan a virtual event and reap the benefit of these smart, effective, and low-cost marketing tools. So, how do you plan your virtual event? Here is a checklist:
Establish clear goals and work backward.If you haven’t asked “why are we doing this?” you may not have a good event. Defining your measurable goals for the event should drive every decision you make, from which video conferencing provider you use to how you follow up on sales leads (if sales are your goal). We recommend using the time-trusted SMART system to plan your virtual event:
Choose the right virtual event vendor.This is tricky, simply because there are now dozens of video conferencing vendors on the market. You’ll develop your own criteria based on the type of event you’re conducting; however, here are a few things you might want to consider:
· Look for providers that offer outstanding security features along with secure HD service.
· Look for the ability to scale. For example, say you’re expecting 200 registrants but end up with more. Can your virtual event provider handle it?·
We also recommend the option for white labeling your conference. White label video conferencing solutions allow you to rebrand the technology as your own. Instead of advertising for the virtual event provider, why not use the opportunity to promote your own brand?
· Finally, consider that many of your conference attendees may not want to download app software to attend your show. Anything downloaded off the internet can be risky. Instead, consider using a web-based video conferencing solution for an easy one-click browser-based experience for your attendees.
How can you plan a virtual event? Let's look at planning and marketing a great, high-engagement event.
Develop a clear, engaging agenda. When developing your agenda, focus on what your target audience wants and needs. The entire experience of planning your virtual event should take into consideration everything from the audience’s perspective. For example:
· Consider mixing longer keynotes with lightning talks, which help viewers who may have different preferences for absorbing information. Use pre-recorded video. Engage the audience with live chat and Q&As. Talk with your video conferencing solution provider about the best way to use their features to your advantage.
· Make sure the agenda goes out to your attendees in advance, but also post it clearly on your landing page. The timings should be clearly marked, so attendees understand where they are in the session. There should be relevant links that are easy to find (such as links to speaker bios).
· Plan for moderators, particularly on any live chats or open forum sessions. It’s easier to misconstrue chat language, so train your moderators in how to handle the rules of the road. Give them access to good video conferencing features that allow them to administer these sessions.
The final step in how to plan a virtual event is to concentrate on marketing to meet your attendance goals. Here are some best practices to help with virtual event marketing.
Marketing a virtual event is both the same and different from promoting an on-site activity. The biggest difference is that the timeline for promoting a digital online event is probably shorter. You don’t have to spend weeks looking for a facility, catering, hotels, and more. That just means you have more time to spend on virtual event marketing—which is another plus. Our tips for virtual event marketing include:
· Create an easy-to-navigate registration page.
· Use social media.
· Do a countdown to the event, both with registrants and potential attendees.
· Offer viewers a taste of what’s to come at the event.
· Use keywords on social media to expand your reach.
· Use chatbots to answer event questions.
· Ask your sponsors, speakers, and other event partners to spread the word—and give them the tools they need to do it.
· Offer a discount if more than one person from an organization attends.
· Use your company blog to tie back to the event.
While these are just a few of our favorite virtual event marketing tips, the best promotion is only limited by your creativity. But now that you’ve promoted the event, and captured attendees, how will you engage them during the event? We have a few virtual event engagement ideas to share as well.
The goal of every event planner is to create activities that garner great reviews from attendees. The first step in designing an engaging virtual event is to check out what other companies are doing to retain their audiences. The statistics tell us that:
· 71% of marketers say they use polling during their events.
· 61% say they use video during the virtual event.
· 78% said they used a virtual event planning tool to make the event more engaging.
Some other great virtual event engagement ideas include:
· Partner with one of your speakers to offer an e-book as part of the attendance package.
· Offer on-demand as well as live content.
· Allow virtual networking at various times during the event.
· Live tweet or live stream from the virtual floor by interviewing attendees.
· Have a contest during the event with big prizes.
At MediationSuites™, we know you have a lot riding on your virtual event. That’s why we offer secure, reliable, and affordable HD web-based video conferencing to our clients. Talk with our team about how we can help make your next virtual event a huge success.
More than a year after the COVID pandemic forced many of us to go remote, we now know that video conferencing can be just as effective as an in-person meeting. This more than justifies the time you spend on your home office video conferencing setup. If you’ve been struggling to adapt to video conferencing as the new normal, this blog will help you establish the best home office setup to improve productivity and efficiency.
While you may think you have a cool home office setup, is it really geared for a day filled with video conference meetings? Do you appear as professional on the video chat as you think you are? We’ve found the best home office video conferencing setups also improve worker productivity. Here are some tips for you to consider, starting with the camera and computer setup for your video conferences.
Ask an actor and they’ll tell you that lighting means everything when someone is viewing you through a camera lens. Light placement 101 says that you don’t put the light source behind your camera: You’ll end up becoming a silhouette of yourself. Also, don’t put the lighting completely to one side. Have you seen the villain Two-Face in the Batman movies? Putting the camera to one side or another will create a good side/bad side effect with one cheek in the shade and the other in the light.
Instead, place the light in front of your camera or computer for a better home office video conferencing setup. It doesn’t matter if it’s natural light or a lamp, either. If you still don’t like the way you look, just add a second light source to the side with a soft light bulb. Desk lamps are great for this.
Audio can be very difficult to get right on a video conference. If the room is quiet the mic on your computer should work well. However, if you’re dealing with ambient noise like traffic or air conditioning, it certainly won’t give a great impression to participants. In these situations, use a remote mic that rests a little closer to your mouth, such as headphones that have audio, or a pair of earbuds.
For the best home video conferencing setup, you’ll want to be sure that your desk chair is in the right spot. You should be the focus of the camera, not a back wall or bookshelf or even something unprofessional like a laundry basket. You want participants in your video conference to feel like they’re having a one-on-one discussion with you. Put the camera in position so that viewers can see your shoulders and head. Be sure to be close enough so that if you relax back into your chair, your face won’t be too hard to see.
Your camera level should be in line with your eyes. Direct eye contact is important when speaking with people, even if you’re screen-to-screen. Since desks are rarely eye level, you’ll want to raise the height of your laptop or the separate camera you’re using. Practice looking into the camera lens. That will give the appearance that you’re meeting the eyes of the person on the other end of the video conference.
All of the preparation you’ve done on your home office video conferencing setup will be wasted if you don’t have high speed internet and a secure Wi-Fi connection. Unreliable or slow internet can make your video conference glitchy. This is both frustrating and unprofessional. Once you’ve found a decent internet provider, you can raise your router higher off the ground and into the open to facilitate a better signal. In addition, check in with your service provider to ensure you have an encrypted setup to protect your privacy.
You should look for a secure video conferencing provider. Research the best providers that offer end-to-end enterprise grade encryption. The provider should offer value-added features that improve communication with your team, such as integrating chat features, allowing virtual whiteboarding and providing a way for you to brand your meeting rooms. Also look for the best audio and imaging quality, with HD resolution. The video conferencing solution should allow you to screen share and run video while simultaneously talking. Does the provider require you to download software from the internet, or does it embed easily in a web browser?
While these are all great points to consider for your home office video conferencing setup, what about the space itself? What makes for a cool home office setup that also looks professional on camera?
Many people have been remote for more than a year now, so having a professional desk and not just your kitchen table probably makes sense. Having an ergonomically designed chair and desk goes beyond just making you look more professional; it’s also better for your health. It’s time to dump that kitchen bar stool and invest in some good lumbar back support. This will help you be more productive in the long run.
If you can afford it and have room, consider a standing desk, and alternate your sitting time with standing up and moving around. Most people recognize that sitting for long periods is bad for your health. If you’re designing a cool home office setup, consider making changes that are also good for you.
Finally, consider dual monitors. Expanding your workspace across dual screens is like spreading out papers on a big desk; it helps you stay organized and helps with multitasking. We recommend two identical monitors so you have the same kind of screen experience.
If you’re searching for the best home office setup video conferencing and webinar platform for productivity, efficiency, and reliability, look no further than MediationSuites™. We offer a browser-based, encrypted tool that is feature-rich, reliable, yet still affordable for even the smallest companies. Our secure best-in-class video conferencing solution can help you stay in touch with your team from your home office, or anywhere that work happens. Contact us today to find out more.
The conditions of today require the embrace of virtual conferences. The COVID pandemic is still far from over, and work-from-home policies are persisting. This means many of our meetings are still not face-to-face, but instead virtual, since millions of people are still working from home. Virtual conferencing, it seems, is here to stay.
One of the most common questions we hear from virtual meeting participants is, “What is the best background for video conferencing?” Choosing a backdrop for your video meeting can make a personal or professional statement—sometimes both. This blog will help you choose the best virtual background for your next work-related video conference.
Without a professional background behind you during your next work video conference, whoever joins you in your next meeting may judge you for the state of your home. A messy, cluttered background may leave the wrong impression, as could your wall art, or a stray child running with just their diaper on behind you. You may be dressed nicely, but if your space is disordered, it will leave a lingering impression (perhaps not a good one) with your client, coworkers, your boss, or whoever else is in the video conference with you.
Let’s face it; the pandemic has us working from kitchens and bedrooms, and we’re sharing space with family members, many of whom are also home. This means your work colleagues and clients now get to see into your private life in a way they haven’t in the past. It can be disconcerting when you start to think about it, and the reality is you simply may not want to let so much of yourself show. That’s why you need a professional background for any video conference you conduct.
In the same way you might inadvertently judge the other people on the video conference, they’re also looking at the space behind you with a critical eye. When considering a virtual background for video conferencing, you should consider how the setting reinforces your competency as an employee. For example, if you’re a project manager, your space should reflect your organizational competency and attention to detail. If you’re a designer, it’s likely the person on the other end of the call will try to get a sense of your visual style from the space you’re working in.
Try to give some thought to what your office environment was like before the pandemic. Was it ultra-professional, super casual, or somewhere in between? It’s okay to make sure you’re still fitting in with your team’s corporate culture by selecting the professional background for your video conferences that work with your organization and the people you work with.
Ultimately, you do want to try to professionalize your backdrop as much as you can, whether it’s with a virtual background or by just making sure your office space is appropriately decorated.
Neutral colors always work best if you’re not using a virtual backdrop and instead opting to share the view of your home. Plain neutral walls with a bookshelf or two, plants, and a piece of art show that you are (perhaps) well read and have a green thumb. At least, that’s the impression you can leave.
If you’re stuck doing the call at your kitchen table, a plain brick wall or a bright yellow could let just enough of yourself show on the video conference. However, if you can, turn the camera away from the pile of dirty dishes in the sink.
If you don’t want to paint an entire room, you could just paint an accent wall. Try to pick a color that embodies energy and productivity, without feeling too busy. Green is a refreshing color and blue is generally calming, for instance.
Also, keep in mind, if you’re adding artwork to the walls, make sure the pictures are appropriate for the kind of video conference you’ll be participating in. As part of this decorating process, consider bringing more natural light into the space, if possible. Declutter your space and create a bright, airy room with white or neutral colors. These colors reflect the light well and give you more control over the amount of brightness you use in the room. Dark, heavy colors can seem gloomy and oppressive. The same can happen if your lighting is too low.
