Whether you’re organizing a board meeting, a strategy meeting for your favorite cause, or virtually celebrating winter holidays with family members in another city. Technology has the potential for us not just to share text and audio, but to share live video. You’ll need the three below items to get started:
- Camera – You’ll need a computer or phone with a webcam. Most recent laptops and smartphones have one built-in. If you have a desktop computer, you can buy a basic webcam starting around $15-$20 that plugs-in to your computer.
- Broadband Internet – Video files are not small so you’ll want a pretty good Internet connection because the quality of your experience will be dependent on your Internet bandwidth. A wired broadband Internet connection or wi-fi are good ways to go. A fast cellular network will also work, but if you have the option to connect to wi-fi, you may want to consider this because real-time video uses a good amount of bandwidth
- Video Chat Software – You’ll need software running on both ends for video chat. I describe three software options below and some pros and cons of each;
- Skype – Skype offers the broadest support of platforms including: Windows Desktop, Windows 8, Apple Macintosh, Linux, Apple iPhone, Apple iPad, Google Android phone, Google Android Tablet, Windows Phone, RIM Blackberry, and Amazon Kindle Fire HD. While Skype is owned by Windows creator Microsoft, their breadth of supported platforms makes Skype an excellent choice for groups with different devices.
- Google Hangouts – If you’re using Gmail or Google+, Hangouts are integrated; and they have apps for Google Android and Apple iOS devices.
- Apple FaceTime – If everyone in your organization or family has an Apple iPhone, iPad, or Mac, you can all use FaceTime. If you’re on an iPhone to iPhone call, it’s easy to click the “FaceTime” button and add video.
As today is Dec. 24th and many people have today and/or tomorrow off of work, I recommend trying a video chat with family. Happy Holidays–