Author Archives: Don Juan

About Don Juan

Don Juan loves laying on the beach when he isn’t writing posts around the internet.

If you work a lot from home, you might be considering creating a separate room in your house or section of your office devoted entirely to video conferencing. And while the task may seem a little daunting, the good news is that smaller and more accessible rooms dedicated to business video conferencing in tight-knit groups, or huddle rooms, are slowly increasing in popularity.

Part of their appeal is the lowered price tag in a small, convenient setup, which not only saves money initially but can allow for multiple huddle rooms in the same office, lowering the need to reserve or book a massive and expensive staging area weeks in advance.

How that translates to benefiting you is that there are more options available for creating your own. Whether it's a private or professional building, here is a startup guide to help you shop for all the tools you need.

Location

First of all, you need to decide in what part of your house you are going to hold most of your conference calls. The two biggest factors you need to consider are the lighting and the sound, which can be a very tricky pair of factors to balance.

You want a well-lit room that won't cast strange or unflattering shadows on your face, and that is bright without washing you out or enveloping you in eerie darkness.  While this can be accomplished with one good overhead light and a window to your front or side, not from the back as to avoid harsh backlighting, being close to a window can run the risk of disruptive street noise. Auditory distractions can also include noisy heaters, strange echoes, or noise pollution from other members of the house.

Wander around your house with a smartphone or laptop with webcam recording you to find the best balance of light and silence. When you've decided on a room, it's a good idea to keep it as clean and straightforward as possible, with just a table and chairs and a very basic, neutral paint job in the background. Bookshelves or artwork in the background is okay if that's your preference, but make sure nothing is too distracting in the background like a band poster or a particularly candid photo. You should always be the most interesting thing in frame.

Software and the Internet

While these two things are rather different issues, they are just as important at letting you run your video conference as smoothly as possible. Your internet should be steady and as fast as possible. Generally speaking, this can be achieved or at least improved upon with the use of Ethernet or any internet that plugs directly into your computer system.

While Wi-Fi and other wireless equipment are extremely convenient, if you have the option and the nearby plugs using Ethernet can boost the reliability. It comes down to the rate and quality of your provider, of course, so consider upgrading or exploring alternate options for your internet if you find yourself having lots of dropped calls.

Another feature to help a video conference run smoothly is by using a program such as BlueJeans that's designed for large-scale huddle meetings and calls to streamline the sometimes tricky process of connecting different devices. Good software can help improve the overall experience, so don't overlook this aspect.

Hardware and Equipment

The equipment involved in making a private conferencing space is usually limited to three pieces of tech. A screen or monitor to view the people involved, a webcam and a microphone are the standard parts needed, and what you should invest in even if your laptop or notebook comes with the latter two built in. If you want to go professional, it's best to upgrade to get the best quality.

For webcams, high quality usually means higher resolution, which means that more pixels are used to fill an image. Think of it as though you want to make a jar look as blue as possible, so you fill it with blue items. Filling a jar full of blue sand as opposed to blue gumballs will give you a much smoother and more edge-to-edge appearance of blue. This is roughly how a higher resolution will help send a smoother picture, but that can also be affected by your internet connection so watch out for that.

On the audio side, a free standing microphone is preferred over bulky, distracting headsets. Both of these accessories also offer you the ability to move more freely around your space as needed and set up the camera at a much more flattering eye level. If your primary computer is a laptop, or if you want the flexibility of working between two different sizes of screens, you can also consider getting a second monitor.

computer-1845880_640Electronics are getting better all the time. Whether it's the latest TV, smartphone, laptop, or household item, we all need electronic devices in our modern lives.

But when is the best time of the year to buy them?

If you want to take advantage of lower prices, there are specific times of the year when it could make more sense to shop.

Good Times of Year to Find Discounts

In general, there are a few times of the year when you may be able to find more bargains for your electronic goods.

The start of the year is a good option because you can often take advantage of the sales. It's also the time of year that the Consumer Electronics Show is held in Las Vegas, where the latest digital technology is revealed.

This can mean older products see price drops as they become dated, and the discounts often continue into February.

The run-up to Christmas is also a good time go pick up bargains. Black Friday and Cyber Monday started out as American discount shopping days, but they have quickly caught on in other countries.

This is the perfect time to shop for electronics because there are some serious discounts to be found.

Sometimes new models of the latest gadgets are released in time for Christmas, so if you want to pick up the very latest tech, now is the time.

But while these times of the year are good general times to buy electronics, what about specific items?

If you are in Europe in September, try the IFA Exhibition in Berlin touted as the "world's leading trade show for consumer electronics and home appliances".  Many products make their world debut at this show, making this a show not to miss.