You probably thought you could just turn on your video camera, right? Wrong. You should take note of how you look, how the room looks, and how you sound. Should your mic be louder? Is the room too shadowy? Adjust your background in a way that flatters your face and makes you look your best.
The best professional background for video conferences can represent who you are without being too outside what’s appropriate for work. When you’re choosing a virtual background for video conferencing ask yourself a few questions to help figure out what will work best:
· How will the backdrop look with your hair and skin tones? If you are African American with dark hair, it might be good to have a lighter background for the contracts. Light-skinned people with blond hair may want that darker background. Experiment a little to see what works.
· Can you see the back of your chair behind you in addition to your head and shoulders? If you can, it may morph into the virtual backdrop and look weird. You can cover the chair with a towel that matches the backdrop color—that should help.
· What should you wear? Try to wear clothes that are darker or lighter than your background for contrast.
· Is the background too busy? Too much detail and you will get lost and it will make it harder to see you.
Is the answer just to blur the background? Maybe! Some people find a blurred background distracting and say it makes their eyes tired. No matter what professional background you choose for your next video conference, make sure you check with the service to see what backdrops they offer as part of their package.
MediationSuites™ is a leading provider of video conferencing solutions. Talk with our team today to find out how we can help you create a more professional environment for your next virtual meeting.
Video conferencing security best practices have come under increasing scrutiny as more of us have been working from home. Our reliance on these tools left many IT teams scrambling to quickly select a virtual meeting provider without having the time to really ask the question: What is the safest video conferencing app?
As the Covid-19 virus continues to plow an ugly path around the globe, it’s long past time for tech teams to look closely at video conferencing security features and best practices. This blog will help you understand some of the video conferencing security best practices your vendor and your company should set as the standard for virtual collaboration.
Remember Zoombombing? If you were a victim, how could you forget it? Startlingly, we should note that Zoom advertised itself as having “end-to-end encryption,” long thought to be the gold standard for video conferencing security best practices. Today, Zoom faces some lawsuits over its encryption claims.
The lesson for the rest of us is that not all encryption is the same. To ensure the security of your video conference transmissions, it’s critical for organizations to conduct due diligence about what to look for in video conferencing security. Here are five video conferencing security best practices your online meetings provider must be sure to provide.:
1. Encryption should be included in every level of the product. This is a little trickier if you’re using a vendor that requires a software download for their application. Look for 128-bit Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) protocols that provide a key to unlock all video calls between end-users. These keys generate automatically at the beginning of a video session. How strong is AES? The research says it would take a supercomputer “one billion billion” years to break the code. That makes it a top choice for encrypted video conferencing best practices.
2. Single sign-on (SSO) is an authentication process requiring the end-user (and vendor) to keep track of one login per individual customer. This is beneficial because it makes it easy for an IT team to track “who was where and when” while they were using that login. Ideally, SSO should be tied to the end-user’s entitlement profile, which the video conferencing vendor should allow you to manage. The biggest benefit of SSO is its trackability; IT teams can figure out which video systems were breached and how, which makes the problem easier to mitigate.
3. Browser-based video conferencing offers a unique alternative to forcing end-users to download software to their favorite digital device, which carries inherent risks. The problem with any download from the internet is obvious, but it presents an additional challenge when it comes time to upgrade the platform. This leaves the end-user, i.e., someone in your company, vulnerable to missing critical security upgrades. Now imagine that same end-user leveraging that same digital device to access your internal databases and you can understand why web-based video conference solutions are inherently better.
4. Domain-based security means that your administrator can control permissions access individually or by the group. The benefit is that if an outsider without the proper permissions tries to enter a conference, the required permissions block that end-user until one with the appropriate permissions allows access. It’s a greater level of control that puts security in your hands, which is exactly why we consider it a video conferencing security best practice.
5. Setting video conferencing security protocols for your company is a best practice that you can also control. We’ve found that encrypted video conferencing features, or any other security protocols from the vendor, mean nothing if you don’t take responsibility at the end-user level. A video conference security protocol sets expectations that your end-users will take IT security seriously by following rules to keep your infrastructures, identities, and passwords safe. Some guidelines to consider include:
a. Every participant must agree to allow video recording during a meeting.
b. Personal mobile devices should not be used to record meetings.
c. Sensitive information should only be shared in private video conferences.
d. Personal information or other confidential data should not be visible on-camera behind the conference participant.
e. Microphones and cameras should be turned off when not needed in the online meeting.
f. Camera remote control is only allowed for authorized end-users.
g. Use the waiting room feature to restrict unauthorized access to private meetings and lock the event once everyone is inside.
h. Make sure meeting moderators know how to manually admit and remove attendees and do not disseminate invitation links publicly.
i. Do not use public hotspots to access private corporate meetings.
As a browser-based application, MediationSuites™ lacks the security risks associated with downloading software from the internet. Our backbone is WebRTC, which has encryption protocols in all components, including at the signaling level. We use data transport layer security (DTLS) as our encryption model, which is designed to prevent eavesdropping, message forgery, and other tampering. Additional encryption protocols are handled by secure real-time protocol (SRTP), which adds an extra layer of protection for any real-time video and audio transmission. With these two layers of encryption, you can be sure your transmissions and the data you’re sharing fall under the protection of the highest levels of IT security.
Encryption isn’t the only video conferencing security best practice that we employ. All of our accounts are accessed via a secure HTTPS connection over WebSocket secure signaling channels for both data and voice. We even add a layer of protection for user credentials, storing your login data as impenetrable cryptographic hashes.
Because MediationSuites™ is web-based, access to lacks the security risks associated with downloading software from the internet. Our backbone is WebRTC, which has encryption protocols in all components, including at the signaling level. We use data transport layer security (DTLS) as our encryption model, which is designed to prevent eavesdropping, message forgery, and other tampering. Additional encryption protocols are handled by secure real-time protocol (SRTP), which adds an extra layer of protection for any real-time video and audio transmission. With these two layers of encryption, you can be sure your transmissions and the data you’re sharing fall under the protection of the highest levels of IT security
Finally, as you might expect, we are fully HIPAA compliant. We only leverage HIPAA-compliant vendors (when applicable) for hosting, data transmission, and storage.
Our clients commonly come to us with a critical question: What is the safest video conferencing app that I can employ for my business? The answer is MediationSuites™, a leading provider of video conferencing solutions to the business community. Contact us to find out more.
Business is no longer local, but global. Our supply chains are built across countries and our workers clock in across state lines and country borders. This kind of dispersed environment requires better tools to allow people to communicate and collaborate. MegaMeeting has a new live translation tool that allows multi-language participants to communicate during a web conferencing session. This blog will walk you through the benefits of video conferencing with translation services to better understand how you can use these tools in your business.
The world is changing and the United States has become more of a melting pot, not less. The Brookings Institute says the country is diversifying at a faster rate than previously predicted. The latest census data says four out of every 10 Americans identify with an ethnic category that is something other than white. Many Americans are bilingual, having grown up with a second language at home.
Globally, Chinese is the first most commonly spoken language and Spanish is the second, not English. In the U.S., English is the most common language, followed by Spanish which is spoken by approximately 38 million people. In America, Latino, Hispanic, and Asian American communities showed record growth of 18.5% over the past decade. Our increased diversity calls for new collaboration tools to bring people together and bridge any communication gaps that may occur. Video conferencing is the best way to span geographic miles, but how can organizations prepare themselves for a truly global level of communications, sometimes even right here at home?
No matter the type of business, communication is critical to getting the job done. There are always multiple moving parts that come together to create success. Any artificial barriers to achieve your goals must be smashed through to get to where you want to go. What you don’t need is a language barrier creating artificial roadblocks in front of your collaboration efforts.
This is exactly where live translation can help your business. MediationSuites™ offers a simultaneous translation app for your video conferencing that will keep the communication going with every vendor, every client, and even with your multilingual employees. Here’s how this tool can be put to work for your business.
Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, the demand for video conferencing solutions is high. However, we know that communicating remotely can sometimes be difficult, especially if there is a language barrier standing between you and your audience.
MediationSuites™'s new live translation app can bring together your global network of interconnected resources to help streamline your business communication. On top of our award-winning video conferencing solution, we’ve created a new feature designed specifically for the communication challenges your business faces today and will face in the future.
MediationSuites™ is deploying the new feature that incorporates both "speech to text,” as well as language translation services. The feature is intended to allow speakers of different languages to communicate with each other within a MediationSuites™ video conference. The benefit is that more people can attend your meetings, no matter what their primary language is, and this allows you more flexibility when it comes to providing interpretation or translation services during a virtual web meeting.
1. Upon entering the meeting room, each attendee will select the language they wish to use. This will take all of the spoken communications in the conference and translate them into that language. For example, let's assume attendee E chooses English, attendee F chooses French, and attendee S chooses Spanish.
2. There will be an open real-time live translation chatbox in the middle of the meeting room that shows what each attendee says, as well as what the others are saying. It will appear as a continuous, scrollable running script on the page.
3. When attendee E speaks, MediationSuites™ will take what attendee E says and place English in their running open chatbox. MediationSuites™ will also translate what attendee E says into French and place the French translation into attendee F's open chatbox. Finally, MediationSuites™ will translate what attendee E says into Spanish and place the Spanish translation into attendee S's open chatbox.
4. When attendee F speaks, MediationSuites™ will take what F says and place the French translation into their running open chatbox. MediationSuites™ will also translate what attendee F says into English and place the English translation into attendee E's open chatbox. Finally, MediationSuites™ will translate what attendee F says into Spanish and place the Spanish translation into attendee S's open chatbox.
5. The same thing will apply with Spanish, meaning, all of attendee S's communications during the video conferencing session will be translated and placed in the appropriate person's open chatbox translated into the language they choose.
Today’s modern video conferencing solutions allow for live translation as a feature with no additional downloads as a MediationSuites™ subscriber. You don’t need special equipment, just your usual business tools like a desktop or laptop, tablet, or even a cell phone. This service works on all major browsers. All you and the participants in your video conference need are an internet connection, a mic, and a camera.
At MediationSuites™, we understand that inclusivity matters to your business now more than ever. We live in a globally interconnected world where the assumption that all of your clients, vendors, and employees speak the same language simply doesn’t apply anymore. Given that the frequency of online events is expected to increase, not decrease, even after COVID is over, it’s the right time for a live translation app to add more value to the robust service offering that MediationSuites™ already offers.
We expect that our web conferencing with language translation will open new doors for our clients. Your webinars now can handle a much wider audience. Your vendors can now communicate more fluidly in their native language with no interpretation issues. Today’s technology advancements allow us to reach international audiences and an increasingly diverse population here in the United States.
Talk with MediationSuites™ today about adding a live translation feature to your next video conference. This service couldn’t come at a better time for your business and we’re excited to introduce it to your teams.
Video conferencing tools have been around for decades, but it took a global pandemic for the popularity of the technology to really explode. What’s different today, though, is that there are newer, interactive features within the best video conferencing tools that make this software more engaging. Let’s look at six of the best video conferencing tools within collaboration software that improve the experience for end users.
Video conferencing tools are some of the most important collaboration software that your company will use. This is particularly true if you have remote workers as part of your team. Video conferencing solutions today are feature-rich, allowing your company to connect with your internal and external audiences, without the expense and hassle of traveling to meet them face-to-face.
