Technology & Social Media

See what I’m saying? Video conferencing on a budget

WebcamSaturdays at CPA Success are usually spent reviewing online tools that can help increase our productivity. Keep in mind that we do not endorse any of these services. We simply offer them up for your consideration. Do your own homework and find the service that best meets your needs.

This week's tech post comes from Chris Jenkins at the Ohio Society of CPAs. Chris?

As a parent, I never underestimate the phrase, “Do I look happy?” As a business traveler, I understand the difficulties involved in conveying the actual “look.” Technology to the rescue. With a few mouse clicks, my disapproving gaze is instantly transmitted back home. The value of budget video conferencing solutions doesn’t stop at harassing children.

As more employees telecommute or work from remote locations, video conferencing reduces travel costs and maintains relationships with co-workers. Video allows for clearer communication and is more engaging than your average conference call.

Getting started with video conferencing is easy. Best of all, it isn’t expensive, difficult to deploy or hard to use. Follow these tips to get started with video conferencing:

You must have a camera to video conference
If your computer doesn’t have a camera, purchase a simple USB webcam. To keep things simple, start small and work your way up to enhanced features. Looking for an entry level webcam? Check out Logitech for entry level cams with echo-canceling technology. Prices range from $50 to $100.

Start with a simple one-to-one service
Begin with friendly faces and build your network out from there using Windows Live Messenger. Start by conferencing with friends and family to get comfortable with the experience and to work out any glitches before expanding to business contacts.

Move into multi-user video conferencing solutions
For greater impact and rewards, multi-user video conferencing such as ooVoo allows up to three users to communicate via video simultaneously and at no charge. More users are able participate for a small fee. SightSpeed and Yugma also offer value priced multi-user video conferencing solutions.

The closest we can get to teleportation, video conferencing deserves business consideration. Until next time, hope to see you around …


Bill Sheridan