Best Time to Buy Smartphones

If you want the latest and greatest smartphones, there is no exact time of year for this. The latest iPhone tends to be released in September each year, but the best Android phones are released at other times.

Big events include the CES in January, and the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona in February.

The latest handsets are often announced here, but not always. These include handsets with all the best features, including phones like Sony's dual-SIM smartphones (learn more about these here).

Best Time to Buy Televisions & Laptops

Again, the CES is the time when the latest TV models are released. But during the year, look out for deals before special sporting events like the World Cup or the African Cup of Nations when stores know that many consumers will be looking for a better TV.

TVs get upgraded all the time, and you might want to go for slightly dated technology to get a bargain. For example, a TV that is not a smart TV may be less expensive.

As for laptops, special offers may come around in the lead up to the academic year. But also look out for new technology such as new processors because once these are released, the old technology becomes cheaper.

Look Out for Bargains

Although there are some times of year when electronics are usually less expensive, the best thing to do is constantly keep an eye out for bargains. Sign up to newsletters, follow social media accounts, and keep hunting out bargains. You may find that you can make a serious saving at any time of the year if you keep your eyes open and spot a good deal quickly.

Henry Goddard has experience working in the electronics retail industry. His informative articles offer up some very useful advice to consumer seeking to buy high-end items.

office-820390_640Whether you are using video as a medium for creative output or using it as part of an online communications system, your company can definitely benefit from using it wisely. In this article, we will discuss a few ways you can use video in order to foster creativity and collaboration within your own organization.

Use It to Create Motivation for Your Employees

According to some sobering statistics cited by Forbes, 70 percent of employees surveyed did not feel engaged with their jobs. However, there are a number of simple ways you can change that for the better. Have you ever received a personalized video message before? You may recall how warm and fuzzy it made you feel. With the right tools and equipment, you can do the same for your staff members, too. You can record a motivating video to welcome new employees, as well as cheer your current employees on. Nothing boosts company morale better than actually hearing from their own boss. If you can manage it, you could even make short, personalized messages for each employee. It will make you seem that much more genuine, which can really push your employees to do their best for the company’s interest.

Here’s a quick tip: if you find yourself really bad at writing your own scripts, try hiring a pro to do it for you. You could start off with a draft that you made yourself, and then have somebody else edit it until it looks perfect. You might even be able to ask a friend to do this for you, provided that person has the skills to pull it off.

Use It to Facilitate Online Brainstorming Sessions

Sometimes, your best people are out of reach, perhaps stuck in a conference all the way across the globe. This could leave your other staff members feeling lost, like they have nobody to guide them. It’s not a pretty sight, especially if you have to come up with some great creative solutions for an important project, and fast. But you don’t have to consider your top achievers completely out of reach, as long as you have access to BlueJeans business video conferencing. With a quick click of a button, you can set up a virtual meeting room and have anybody attend for a quick brainstorming session. You can even invite people who are based in other countries. Plus, these people won’t even need a dedicated computer to join the discussion. That is because these types of systems are accessible from pretty much any device. All anybody would need is a mobile phone, tablet, or laptop. With that in hand, attendees can join in at any time, anywhere in the world.

To help make things easier for everybody, make sure that everybody who has to attend the meeting already has an agenda to refer to a few days in advance. That way, the conversation won’t get derailed by small talk or other irrelevant side-discussions. The basic information that an agenda should contain include the logistics, the objectives, and the topics that have to be covered, according to Skills You Need.

Use It to Enhance Your Employees’ Current Skills

Having to step out of the office just to attend some training can be the last thing on your staff’s mind, especially if they’ve had a particularly hard day at work. But now, employees will not have to spend several hours commuting or driving from one place to another just to receive some additional training. They can now learn new skills and lessons all while sitting at their office desks. You won’t have to spend any money sending your best people out to your teams located in faraway locations, either. Now, all they’ll have to do is open up a virtual chat room and meet everybody without ever having to leave the company office. This can be a great advantage for your enterprise, since your staff will no longer have to waste any time on the road just to accomplish certain tasks. After training sessions are done, they can just switch off the conferences and go right back to work, since they are already right there at their own desks or cubicles.

To make things even more efficient, you can have several training videos created in advance. This gives the employee something to do while giving the trainer some extra time to accomplish more important tasks. That way, your trainer only has to step into a video chat for the more hands-on parts of the course.

The possibilities for using videos are nearly endless, as long as you keep your mind open to different ways of playing with the medium. Try to think of even more ways to utilize video so that you can maximize whatever systems you already have in place. You can even ask your employees to give you suggestions so that you can expand your horizons.