The best video conferencing tools let you collaborate and be more productive, sell more products, and even build a better culture with your remote staff. But it’s not just the video and audio alone that brings people together and makes your company more productive. Here are some of the must-have features to improve the experience and accomplish more during your next virtual meeting.
1. Chat tools allow for the same lively conversation that would occur in your office. Instead of, or in addition to, a full-on video conference or webinar, today’s chat features allow your teams to cross-collaborate by talking back and forth in real time without picking up the phone. Also called instant messaging, it’s the “instant” part of this dialogue that allows people to spontaneously share back and forth, capturing ideas quickly and providing support or feedback in real-time during a presentation.
The best video conferencing tools allow group chat or direct messaging, so that sidebar conversations can be captured, including emojis and texts during an online event.
2. Integrations with other software tools is a key feature of the best video conferencing tools. Look for a video conferencing solution that is web-based so that the tool can easily integrate with your existing software. Web-based video conferencing collaboration tools connect to your existing software through the use of powerful application program interfaces (APIs).
The benefit of this is easy to understand: If you’ve ever had to switch back and forth between multiple layers of software, retyping or cutting and pasting, you know how valuable video conferencing integration can be. Without it, you end up with a patchwork of software products that sometimes work against each other to slow down your productivity. Integration also allows you to build your own, customized front-ends that incorporate the video conferencing application application.
3. Polls engage your audience. If you’ve ever done a webinar without real-time audience feedback, you know how one-sided the conversation can feel. The best video conferencing tools allow collaboration via a polling tool. A polling feature asks the audience questions as part of your presentation. Then, you can incorporate this real-time feedback directly into your speech or session.
Polling opens a door to better audience engagement. A live poll goes beyond emojis and chat to hear what an audience wants, what their opinions are, and even confirms for the speaker that, yes, the audience is listening. You can use these video conferencing tools to better engage your audience at various points throughout a speech or presentation. You can use the data you gather after the conference to share polling details with your audience, as well as refresh their memory after the event is over. You could even work the polling into a blog or other content later on and keep the conversation going.
4. Screen sharing is such an important video conferencing collaboration tool that you may take it for granted. Visual aids are so important to meetings now for keeping everyone on the same page. Screen sharing of your desktop, presentation, or charts and videos can all help in keeping your teams engaged. Screen sharing can also save time; instead of trying to describe an edit on a document, or a change to a design, you can just show it. It gives meetings an efficiency boost that speeds up a collaborative process.
Screen sharing is also a point of interest for a video conference that allows for a visual display, instead of the camera just focusing on who is speaking. You can use screen sharing to toggle between documents and compare them. Run a slideshow or share files, show your desktop, and more—it’s all possible with screen sharing, which is why it’s one of the best video conferencing tools in use today.
5. Whiteboarding is a relatively new feature offered by video conferencing solutions and is very popular. The idea is that, in the same way you would whiteboard an idea in a collaborative in-office meeting, virtual whiteboarding allows people to take notes in real-time right in front of the participants. Incorporating a whiteboard into a video conference adds another visual layer that will keep your participants interested in what’s going on. This is crucial if the meeting is a long one.
Incorporating a virtual whiteboard lets you add documentation and brainstorming to a meeting where normally ideas or tasks would be jotted in the end users’ notebooks or on their laptops. Instead, the meeting facilitator has a tool that can capture ideas as they happen, documenting them for the team and improving accountability and engagement.
6. White labeling is powerful and versatile, however it isn’t available on every video conferencing collaboration tool out there today. But if you can find it (MediationSuites™ offers white labeling), it’s one of the best video conferencing tools available today for increasing your customer engagement. White labeling works when your video conferencing solution allows you to rebrand their tool as your own.
Imagine an embedded video conferencing player right in your corporate website. The benefit is that your video conferencing tool will seem like an integrated part of your company instead of a disconnected third-party application. It can imprint your brand directly into the presentation that’s playing, making for a more personalized communication approach. It’s a seamless way for you to incorporate a “cool tool” directly into your brand image. Your customers won’t be distracted by the MediationSuites™ logo, for example, but instead see your company's logo and colors; and will focus on one thing—your brand.
If you’re searching for the best video conferencing tools, look no further than MediationSuites™. We offer all of these features in a smart, web-based platform with no app or software to download. Our secure, fully encrypted solution is HIPAA compliant and can be fully branded with your organization’s logo, name and colors. Talk with a MediationSuites™ representative and find out why our video conferencing collaboration tools are right for your business.
The cloud has become widely associated with convenience, scalability, and flexibility. Applications in the cloud are software tools that are easily accessed on any digital device to get you up and running in minutes.
Cloud HD video meeting apps offer all the best features of cloud software. Instead of downloading an application from the internet, you simply visit a page in a browser for a true HD conference experience. Today, your business needs the kind of high-quality, face-to-face communication that the cloud can offer. If you’re looking for the best video meeting app, the cloud can give you exactly what you’ve been searching for.
Today, video conferencing is undoubtedly an important tool for your business. It may have been less important before COVID-19 changed the world, but in 2021, most companies are aware of the value that a video conferencing solution can bring.
There are all kinds of video conferencing solutions out there today. However, they generally fall into four categories:
1. On-premises traditional video conferencing solutions use proprietary hardware and software to bring people together. These tools use high-quality meeting room hardware and are expensive. The quality of the solution is high; however, it adds a considerable amount to corporate overhead. These tools also require IT support internally to be deployed and maintained. Finally, you will also have a third-party vendor that sells you the equipment and service. You’ll see the vendor periodically because they will need to come onsite to make adjustments and upgrades.
2. Web conferencing solutions work well for both a small group of presenters or a large audience. These solutions are browser-based and run by a third-party vendor. This online service is great for presentations, conferences, training, and large corporate live meetings. Typically, attendees can participate via a phone connection or by a computer with voice over internet protocol (VoIP) service. These tools are great for their advanced features like screen sharing, white-boarding, and instant messaging/chat.
3. Meet me video services are also called reservation-less conferencing. As the name implies, you don’t have to schedule this service. The process for connecting is browser-based just like a web conference. It’s kind of like the old days of calling cards, where the line is always open, you just needed the codes for using the service.
4. Cloud HD video meeting services are the easiest to use of all of these tools. Like web conferencing, you can attend a meeting or dial up from any digital device. The service is high quality and feature-rich, but doesn’t require in-house equipment or hardware.
There are pros and cons to all of these services. However, using a service that offers cloud HD video meetings gives your teams a great deal of flexibility that they simply don’t have with on-premise applications. Web-based video conferencing and meet-me video solutions aren’t as easy to use as an app. Today, the best video meeting apps can be found in the cloud. Here’s why.
Some of the biggest advantages of cloud video conferencing apps include:
· They’re easy to deploy and manage. Anytime you can use a cloud application over a traditional on-premises solution, you will save time and money. Deployment of these tools requires no in-house IT staffer and you can utilize standard, instead of proprietary, equipment. You simply use your chosen digital device to follow the link provided by your cloud HD video meeting provider. Both off the shelf, plug-and-play webcams, as well as microphones, headsets and conferencing devices are all supported.
· They offer excellent data analytics to help you track who is (and how you’re) using the service. Your company can benefit from frequent reporting of data sets that will help you understand exactly how you’re using these tools. It will help you understand the ROI of your HD video conferencing solution across your company.
· Improved cloud security benefits your business by keeping it just a little safer. Cloud video conferencing parallels your firewall to facilitate secure meetings on any digital device. The best video meeting apps encrypt data both at rest and in transit, for the highest quality picture in the most secure service available today.
· Cloud apps are compatible with your current tools. One of the benefits of cloud-based tools has always been that they use powerful application program interfaces (APIs) to integrate smoothly with your existing apps This means your cloud HD video meeting solution could integrate with your company databases or other communication tools such as email or instant messaging. That helps improve the efficiency of your teams while creating a more effective way to communicate and collaborate.
· Easy to use user interfaces are designed to be click-and-play. These apps are highly intuitive and don’t require training in how to use them. We can’t say the same about on-premises traditional video conferencing solutions or even some of the cloud-based solutions embedded in some productivity and project management tools that are out there today.
· Updates happen constantly in the cloud, so a cloud HD video meeting app is more secure. You don’t have to wait for updates; they happen automatically online. This is hugely beneficial because we all know that security threats change constantly. The best cloud video meeting apps are constantly updated with no need for a manual process. These tools are upgraded and updated as soon as changes to the application occur.
· Scalability remains a key benefit of cloud app technologies. These tools make it easy to add and subtract employees or end-users. You can scale up or down as needed. The best video meeting apps can easily grow with your company. There are no additional phone lines or equipment to install, either. You simply go into your easy-to-use dashboard and make a couple of tweaks. It makes doing business with these tools simple and effective.
· The affordability of cloud video conferencing apps is a key benefit. You already know there is no equipment to add, but a cloud HD video meeting service is also very low-cost considering the quality of the solution. For a single, per-month user fee, you can reap the benefit of this technology as often as you wish. Your employees can access the app and use HD video conferencing to collaborate and get business done.
MediationSuites™ is a leading provider of cloud HD video meeting solutions. Talk with our team today about how our service can help your business.
There is huge value in making a video conference recording. That’s why almost every video conferencing solution on the market today has this feature. Recording a meeting frees you up to run it while eliminating the need to take notes. For legal, accountability and documentation purposes, video conference recording is incredibly valuable. Capturing every detail as it happened eliminates any issues with confusing “he said/she said” disagreements or selective memory that leaves out critical details.
If you’ve ever held a meeting and then struggled to remember what it was about, this blog is for you.
Failing to record a video conference creates a lost opportunity. You could have a great meeting, but if it isn’t recorded, there is no historical record of what you accomplished. This can negatively impact your productivity and the efficiency of your team. There are all kinds of advantages to video conference recording, including:
· It’s a good way to subtly let team members know that their work and their voice matter to your company.
· It offers a historical record that can be used later on.
· It’s a great accountability tool for your staff.
· It helps people who missed the meeting stay on top of what’s happening in a group or at an event.
· It can provide context for and inform corporate decision-making.
· It can offer context for new employees to bring them up to speed on a project quickly.
· It can help keep everyone on track by not wasting time with note taking.
· It can increase engagement by helping you avoid the distraction of having someone write down the minutes of the meeting.
Keep in mind that the best way to record a video conference is to capture both audio and visual data. Watching a meeting recording is generally more engaging than just listening to it in an audio file. With video recording, you can see what happened, including body language and other visual clues. It also may slow people down (in a good way) by making them carefully consider what they are going to say before saying it.
However, one downside is this last point. Recording a video conference can be intimidating to some people, who may be less likely to speak up and stick their necks out if they know they are being recorded. This can be true if you are an elected official or a hired employee—or anyone in-between.
When you are about to run a meeting, you have some decisions to make. In addition to the agenda and the other tasks you have associated with the event or meeting, you should decide if you want to record your video conference.
· Decide to not record the meeting at all.
· Take minutes or written notes to document the event.
· Record the top points on a whiteboard or in another venue.
However, you also have decisions about how you use the recording tools to capture the video conference. You could:
· Record the meeting and distribute printed handouts of the transcription later on.
