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Five tech tools to improve your next video conference

Five tech tools to improve your next video conference

Ideas to help you stay better connected with clients and your team

With the growth of businesses organized around remote collaboration, video conferencing has become more important than ever. Quality video conferencing can help colleagues separated by great distances feel like they're working in rooms next to each other, and ensure clients know they have your full attention. And having the right tech tools in place help make these meetings run smoothly for all involved. Here are five to consider.

Highfive | highfive.com

Looking for a high-quality video-conferencing hardware solution that can integrate with your existing remote-meeting software? Meet Highfive. Its lens has a broad, 120-degree field of view that reaches left and right to fit an entire table of participants into the picture. And with HD optics, those on the other end of the line will feel like they're in the same room with you. What's more, it uses Dolby Voice technology to help ensure participants don't start talking over each other, delivering an audio experience on par with the video. And it comes as a single, easy to mount component that you can control wirelessly via your own mobile device or laptop rather than a separate remote.

Samsung 65-inch MU8000 UHD 4K TV | samsung.com/ca

A display used for video conferencing in a modern office should be big, bright, beautiful and meet all of the technical demands of your chosen video-conferencing system. Samsung's 65-inch Series-8 UHD TV ticks off each of these boxes handily, thanks to its window-like size, mega-contrast capability and stunning industrial design. More importantly, its 4K resolution meets the demands of any current videoconferencing system, and handy convergence features – such as mobile-to-TV mirroring, Ethernet connectivity and USB inputs – deliver on both utility and accessibility.

Meeting Owl | owllabs.com

Using this robotic video-conference camera – which, as its name suggests, looks a bit like a wise old bird – is kind of like having a director call the shots from behind the scenes. Its 360-degree lens delivers a panoramic view of the room, and as individual meeting participants chime in, the camera quickly recognizes the active speaker and shifts focus to them. It's a huge step up for remote workers who regularly call in to team meetings only to be frustrated by hearing off-camera voices and seeing participants shift out of frame.

Logitech BCC950 | Logitech.com/en-ca

You probably don't always need or have easy access to a full-fledged conference room. That's when Logitech's BCC950 has you covered. This lightweight and easily portable webcam/speakerphone combo lets a small group conduct video conferences in a semi-private space. The cam comes with an eye-level stand for better framing, and the noise-cancelling mic reduces the echo effect of small rooms. It simply plugs into a laptop with a USB – no usage training required – and you can pan and tilt the camera to focus on specific subjects with a simple directional control pad.

A high-speed internet connection

Regardless of the gadgets you use, the best way to ensure your videoconferences look great is to run them through a high-speed internet connection – ideally one fast and powerful enough to facilitate lag-free calls in high-definition and also in 4K (the new standard many videoconferencing hardware and software suites are now beginning to support). For best results, make sure that your remote team members on the other end of the line have speedy connections, too.


About the Author

Chad Sapieha has been writing about technology since 1998, and his work has appeared in publications throughout North America, including The Globe and Mail, the National Post, and CBC News.