· Use technology tools to transcribe the meeting automatically.
· Record the audio portion of a conference or meeting, similar to what you’d find in a podcast.
Determining in advance the logistics and why you want to document the meeting will help you know the best way to record a video conference. But some meetings won’t even require video conference recording. For example:
· Short meetings may not require additional documentation.
· Neither will casual or informal meetings.
· If the meeting is highly secret and you don’t want a potential public record or other documentation.
· If the group meets daily, weekly, or with such great frequency, recording the meeting is overkill.
· If the agenda is more social and fun and not important to the organization.
· If no significant decisions are being made.
If the meeting is very casual, recording it may simply be a waste of time. Here is a checklist to determine if you should record your video conference. Recording is a good idea if:
· Your group is solving problems and the stakes are high.
· Your group is making decisions.
· There are several options for decision making and a lot of debate around each.
· It’s the first time you are engaging in a big discussion on a topic.
· There are legal issues surrounding the discussion.
· The group has conflict and trust is low.
· The topic is controversial.
Once you make the decision to record a video conference, there is a right way and a wrong way to capture the meeting on video and audio.
MediationSuites™ has a simple video conference recording feature that allows you to capture both audio, visual and screen share activity from a meeting. But there is a right and wrong way to conduct video conference recording of your meeting. Here are some additional items to consider:
· Camera position is important, whether you’re recording individuals in multiple locations or in one big conference room. For example, if you’re using a webcam, position it at eye level. Move furniture in the room so that participants are easily seen and select the best camera angles for the recording.
· Use proper lighting. If your participants are at home, make sure a sunny window isn’t backlighting them. Turn on the lights in the room to brighten dark corners. Avoid overhead lights unless you’re in a big conference room.
· Make the room you’re in free of distractions. This matters for people at home as well as people sharing a space. Close the door to the room to avoid interruptions.
· If you’re recording people at home, they may need a headset. The built-in mic on their computer may suffice. But if you’re trying to capture a big meeting, you almost certainly need external microphones to capture speakers and reduce ambient noise like paper shuffling or people talking outside the door.
Knowing how to record a video conference properly requires that you work with an experienced technology company like MediationSuites™. We offer our clients the expertise to help them pull off both large and small video conferenced events. Talk with our team to find out how we can help your organization make the most of video conference recording.
When you’re conducting a virtual meeting, you have all kinds of options. One of them is to decide if you want a one-to-many live stream or webinar or a small-group or one-on-one video conference. Alternatively, you can choose to live stream your video conference.
What is live streaming? Is it different from a video conference, or different from a webinar? What are the best live streaming solutions out there? What features are important in live streaming software? We have answers that will help you pick the right tool for your next live event or business meeting.
Live streaming takes a video and broadcasts it in real-time to an online audience. Typically, platforms like Facebook or YouTube are good destinations for a live stream. For the end-user, participation in a live stream event requires a visit to a webpage that has an embedded video player. They can usually interact with the live stream by responding via a chat function. They are not really part of the live stream beyond participating in it as an audience member.
Video conferencing was originally created for two-way (or small group) meetings that replicate a live, in-person meeting. In a video conference, your participants expect to participate in the event like they would in a traditional in-person meeting. However, with a live stream, you are broadcasting content to an audience that can range from dozens to hundreds of thousands of people. Obviously, they cannot all respond back at once!
These technologies are similar but they do have differences. Some of the pros and cons of live streaming vs. a video conference include:
· No limits to audience size.
· Allows for a multi-camera experience with video roll-ins, graphic overlays, and a switched video feed.
· The audience can watch live or on-demand.
· Not appropriate for small meetings; allows little feedback from participants.
· Requires more set up and rehearsal to prepare.
· Typically more expensive than a video conference to produce.
· Allows meetings to be conducted virtually in real time.
· There is near-zero video and audio delay so communication is easy and natural.
· Allows content sharing and collaboration, just like an in-person meeting.
· These tools were not designed for large audiences.
· Screensharing can cause latency.
· Meeting recordings are not always saved at the highest quality.
Webinars are often educational in nature and are designed for a mid-size audience. In fact, one of the biggest differences between video conferencing, webinars, and live streaming, is the size of the audiences. For example:
· Video conferencing is appropriate for business meetings or one-on-one virtual chats. Video conferencing is designed for collaboration, sharing, and co-working between teams.
· Webinar audiences can range from a handful of people to a several hundred who registered for the event. Participants can ask questions via a chat feature during these events.
· A live stream is a one-way communication designed for large audiences, often who don’t have to sign up for the event.
There are also differences in the production of these events. A video conference can work with the built-in camera and microphone in your favorite digital device. A webinar can be conducted via a web-based browser like MegaMeeting. A live stream is usually a production-heavy event, with lighting, multiple cameras, production crews, and more.
It is possible to combine these tools into a live-streamed video conference. For example, you could conduct a video conference of a panel discussion where multiple people are interacting. Then you could live stream that meeting to a wider audience on YouTube, for example.
Social media live streaming has become hugely popular. Platforms like Facebook Live, Instagram Live, and YouTube Live are very popular. Today, these tools remain some of the best live streaming solutions for personal use. But are these social media-oriented platforms appropriate for professional use? If you’re looking to stream to consumers as a B2C business, that’s one thing, but you might want different options if you’re a B2B company. Fortunately, there is an increasing number of live streaming platforms for business. This is particularly important because many organizations block social media platforms.
Some of the best features to look for in these tools include:
· Best-in-class security features that encrypt data at rest and during transit. Look for features like password protection, HTTPS delivery, and geographic/IT restrictions.
· White labeling that allows companies to rebrand the live stream under their service line, giving companies better control over their content.
· Low latency streaming for clean video transmission along with real-time messaging protocol to facilitate playback and streaming.
· Access to 24/7 technical support to ensure your live stream is fully supported for a seamless event. This includes support for mobile applications, which is especially important given that 80% of consumers watch videos and live streams on their phones every day.
· Access to the platform’s APIs to facilitate third-party integrations within the live stream.
With these platform features in mind, what are the three best live streaming solutions for companies to consider?
Vimeo Live Stream has been around since 2017 and has grown to one of the most recognizable names in the live stream world. Today, there are more than ten million Vimeo events going on every year around the globe. Some of the pros of the service include unlimited viewers for the service, along with offering detailed stream analytics.
Brightcove was founded in 2004, offering cloud encoding, video on demand hosting, and live streaming. One of the best features of the platform is the data analytics and video marketing tools that help businesses monetize their live stream.
MediationSuites™ uses WebRTC protocols designed specifically for live stream video conferencing. This makes the platform secure while offering the highest quality video experience for end-users. Companies benefit from full-service support and can rebrand the entire platform to fit their business service lines. This is a browser-based service intimate enough for basic video conferencing, scalable to webinar size, but also able to offer virtually unlimited live streaming of events for customers.
Browser-based video conferencing can make your next screen-to-screen meeting seamless. That’s because there are no software downloads required for this type of communication. Instead, you simply click a link that takes you online and connects the call. Most browser-based video conferencing services work on all the major browsers out there. However, which one is best?
You would think that the best browser for a video conference should be any of them. Not true, according to PC Magazine, which recently reviewed Chrome, Edge, Firefox, Opera, and Safari. They point out that the “browser wars” are back in full swing, with Internet Explorer being a casualty in the process. According to the article, Google Chrome recently captured about 70% of the market on any digital device, including mobile. Interestingly, they point out that Chrome is so dominant, that the other browsers (except for Firefox) use their underlying code base to run their search engines.
However, PC Magazine also says that Chrome isn’t the leader in the number of features it offers. Edge, Firefox, Safari, and Opera all have features that Chrome does not. What are the features that matter on these browsers? Well, speed and reliability remain critical, but the connection between your desktop and phone is increasingly important.
Browsers with slower speeds will produce video latency during your call. However, the speed of your internet connection also affects your browser-based video conferencing experience.
If you review browsers based on national web standards, which is the HTML5 test website, the browsers shape up like this:
· Chrome is 528 out of a maximum of 555.
· Edge is 492.
· Firefox is in the rear at 491.
· Opera is 518.
· Safari is dead last at 471.
Privacy is another big issue with browsers, and the reality is that your video conferencing solution is only partially responsible for keeping your conversations secure. Chrome was dinged by PC Magazine in one respect: The browser automatically signs you into YouTube and Gmail, which some say are risky behaviors. Opera ranks highly on privacy, because it has a built-in virtual private network (VPN) that visitors can utilize.
For features, PC Magazine calls out some of the not-so-standard offerings available, including:
· Opera has a built-in cryptocurrency wallet.
· Microsoft Edge has a detailed privacy setting and a nice accessibility feature—their webpage voice reader has “remarkable realistic speech.”
· Even though Chrome boasts market share, PC Magazine says, “Chrome can no longer boast any unique browsing features.”
· Firefox has one of the coolest features: You can be logged into your desktop then switch to your phone and have it mirror the desktop display. For video conferencing, this lets you start a browser-based video conference on your laptop or desktop, then jump onto your smartphone and stay connected.
· Apple Safari was one of the first browsers with a reading mode that cleared ads from web articles you were viewing. Other browsers quickly followed. Safari recently added some fingerprint protection, which is nice, because it cuts down on web trackers.
One consideration, when selecting a browser for your video conferencing solution, is to determine the browser’s specs concerning picture quality. Generally, your goal is higher picture quality, whether you’re video conferencing or watching a movie. The higher the quality, the better the picture details and contrast ratios. The best browsers for 1080p HD resolution are Edge and Safari. Google Chrome, Firefox, and Opera stream at 720p. However, Lifewire does point out that, “Google Chrome has long been considered the speed king of bowsers and has always emphasized performance.”
No matter the browser you use, some tips to improve the performance of your video conferencing service include:
· Close open browser tabs or applications. This decreases the drain on your device’s memory so that the computer can put all of its “energy” toward video conferencing.
· Use 5G if you have access to it for a less crowded and hopefully faster experience.
· Skip Wi-Fi and go to a "plugged in", Ethernet connection. Plugging directly into the router will give you a smoother video feed.
· Monitor your internet speed. Do it regularly. If you are paying for 10 Mbps but your speed test gives you 2 Mbps, it’s time to call your internet service provider (ISP) and get what you’re paying for.
Browser-based video conferencing software allows a simple online click to join a call, without any plugin installation or software download. Browser-based video conferencing companies use Web Real-Time Communications, or WebRTC technology as the backbone of their service. What is WebRTC and what is the best browser to use for this type of video conferencing service?
WebRTC is a peer-to-peer media exchange tool within the browser environment. All you need to do is open a meeting web page by clicking on a link. Google Chrome was one of the first browsers to support WebRTC. Today, WebRTC is supported by most major browsers:
· Chrome was the leader in supporting WebRTC back in 2012. Today, Chrome offers a full-featured browser environment for video conferencing without any add-ons needed.
· Edge began supporting WebRTC in 2017. Today, Edge users can instant message using WebRTC, in addition to supporting browser-based video conferencing.
· Safari also began supporting WebRTC in 2017. Older versions of the service use a WebRTC plugin to run video conferencing.
· Firefox enables WebRTC by default on their browser. Initially, the service required a manual tweak to advanced settings to enable it. Not anymore, however Firefox can me "hit and miss" when it comes to many WebRTC video conferencing solutions, so it is not a recommended browser to use.
· Opera supports WebRTC technology, however it requires an application program interface (API), which allows access to the end-user’s camera and microphone; many video conferencing products do not support this browser and it too is not a recommended browser to use.
MediationSuites™ offers browser-based video conferencing and webinars to our clients. You do not need a plugin or an application. As long as the browser incorporates WebRTC (as most do; see the list above), you can enjoy a user-friendly one-click experience with no risky downloads to worry about. The benefit for end-users is the hassle-free nature of this service. Even if you’re behind a firewall or in a corporate setting, one click can connect you wherever you need to go.
We’re so confident you’ll enjoy our service, MediationSuites™ offers a 14-day free trial to give you a taste of the benefits of browser-based video conferencing. Get in touch. We can help you communicate.
Marketing content is still relevant. Neil Patel puts it this way, “Content marketing continues to flourish for one very simple reason: it’s what the people want. They don’t want intrusive banners, ads, and popups.” The numbers also tell the story that content is still king: Compared to other tactics, content marketing costs 62% less but can generate triple the leads.
It can be challenging for marketing teams to continually produce smart, engaging content for their target audiences. One of the best content tools, these days, are webinars. Video content remains the hottest tool to reach your target audience in 2021. But a webinar can be repurposed in all kinds of ways to engage potential customers repeatedly, giving you more bang for your marketing buck. If you need help with webinar marketing, this blog will show you how to drive conversions by using this video content in a variety of creative, engaging ways.
A webinar is just the first step. From a content marketing perspective, a recorded webinar event is the gift that keeps on giving. A one-hour video event can be sliced and diced through the magic of webinar marketing into several pieces of valuable content. Some examples of these webinar marketing best practices include:
· Transcribing the webinar for SEO
· Turning the webinar into articles
· Converting the webinar into a full-length video
· Using snippets of the video for webinar marketing
· Creating Q&As
· Building an infographic
· Using the content for a speech submission at a trade show
Unfortunately, your webinar doesn’t do much for your search engine optimization (SEO). That’s because the search engine crawlers can’t pick up on all that rich content unless it’s written down. To put it another way, the algorithms that Google and other search engines use can’t parse audio files. However, you can help with this webinar marketing initiative by simply having the webinar transcribed. Then, you can cull snippets from the webinar and place them on your website or in a blog post, or any other type of content that you need, allowing the search engine crawlers to "see" the content.
Webinar marketing just naturally lends itself to blogs on your website, especially after it’s transcribed. Your marketing teams may struggle to post as frequently as they should on your blogs, so a webinar naturally gives them lots of rich content to work with. Ask any marketer worth their salt and they’ll tell you that one webinar marketing best practice is to use a recorded webinar and turn it into written content. It also works well if you’re publishing on LinkedIn, Medium, or anywhere else your audience will read it. Get creative: Have your webinar presenter write a guest blog or create an interview style format for a blog by using the webinar content.
You have several options with what to do with the recorded video from the webinar. You could use it as an on-demand educational tool for a free or pay-to-play experience. Alternatively, you could turn it into a full-length video and put it on your website. All you really have to do is add a title card at the beginning and a closer at the end. You can also put the content behind a registration wall, so you can capture emails and follow up later.
But don’t stop there. Make sure you’re regularly promoting the video on social media to share it with other audiences.
It’s tough to sit through an hour-long video without planning ahead, but you can take small sections of the webinar and break it into shorter sections. These are great for social media posts. Alternatively, you can add them to various web pages on your site. This content can be used to build traffic on YouTube or be sent out in an email campaign to potential customers.
Most webinars have a question-and-answer session at the end. That data can be used to create website Q&A or FAQ pages that are very attractive for SEO.
Visual content is always more enticing to viewers. Did you know...
· People remember 10% of what they hear.
· People remember 65% of what they see.
That’s exactly why most companies use infographics and find them effective at engaging their audiences. An infographic is a type of visual content that uses graphics to illustrate a point. You can use information and quotes from your webinar to create an eye-catching, colorful infographic, guaranteed to get the attention of your audience. It’s just another way to stretch your webinar content into something you can use later on.
Last but not least, if you attend trade shows, you can use the webinar at your booth, playing it in a loop to attract more people. The webinar can also come in handy if the speaker is interested in presenting a breakout or keynote at the trade show. Not only could the webinar show the effectiveness of the presenter to the committee booking the speech, you have a ready-made topic already in the hopper that you can use repeatedly in other venues.
Video remains the number one tool for marketers today to reach audiences and engage them. Some of the statistics we know include:
· Viewers see more than two billion Twitter videos each day.
· This year, 82% of all internet traffic will be the consumption of video.
· Social videos generate 1,200% more shares than images and text combined.
MediationSuites™ is the vehicle for your next webinar marketing initiative. We offer our clients a feature-rich webinar hosting platform along with our video conferencing service. You can conduct online training, product demonstrations, or other events, record them, and share with your customers in all kinds of ways to benefit your organization. MediationSuites™ is a 100% browser-based, encrypted and secure video conferencing tool, so no frustrating, risky downloads to slow your customers down.
We are standing by to help you maximize your webinar content. Call on us to find out how we can help your business.
You would think by now that following virtual meeting best practices would be the norm, just like the virtual meetings themselves are. But over the past year (and change), we’ve all sat through screen meetings with people showing up late, talking over each other, and more. A bad virtual meeting can quickly demonstrate which virtual meeting facilitation tips are most important. This blog will go over some key virtual meeting best practices to benefit you and your audience.
Every day, the American workforce conducts 11 million meetings. That’s 55 million meetings a week and 2.5 billion meetings every year. Since 2008, the statistics show that the amount of time we spend in meetings has gradually increased by an average of 15%. Middle managers spend more time in meetings than that; about 35% of their week is spent meeting, meeting, and meeting again. Upper management has a higher figure still, at about one-half their work week.
Then there is the time spent prepping for meetings, which the data says is another four hours a week. Think you have too many meetings? You are obviously not alone. Surveys show 67% of employees say meetings make them less productive.
Part of the problem may be that our meetings are inefficient. Much of the workforce would probably agree. This phenomenon isn’t new, but as we’ve moved to a new norm of remote, virtual meetings, some facilitators may lack the virtual meeting best practices they need to improve the efficiency of the experience. That’s why we decided to compile our top 9 virtual meeting facilitation tips to help you get in and get out of meetings faster and more efficiently.
Tip 1: Follow meeting etiquette. Every meeting attendee should be reminded to arrive on time and be prepared for the meeting, just as they would an offline meeting. This requires the meeting facilitator to send out the meeting agenda in advance. While you can be understanding of situations that arise, you owe it to the people that follow the rules and arrive on time to start the meeting on time.
Participants should check their equipment before the event and make sure they can log in with no problem. As the meeting facilitator, it is your responsibility to follow standard meeting protocols of sticking to the agenda and accomplishing the tasks you’ve assigned.
Tip 2: Have a backup plan. What happens if your internet connectivity goes down? What happens if there’s a technical issue, or you have an urgent client call or some other emergency? Do you have a backup facilitator or can the meeting be rescheduled? If you have a second person on the team who can provide technical support, make sure they’re empowered to handle troubleshooting. Alternatively, make sure you can get assistance from the vendor who provides the video conferencing solution.
While this may not be as important during a regular internal meeting, what if it’s a client meeting, a sales pitch, or a big webinar with 100 (or more) participants? You know the expression, “failing to plan is like planning to fail?” For critical meetings, have a support person on standby to help you monitor the
technology as well as chat comments, Q&As, or even timekeeping to be sure you end on time.
Tip 3: Tie the group together. At the beginning of the call, especially if this isn’t a regular meeting,
either allow people to introduce themselves (if it’s a small meeting) or otherwise acknowledge participants. During this process, make sure the expectations are set that you want participants to use their video cameras (or don’t, if that’s your preference). Whenever possible, it is a good idea to allow participants to use their cameras, as being face to face allows for nuances of expression that will help
people bond together, especially during a virtual event.
Tip 4: Make sure you understand the collaboration tools found in the software you’re using. Each video conferencing vendor is different. As the meeting facilitator, you should be an expert in how to use yours. Your vendor may provide you with some training that will help.
One tip for virtual meeting success is to keep in mind that these digital events are different from on-site meetings. Some regular meeting rules apply and some simply do not. For example, sending out the meeting agenda in advance is a rule of thumb for all gatherings. But in a virtual event, you can replace verbal responses with chats and polling in cases where the verbal back and forth is causing disruption to the meeting. Be sure you’re familiar with all the options available.
Tip 5: Do set some ground rules. This is one of the biggest areas where many virtual meeting facilitators fall short. To run a better virtual meeting, we recommend establishing rules so that your participants understand their obligations:
· Arrive and start on time.
· No private chats.
· No multitasking or checking email (petting the dog is okay).
· Requiring video vs. being audio-only.
· Keep external speakers on mute.
· Keep cell phones out of sight and, hopefully, out of mind.
Tip 6: Set expectations for the meeting. This is another tip for a virtual meeting that we often see neglected. Quickly go over the agenda at the beginning of the meeting. State what your goals are and solicit audience feedback for anything you’ve missed that they want to add. This will help engage everyone in the success of the meeting.
Tip 7: Don’t judge silly question or typos. The point is to ensure everyone is engaged. If ideas are flying into the meeting space, why worry about something being grammatically correct? Use your facilitator skills and call on people to let them speak. Talk about how important sharing ideas can be in this process and thank people for participating. Also, don’t let more aggressive participants drown out the voices of the quiet ones. Over 67% of meeting participants say being talked over is one of the biggest challenges during a virtual meeting.
Tip 8: Promote interaction during your virtual events. As the facilitator, you have an opportunity to engage participants in several ways. For example:
· Design your meeting in a way that invites questions and comments.
· Make people feel more comfortable by calling on them by name.
· Whenever possible, phrase your questions as open ended, which will help facilitate more dialogue between attendees.
· Be direct but be careful not to intimidate the speaker.
· Use polling and chat features to engage.
· Allow personalities to assert themselves, but don’t let people dominate the event.
It’s important to recognize that people have a varying capacity and comfort level for communicating via video conferencing. It’s your job as the facilitator to give everyone the tools they need to participate in the process.
Tip 9: Use the right virtual meeting communication tools. The best meeting organizers use MediationSuites™ for a smooth online experience. We offer HD video conferencing solutions with all the bells and whistles you’re used to but with no applications to download. Our online meeting hub can be fully branded to fit your organization. Talk with us about how we can help your teams succeed.
The normalizing of virtual teams was one of the big cultural changes that came from the COVID-19 pandemic. Today, how we communicate has changed, and virtual video conferencing has become a tool many organizations use regularly to communicate with their dispersed teams and the clients they serve. Remote work and hybrid models, which merge working at home and in the office, are now widespread and not going away anytime soon. As our work models change, so does our need for collaboration tools that keep us together.
Video conferencing brings people together to collaborate, no matter where they are located. These tools combine the benefit of facial expression with the immediate communication that a traditional voice call offers over a text message or email. Video conferencing strengthens the human connections that bind us together; 98% of the workforce says that these tools help them engage with people and the work at hand.
While these virtual tools are easy to use, there are some tricks you’ll need as offices reopen and workforces reorganize for hybrid work models. Learning to set up a conference room for video conferencing will help you launch your next online meeting. This blog will help you understand conference room video conferencing systems and how they can enhance the next virtual meeting for your dispersed teams.
Having the right conference room display for your next on-site video conference will provide a more enjoyable and impressive professional experience. Having the right display screen can make all the difference. Some of the things to consider when purchasing your screen include:
· The size of the screen
· The type of display
· Where you mount it
When setting up a conference room for video conferencing, the size of the video conferencing display screen in your conference room should vary by the width and length of the room and where your attendees will be seated. Seating eight to 10 people generally takes a room size of at least 16 feet, more if you’re still requiring social distancing. In these cases, you should use a video conferencing system with monitors that are at least eight feet (96 inches) from corner to corner. Smaller group-huddle rooms can work with a screen size of 60 inches, which provides good bang for the buck from a cost perspective. Generally, here’s a guideline for monitor display, based on your room size:
· Small group breakout room: 42” to 50” screen
· Boardroom or conference room: 50” to 96” screen
· Auditorium: You should upgrade to an HD projector and screen rated to 2500 to 4500 lumens for a well-lighted space
You can also consider dual displays as part of this process. One screen could show the speaker and the other could display the other participants, for example.
Once you’ve determined the size and where to mount your screens, the next step is to select the display type. There are three primary types of video conferencing displays:
· LCD screens are thin and light and have a long lifespan. The picture quality is great and you can buy screens at 60” and much larger.
· LED displays are more power efficient, usually with a higher Energy Star rating. You’ll notice the color contrast is sharper because these TVs have a wider color spectrum than LCD.
· Front projection displays life-size (or bigger!) images onto a 12-foot or larger screen. There’s a tradeoff, however, in that these screens have worse image resolution as the projection size increases.
But for an auditorium venue, there is simply no other option that works as well. You will also need to source your sound equipment separately from the front projection equipment.
Mounting height is always an issue; consider that, for two-way video conferencing, you want everyone to be as close to eye level as possible. This is good from an ergonomics perspective—you don’t want your workforce to have chronic neck fatigue from craning up at a screen all day. You should use the in-computer video camera for individual participants or mount an external camera just below the display monitor to view the audience/room.
Speakers and microphones are a critical part of any video conferencing setup. They contribute significantly to the collaboration that occurs between teams. What you select depends upon the size of the room and the number of participants. You can place speakers and microphones on the tables where participants sit, or have a sound bar placed below the video display screen. You could even run mics through the ceiling. Small rooms are easy—just add sound bars below the screen. But large rooms may need a daisy chain of interconnected audio devices, which adds to the overall complexity of your system design.
Considerations for your audio infrastructure should include whether the connection is wireless or wired. Also, think about sound quality to help reduce echoes and feedback. You don’t want the system to pick up ambient noise in the room and create a feedback loop.
Finally, there are considerations around the type of video camera you use. In small breakout rooms, participants can use the built-in cameras on their individual laptops or other devices. But you can also place a room camera above the display. Small meeting rooms are usually pretty simple. Most video cameras have a narrow viewing angle, so checking the seating arrangement will be important. You can also select a camera with a 180-degree or 360-degree viewing angle. You can even buy these units with built-in speakers and an omnidirectional microphone in a neat, easy-to-install package.
The final step in designing your conference room video conferencing system is to select the video conferencing vendor who provides the virtual meeting. MediationSuites™ has years of experience in partnering with all kinds of businesses to provide a high-quality HD experience with all the bells and whistles your teams need to improve collaboration. Our secure video conferencing and webinar platform is web-based with no app-based downloads and can integrate with the tools you use every day. We’re so confident in the quality of our service, we offer a free trial to any company interested in a better virtual video conferencing solution. Click here to see the free trial and get started with MediationSuites™.
For many years, conference calls have been the preferred way of holding meetings with colleagues and clients in different locations. However, this is quickly changing as more and more legal professionals adopt corporate and law firm video conferencing technology.
In the past, the complexity and cost of legal video conferencing technology made it a luxury for large law firms and corporations with legal teams. Today, the technology is much more affordable and accessible. Video conferencing systems are now cheap, easy to use, and simple to install. This has opened the use of this beneficial technology to law firms and legal teams of all sizes.
Recent surveys show that more than 90% of medium size and large law firms are likely to buy video conferencing software in the coming year, if they don’t have it already. Also, more than two-thirds of small and solo law firms are likely to do the same.
The main driver behind the increase in demand for corporate and law firm video conferencing software is an increase in cases of remote work. Surveys reveal that over three-quarters of employers want to invest in video conferencing technology as a tool for holding meetings with employees in remote locations. Another big chunk of employers is also interested in the technology because they have multiple offices in different parts of the country and the world.
As more law firms and corporations expand their operations to new geographical jurisdictions, video conferencing will assist lawyers in different locations to collaborate in ways that traditional conference calls couldn't match. For instance, with legal video conferencing technology, lawyers can see the facial expressions and physical gestures of their clients during depositions and witness testimonies. They can also share information seamlessly with their colleagues, which improves efficiency and productivity.
The increased simplicity of video conferencing technology has made it a darling for law firms and corporate legal teams that wish to significantly improve their ROI. Instead of allocating huge budgets to travel, accommodation, and training for lawyers, law firms and corporations can invest a small sum of money in video conferencing solutions that mitigate all the above costs.
Choosing the right legal video conferencing software solution for your legal team is very important. You need to ask yourself certain questions in order to get the right software that meets your needs: How will you be using the video conferencing software? What kind of resources will you need? How many lawyers will be willing and able to use this technology? What kind of ROI can you expect? What is your budget for this solution?
There are many other things that you should consider when searching for legal video conferencing software.
· How often do you plan to schedule video conferences?
· Will you need any third-party applications, like Google Docs, to effectively run the video conferencing software?
· How many clients, on average, will you reach out to using video conferencing meetings?
· In addition to online video meetings, do you have a need to conduct webinars in a one-to-many educational and training environment?
You need to think about all these factors and many others before you decide on a suitable platform. An expensive software with tons of features may turn out to be a waste of money, but a low-cost video conferencing software might not meet all your needs.
If you are searching for video conferencing software for your law firm or legal team, there are several things you will need to consider in order to choose the right one.
A video conferencing service enables you to meet and interact with other people through a live video feed. Unlike a typical phone call, video conferencing allows face-to-face interactions where you can see those you are communicating with. Video conferencing services can be found on many platforms, such as MediationSuites™. Depending on the specific needs of your law firm or corporate office, you can have a video conferencing system set-up in a specific location, such as a conference room in your offices; these setups will include cameras that capture images of the entire room as well as microphones that capture clear audio from those who are talking.
A video conferencing service gives you total control of your meetings. As the host, you can choose who will talk, who will appear on the live video feed, who can share their screen, and many other options. For instance, if one of the attendees of the virtual conference is giving a presentation, you can allow them to share their screen so that everyone can view their slides.
People who are not able to attend the meeting via the Internet can choose to attend via phone instead. They may not be able to see what is going on in the meeting, but they will be able to hear and give input where needed.
As with any purchase, it's crucial to know what exactly you need in an online video conferencing solution before choosing one. For instance, a large legal firm or corporate legal team may need to interact with hundreds of users in different locations at once, but a small firm may only need to conduct one-on-one lawyer-client meetings.
So, what should you consider when searching for quality corporate and law firm video conferencing software solution?
First, you need to determine how many people are likely to attend your virtual conferences on a regular basis. Some solutions can only support a handful of people. Other solutions can support hundreds of participants all at once. You need to consider the number of regular participants who will be attending your virtual conferences so that you can choose a software that matches your specific needs.
While many video conferencing software companies claim they can support hundreds of participants at once, most tend to limit the number of video feeds for any one virtual conference; others do not. It's important that you find out whether a video conferencing service limits the number of video feeds available in a virtual conference before pressing the purchase button. Another thing regarding video feeds is the quality of video offered. Some software supports HD live video feeds while others do not. Video conferencing for lawyers usually demands high-quality video because of the serious nature of most legal meetings.
You should check to see whether a video conferencing software solution has a friendly user interface before buying. You can do this by signing up for a free trial of the software to gauge its user-friendliness. Poorly designed software can cause you problems in terms of ease of use; some participants may find it difficult to connect to the live video feed, while others may miss out altogether.
Lawyers engage in a wide range of meetings in the course of their work, including both lawyer-client meetings and lawyer-lawyer meetings. There are meetings where lawyers meet persons of interest in a case for purposes of deposition, including sharing electronic exhibits and possibly even remote real-time streaming. There are meetings where lawyers meet with industry professionals in order to secure expert witness testimonies. There are also training conferences and other in-house meetings done within law firms. The software you choose should be able to facilitate all the above meetings with ease. It is important that you make sure you choose a service that makes the work of your lawyers and clients much easier.
As with any other software, video conferencing software for law firms and corporate legal teams should have customer support. Stay clear of any software that does not have a reliable and friendly customer-support team. You can check to see whether a video conferencing software solution has customer support by calling the customer care numbers provided on their website. If you don't get an answer, or if you get a poor response, quickly move on to the next option. If you do get a customer-care representative you can talk to, ask them a few questions to gauge their seriousness and knowledge of the product they are offering.
Most video conferencing software solutions have provisions for third-party app integration. This means that you can use other software like Microsoft PowerPoint or Google Slides together with the video conferencing software. You can use third-party apps to import crucial documents and notes that you will need during the meeting. On top of this, some software comes with note-taking features for participants. You should consider how much interaction and participation you need during your online meetings before choosing specific software. Third-party apps and plugins have a great impact on the level of interaction and participation between attendees of a virtual conference.
Medium and large law firms or legal teams typically have multiple conference rooms in their offices where lawyers can hold their meetings. Depending on your specific needs, you may want to dedicate one of your conference rooms to be specifically used for virtual conferences. You should check to see whether the room has all the necessary fixtures and utilities to host such meetings. The software you choose should be able to handle the type of room set-up you have in place. Some software vendors offer assistance in setting up conference rooms with audio-visual equipment.
Screen sharing makes a meeting more interactive and keeps participants engaged. In the event you need to elaborate certain points during a presentation, or share certain documents with a client or colleague, screen sharing can really come in handy.
Sometimes, it's necessary to record the live video feed of a video conference for reference purposes. The video conferencing software solution you choose should have the ability to record both video and audio for later viewing. This means that lawyers can go back and replay conferences and meetings at their own convenience. The ability to record meetings is very important for lawyers and legal teams, as most of the information they handle usually needs to go into archives for future reference. Today, most video conferencing software companies also offer cloud storage solutions that can be used to store recordings.
In today's world, being able to communicate and interact using mobile devices is very important. Video conferencing technology is now supported by a wide range of devices including smart gadgets such as mobile phones and tablets. A good video conferencing solution should be accessible from all types of desktop computers (PCs and Macs), laptops, and mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. Lawyers and clients should be able to interact easily, regardless of the device they are using.
Many corporate and law firm video conferencing software solutions offer free demonstrations and trials that lawyers can use to gauge the suitability of a specific product. You should never invest in a product that you have not used, given that companies are offering so many free trials and demonstrations.
Most video conferencing service providers charge on a per-host basis. This means that if you want multiple employees to host their own meetings, you will need to buy software licenses for each of these hosts. Each user can then host their own online virtual conferences at their own convenience, and you will only be paying for the individual host licenses; those attending will not be charged any fees.
Other video conferencing solutions charge based on the number of people attending the virtual conference in each meeting. This cost structure typically relies on the number of video feeds to determine pricing. There are also free video conferencing software solutions that allow participants to hold a meeting, albeit with limited features and functionalities.
Because of the highly technical nature of legal work, law firms and corporate legal teams are well advised to sincerely consider the paid video conferencing software over the free video conferencing software. The latter may be cost-effective, but they are not as reliable, secure, or feature-rich as the former.
Video conferencing is changing the way many companies are doing business in today's world. Law firms and corporate legal teams should not be left behind in this wave of change. Lawyers can improve productivity and save on time and money by leveraging online legal video conferencing software solutions in the course of their work. By following the above tips, lawyers and legal teams can easily find a good video conferencing service that meets all their needs and more.
If you're interested in exploring an excellent browser-based video conferencing solution for law firms or legal teams, contact MediationSuites™ today.
For many businesses, technology is simply a tool that's used to lower costs and improve service delivery. This fact also applies to law firms in many ways, as the ultimate goal of using technology in the legal profession is to allow these businesses to run more efficiently and effectively as well.
It's the combination of saving money and improving client service that make video conferencing important to lawyers and the firms they work for. Modern video conferencing solutions for lawyers have made it possible for numerous legal services and processes to become more convenient and efficient for both lawyers and their clients.
Legal tasks that could previously only be carried out in person or over the phone can now be done remotely using video conferencing technology. Clients no longer have to physically make their way to their lawyers' offices to get crucial counsel on matters affecting them. Furthermore, lawyers can close deals, interview witnesses, and undertake depositions from any part of the world regardless of the distance between them and their clients. In an industry where decorum, presentation, and grooming are the order of the day, face-to-face meetings still carry a lot of weight. But face-to-face meetings don't necessarily mean that people have to be in the same room. Remember, this is the 21st century!
As the saying goes, 'appearance is everything.' Lawyers know this very well, as they work in a highly complex field where a lot of work is done behind the scenes. Clients are often confused by the work done by legal experts, and so must rely on appearances to make judgements on crucial decisions. Clients must feel that they are in a position to assess the quality of service they are getting, even if they don't understand the specific legal details of their cases. Lawyers have their work cut out as they have to prove confidence and competence in order to attract and retain their clients.
A client may not fully comprehend the legal aspects of their case, but their intuition about the lawyer they are talking to can have a major impact on the outcome of the case. When a client trusts their lawyer, they're more likely to divulge information more willingly and follow instructions better.
Many things can affect the level of trust between a lawyer and their client. One of these things is the quality of communication between these two parties. Smart lawyers must embrace innovative and effective means of communications if they wish to gain an upper hand in the industry. Mastering the technical aspects of the legal profession is not enough, as you also need to establish strong relationships with your clients. Video conferencing for lawyers can help do just that.
It goes without saying that video conferencing can achieve a lot more than a standard phone call can. With video conferencing, a lawyer can address both a client's legal and emotional concerns. It has been proven that when video conferencing is made part and parcel of a lawyer-client relationship, the case or matter at hand has a higher chance of arriving at a positive outcome.
Considering that most lawyers are unable to show empathy or provide emotional support to their clients due to keeping professional distance, it's those lawyers that can overcome this shortcoming using technology that will end up successful at the end of the day.
There are many practical applications for law firm video conferencing tools. For starters, these tools save time, increase productivity, and boost efficiency within the firm. On top of this, they allow depositions to be done remotely without relying on voice-only questioning. With a live visual feed, lawyers can gain an added advantage, as they can evaluate non-verbal cues and gestures that would be otherwise impossible to note on a standard phone call.
There are also financial benefits of using video conferencing for attorneys. As mentioned above, video conferencing can be used for remote depositions, meaning lawyers do not have to physically meet with subjects. This can save a law firm a lot of money on travel and facilitation expenses. Similarly, law firms that need to undertake training for their staff can do so using video conferencing, thereby saving on expenses related to travel, accommodation, and allowances.
In-house collaboration is made easier by using technologies such as video conferencing. Big law firms with branches in different cities and countries can use this technology to collaborate in real time and get things done much more quickly. With modern video conferencing tools and cloud-based solutions, data can be shared seamlessly during discussion between legal professionals.
On a larger scale, video conferencing for lawyers has many more applications than the conventional “out-of-area” deposition capabilities. For instance, in cases that involve highly sensitive matters, time is usually of the essence and lawyers usually bill their clients by the hour. In such cases, lawyers must find ways to reduce the cost burden on the clients in regard to communication and travel. One way to cut on travel costs and still maintain face-to-face consultations is using video conferencing. Currently, many law firms and legal departments in companies are using video conferencing to cut down on operational costs and make legal processes more efficient.
Video conferencing can be used as a substitute for real-life client-lawyer meetings. This means that the technology has the potential to completely revolutionize client-attorney relations. So, if your client is situated in a different city, county, state or even country altogether, you can use video conferencing to bridge the physical distance. Meetings can be arranged at any time, be it day or night, and as often as one wishes, with very minimal added costs.
Major legal firms are typically made up of hundreds of lawyers who work in different branches and departments. Most of these lawyers need to collaborate with each other to achieve common company goals and objectives. With video conferencing, lawyers can easily collaborate by holding virtual meetings and discussion forums. They can use this technology on a daily basis and on a massive scale; this is especially useful for those that are part of large firms.
Legal experts who are continuing education can benefit immensely from video conferencing for lawyers. These individuals can work and study at the same time without worrying about the hassle of traveling. This can save the law firm both time and money, while the legal team continues to grow its legal skills.
Legal instructors may find it necessary to have law students or employees attend periodic training seminars. These seminars do not have to be planned physically as video conferencing can be used instead. A law firm with multiple offices can plan for all their employees to attend training sessions at specific times without having them travel to one location. This makes planning and implementing these events much easier, as well saving a lot of travel time and money.
Depositions are some of the most expensive activities in the legal profession. Previously, lawyers might have to travel across multiple state boundaries to depose subjects related to a single case. Depositions can sometimes be lengthy and time-consuming. The logistical aspects of these activities can also be a nightmare, especially when subjects fail to show up. Luckily, lawyers and law firms can eliminate any deposition-related travel that affects both them and the witness by using video conferencing software.
Nowadays, it's possible to carry out remote court arraignment without having prisoners physically present at the courthouse. This is a growing trend that's expected to become industry standard in the near future, as it has been observed to save time and money. Transporting and guarding prisoners to and from courthouses can be both time-consuming and cost-intensive. Considerable manpower and taxpayer money is allocated to these activities. These resources can obviously be put to better use if members of the legal fraternity choose to adopt and implement technologies such as video conferencing.
Warrants and stays of hearing can be sent and received expeditiously. This means that lawyers and law enforcement agencies do not have to wait for days for these crucial documents to be made available to them. This can contribute to a faster judicial process, which is good for everyone.
Many court cases require the input of professional witnesses who are called in to offer their expert opinion on a subject that's being discussed in court. Expert witnesses have traditionally had to appear physically in courtrooms; however, this is no longer necessary as they now can appear in court through video conferencing. They can give their testimonies as candidly and effectively as if they were physically present in court.
Indeed, technology is changing the world and how we do things at a rapid pace. Lawyers, law firms and the legal profession at large should not be left behind as other industries move forward with the help of technologies such as video conferencing.
Interested in how video conferencing can aid your law firm? Contact MediationSuites™ today to start a free 14-day trial.
Today’s workers are dispersed. Over four million Americans work remotely from an office every day. This creates unique communication challenges for companies with virtual teams. What are some of the best tools on the market to help virtual team communication?
Today, working virtually is the rule and not the exception. But creating team cohesion between an in-office staff and a virtual team is still a challenge. Some virtual team communication challenges include:
· When communicating by text or email, body language is lost, so crucial cues that signify tone are often missing.
· Priorities and the urgency of tasks can be harder to communicate when teams don’t meet face-to-face.
· Language barriers can be more evident by phone.
· Time zones can create delayed responses and frustration.
· Network connections or other technology failures can create unnecessary barriers.
The good news is that there are a variety of tools available to help overcome these barriers. We are now going to introduce you to some of the best virtual team communication tools to help you manage and build collaboration — no matter where your teams are.
Part of the communication conundrum with virtual teams is that they still need the ability to quickly communicate, even when the team member can’t get up and walk to the next cubicle to share an idea. Fortunately, these tools can help.
1. Microsoft Teams is a chat app for meetings and document sharing. The tool offers instant communication between individuals and teams and it provides a documented trail of the discussion, similar to an email.
2. Skype is probably most famous for video conferencing. But the tool also offers many of the same features as the Microsoft product, including instant messaging, file transfer, and document collaboration features.
3. Slack is an instant messaging tool that can be organized by channels for more efficient communication around a project. In addition to the features found in Skype and Microsoft teams, it also integrates with Dropbox and Google Drive for file storage.
Keeping a complex project on time and within budget is difficult enough, but when a part of your team isn’t down the hall, it can create big problems. Fortunately there are virtual team communication tools geared specifically for project management.
1. Asana has all the elements for tracking time and materials with a visual element that makes it easy to see at a glance where you’re falling short on a project.
2. Basecamp organizes around specific projects where you can communicate, build tasks, and share documents.
3. MS Teams features a unified collaboration hub that lets you handle all communications around a specific project.
4. Trello uses a kanban style of card management for tasks on specific bulletin boards by project. It handles projects, tasks, schedules, and time.
Big projects often require time and labor time tracking. Today’s digital tools serve the same purpose as punching an old fashioned time clock. Modern features allow project managers to convert tracked time to billable hours — marking these tools as highly desirable for most teams.
1. Harvest is an online time tracker that has invoicing, billing, expense tracking, and other accounting features incorporated right into the software.
2. Time Doctor not only tracks time, but it also includes a screenshot feature to guarantee your employees are active when they’re supposed to be.
3. TSheets is an accounting software time tracking project by QuickBooks, and its claim to fame is the integration between labor, accounting, and billing.
There’s no question that the next best thing to being there is video conferencing. Video chat solves virtual team communication challenges tied to not being able to see the human expression behind the text. Here are some of the best video chat tools to consider.
1. GoToMeeting was the first iteration of video conferencing platforms. It’s grown more sophisticated and reliable over time and now offers the ability to scale to webinar size in addition to handling simple video chat.
2. MegaMeeting offers affordable, high-quality, and secure audio and web conferencing. Powerful integrated features like email, screen and file sharing, and recording make the platform more than a just video chat enabler. This is a powerful, clear communication device suitable for large and small teams.
Google reminds us of Amazon. Both companies carved out a similar-sized space in their technology niche and owned it. While Amazon focused on ruling online e-commerce, Google remains the number one search engine in the world. But Google also has virtual team communication tools, often called the G-Suite, designed to aid group collaboration.
1. Google Docs and Sheets are the online free versions of Word and Excel from the Microsoft Office Suite. The functionality is different, but because the Google tools are online, they offer an easy way to collaborate on documents in real-time.
2. Google Drive is a cloud-based storage system for files similar to Dropbox.
3. Google Hangouts is a free video conferencing service for groups. While the quality may not be perfect for every situation, it’s easy to use and gets the job done.
4. Google Slides offers a way to create and edit presentations online with no PowerPoint or other software needed.
5. Gmail is the Google email product with many of the same features as Microsoft Outlook.
Out of all the options we’ve covered, probably Microsoft and Google have the most virtual team communication tools combined under one platform. However, with so many other choices on the market, and given that most cloud software platforms are now designed to integrate effectively, you don’t have to rely on one name to provide your team’s collaboration tools.
Picking the right communication tools for your virtual teams is crucial to their effectiveness. MediationSuites™ is proud of our work with dispersed teams. We specialize in robust, secure video and audio communication services that give your remote teams the tools they need to succeed.
Does your practice leverage the best HIPAA compliant video conferencing solution available to it? With the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently waiving HIPAA privacy laws, clinicians can now select from an array of commercial video conferencing solutions to perform telemedicine services. However, does that mean they should? What could happen to patient data if a non-HIPAA compliant video conferencing solution allowed hackers to infiltrate their application and its data?
Zoom is in-arguably one of the leading video conferencing providers. But is Zoom HIPAA compliant? What’s the difference between Zoom vs. MegaMeeting? And why does HIPAA compliance matter, anyway?
In this article, we’ll answer these and other questions about HIPAA compliant video conferencing for your healthcare organization.
HIPAA still matters to doctors and patients. HIPAA is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. This legislation sets privacy standards for patient information. It was a landmark law that couldn’t have come at a better time.
In 1996, most healthcare providers were well on their way to replacing their paper charting with digital tools like electronic health records (EHRs). Suddenly, much of our health data could be accessed via the Internet. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Congress decided to determine and set forth privacy regulations for our individual digital health information to protect patients from data breach and identity theft.
Fast forward to 2020, where a global pandemic has a firm hold on America and the world. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Telehealth, or virtual clinical visits, has gained widespread popularity as a tool for social distancing. It is estimated that more than one billion telehealth visits will take place in 2020. To open the floodgates to accommodate telehealth demand, CMS announced policy changes that waived HIPAA requirements. Now doctors can select any commercial video conferencing solution, whether it meets HIPAA standards or not.
While easing HIPAA standards lets doctors quickly ramp-up telemedicine services for patients, what happens if the commercial video conferencing solution fails to keep patient data safe?
HIPAA set rules to ensure the security of patient protected health information (PHI). Any organization that transmits or stores digital PHI is required to abide by these rules. This could include doctors, hospitals, dentists, clinics, health insurance carriers, pharmacies, and even chiropractors. But it also requires organizations that handle PHI in any form to keep it safe. This includes the video conferencing solutions that healthcare providers use to provide virtual consultation to their patients.
HIPAA is divided into two primary categories:
· The Privacy Rule permits healthcare organizations to share patient data with authorized entities, while still keeping it safe from everyone else. This requires Notice of Privacy Practices that tells the patient how their data is used.
· The Security Rule requires these organizations to set up and maintain administrative, physical, and technical safeguards for the protection of PHI. This includes setting privacy restrictions for the data in transit and at rest. This data could be information from EHRs, test results, X-rays, prescriptions, and general health data.
This rule requires secured connections that are encrypted from end-to-end. It also requires physical safeguards for the equipment that houses the data. It sets training standards for staff handling PHI so they don’t inadvertently violate HIPAA rules. Finally, it requires extensive IT security protocols for networks, hardware, software, authentication, and more.
Complying with HIPAA means that organizations take significant steps to protect PHI. The alternative, however, is unthinkable. Imagine the ramifications to your practice if cybercriminals could steal patient data or their identities. Private test results, health conditions, and more could be shared with others online. Social security and payment information could be stolen. The breach of trust between providers and patients would be severed. These are all reasons why HIPAA still matters to our patients and practices, and why you should be careful to select the best HIPAA compliant video conferencing solution.
Zoom is now one of the most popular commercial video conferencing solutions. Some reports suggest the provider has seen a 535% increase in traffic since the beginning of 2020.
But is Zoom a HIPAA compliant video conferencing solution? The Zoom website suggests that the carrier:
· Encrypts patient data transmitted across the Internet.
· Has multiple layered controls for accessing the service.
· Offers a business services agreement to healthcare clients.
On the surface, it would appear Zoom is a HIPAA compliant video conferencing service. But the HIPAA Journal has some concerns. In 2018, the journal did indeed report that Zoom was HIPAA compliant. However, a March 2020 update cast serious doubts that Zoom was still — or perhaps ever had been — HIPAA compliant:
“There are now serious concerns about the security of Zoom. This creates doubts about using Zoom for communicating medical information, which needs to be fully protected under HIPAA. Zoom has publicly committed to upgrading its security and fixing all security problems. Until the security issues with Zoom are resolved, alternative telemedicine solutions should be used.”
In April 2020, security concerns began to mount, as "Zoombombing" takeovers showed the commercial video conferencing solution had serious flaws. While many of these issues have been corrected, they cast doubt on the provider’s ability to keep PHI data safe.
Netsec News said, “Taken in isolation, each issue is worrying, but together they add up to a privacy and security disaster. Security researchers have called the platform ‘fundamentally corrupt,’ with others going further and claiming Zoom is ‘essentially malware.’”
Healthcare organizations must lessen their risk by taking steps to ensure the security of their patient’s digital health information. This includes avoiding commercial video conferencing solutions that are simply not appropriate for a healthcare encounter.
The best HIPAA compliant video conferencing should be a direct-to-patient tool that is simple to use on any digital device. MegaMeeting allows healthcare providers to communicate directly with patients safely and securely on an "end-to-end" encrypted platform with message authentication that is fully HIPAA compliant. Commercial video conferencing services do not allow the kind of end-user administrative controls that ensure the security of PHI. MegaMeeting is a 100% browser-based, full-service HIPAA compliant video conferencing solution that can be fully branded (white labeled) for a healthcare practice.
HIPAA was designed to reduce healthcare fraud and abuse and set industry-level standards for the digital transmission of patient data. We believe HIPAA was important legislation and is still necessary today to protect the data integrity of the patients we serve. Contact MegaMeeting for a secure, HIPAA compliant solution for your patients.
Remote meetings via video conferencing have become an integral part of today’s business world. Before the COVID-19 crisis, video conferencing was an occasional tool for many, if not most businesses, but not anymore. In the modern world, remote meetings are the primary way for many teams to communicate. Whether you’re trying to sell your product or services to a client or coordinate with your team, remote video conferencing is the way business happens today.
Different rules apply in these meetings than they do in face-to-face gatherings. It’s more difficult to know if your workers are truly participating during a video conference, or to gauge how interested a prospective client is. We have some suggestions for how to engage remote meeting participants that will help ensure everyone has a voice during your next video conference.
The first step toward a process to engage remote meeting participants is to leverage a video conferencing solution that allows the tools you need to create collaboration. Screen sharing is an important way to keep everyone on the same page, while text chat features are great for allowing side conversations that would naturally happen during any in-person meeting. Above all, you need a reliable service that your company can count on to keep workers connected.
Make sure you’ve invited everyone and that no one has any trouble logging into the platform. Leaving someone out in the cold could make them feel left out and lessen their engagement in future meetings. If you’re using a waiting room as part of your video conferencing security practices, make sure you let people in promptly and don’t miss anyone.
Try to plan the agenda in a way that engages remote meeting participants. A good way to do this is to get participant input on the agenda items that will be covered in the meeting. Share the final agenda in advance, and, if possible, keep the meeting interesting by breaking up the presenters. It doesn’t matter if the meeting is sales related, training, a brainstorming session, a workgroup, or anything else — remote attendees may disengage and tune out if the same person goes on for too long.
While this may be overlooked, give some thought to who is actually in the meeting. Do you really need everyone from marketing on the call, or should you bring one or two representatives from the department? Sometimes people disengage from meetings simply because there is really no reason for them to be there at all. Make sure every attendee has a participation piece of the meeting, if possible, and that they know why they’re there and what you expect.
Start by explaining the rules of the meeting. Introduce everyone (unless this is a regular team meeting, in which this part isn’t necessary) and then go over the agenda. Explain how people can ask questions so it isn’t a free for all — unless that’s helpful for brainstorming. Ask everyone to turn on their cameras and set that expectation upfront so you don’t have a static picture of someone’s dog through the whole meeting.
Remind everyone of the time the meeting will end and reiterate the goal of the meeting, whatever that may be. It’s a good idea to record the meeting and appoint a scribe (not the host, but typically a moderator) during the meeting that can note some of the important to-dos from the call or perhaps put a sticker (virtually) on a parking lot item to tackle later.
Also, consider appointing a timekeeper to make sure your agenda doesn’t go haywire. This serves two purposes: keeping your agenda on track and also parceling out tasks in the meeting that will give people things to do and keep them engaged.
While you may not be able to introduce everyone in the meeting (or have them introduce themselves), introductions are a great way to increase meeting engagement. Sharing a person’s role is also important to help the employee feel more valued. Given that you want as many people involved as possible, you may even ask someone else to do the introductions and facilitate an ice breaker. The point is to get everyone involved, so they make it their meeting.
Always launch with an ice breaker for remote meetings. Ice breakers are a great way to get people engaged early on while giving you a chance to boost participation in the meeting. Some suggestions for the best ice breaker questions for remote meetings include:
· Where is your favorite place to go on vacation?
· If you could go back in time what year would you choose and why?
· What’s your favorite movie?
· When I dance I look like ___________.
Another trick is to allow some small talk while you’re waiting for everyone to join the meeting. While the host and/or moderator can chat people up as they come into the meeting, it’s a good idea to plant a couple of people in the audience that can do the same. That makes the meeting lively right out of the gate and gets people connected.
Mid-meeting you may feel like attention is lagging and wonder how to engage remote meeting participants. Throughout the meeting, it’s a good idea to keep people engaged by asking for their input. If you notice employees that are hanging back and haven’t contributed, get them involved by asking them for their input. Also, make sure the meeting host is engaging. You’re trying for lively interaction, not boredom, so the facilitator should inject some energy into the video conference. Keep an eye on the chat feature. You may find that the quiet ones in the group are more comfortable speaking up in an instant message.
Just because the meeting is over doesn’t mean you don’t have a couple of tasks to finish up. Sending a thank you and notes to follow through on after the meeting is a great way to wrap things up. You could even farm this task out to someone in the meeting as another way to boost engagement. Attach a picture of all the meeting participants or a funny meme about the ice breaker and add a link to the meeting notes or recording.
At MediationSuites™, we understand the value of video conferencing as a tool to engage your remote teams. We offer HD high-quality video conferencing solutions that are a secure way to keep collaboration flowing across the miles. Contact us today to find out how our solution can help your business, as well as keep your meeting participants highly engaged.
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