As challenges arise in the workplace, technological innovation is never more than a half-step behind. With such a rapid pace of change in today's modern business environment, there is no shortage of new business challenges, either.

According to the New York Times, a 2017 Gallup poll found that 43% of American workers had worked remotely at some point during the year. Businesses may realize certain benefits from the trend of remote office workers, but on the other hand, organizations are faced with a connectivity problem unlike never before.

For example, how can a hybrid team conduct normal business operations when it is required to facilitate a meeting with multiple offices and remote employees? In our 2019 State of Video Conferencing report, we found that 96% of respondents agreed that video conferencing was effective for improving the connectedness of remote workers. As beneficial as video conferencing is, it can come with some challenges.

The most common issues that our respondents reported were starting meetings, booking conference rooms for meetings, and difficulty in seeing the room among remote participants. We know video conferencing is effective, but it can be challenging if it takes around ten minutes to start up your average meeting. One way to solve this is through selecting the right video conferencing camera.

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Not all cameras and technologies are the same, however, so here is a guide to understanding which features present the best options for a video conferencing camera.

1. Resolution

Product developer Dan is unveiling his team's latest product release to managers across multiple office locations, but his entire audience is not able to attend the live demo. Rather than presenting grainy footage of the shiny new product, Dan's teammates are equipped with a 720-pixel resolution video conferencing camera.

This provides the minimum resolution for a high-definition presentation resolution to show off his product in a new light. While 1080p or better could give an even sharper image, 720p is common for a video conferencing camera. The Meeting Owl Pro provides video with 1080p resolution to fit your video conferencing needs.
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2. 360° Functionality

Dan believes that all coworkers should have a place at the table when it comes to business. He wants every member of the team who helped create his new product to be able to chime in and be heard during the live demo.

Instead of lamenting that his team can't fit in front of the same camera while fitting the product in view, Dan once again relies on his capable video conferencing camera. The complete panorama views from all angles will allow his entire team, the product, and Dan to be in view for all remote participants.

This feature allows a culture where no one's presence is excluded, team members don't have to move and fidget the camera to be in view, and meetings are more productive. You'll experience the most natural meeting setting besides all getting into a room together.

3. Wide Angle Lens

Dan also doesn't want his presentation footage to chop off half of the video screen so that no one can discern who or what is going on. A wide-angle lens will provide the ability to capture an even better viewing angle for remote meeting participants. Narrow angle lenses typically only allow for 2-3 team members to comfortably fit in view...if they are squeezed next to each other on the same side of the table. A wide angle lens will allow for more team members to fit in without having to cram side-by-side.

4. Highlight Active Participants

Sometimes, being able to clearly see all the faces in a meeting is not enough. Dan's demo generated a lot of interest about his product and he can't tell if the question came from Linda or Emma, who are both in another office. To whom should he address his response?

With a camera that can automatically highlight active participants, Dan can avoid the choppy back-and-forth of trying to figure out who to reply to. By integrating with microphones to isolate the sound of an active speaker, the camera will adjust to seamlessly zoom in on the active speaker.

Many video conferencing software systems will even have an additional window screen to display the active speaker. This creates a remote meeting experience that is much closer to real conversations, and less interruptive than other video conferencing technology.

5. Full Visual of the Room

Many challenges remote video conference stem from unintentional behaviors that tend to affect remote participants outside of the main physical location. For example, Dan's meeting room has additional diagrams and notes to assist his presentation. This allows all members, including remote participants, to see the whiteboard and feel engaged instead of ignored.

While not intended for its primary use, many video cameras such as the Meeting Owl Pro can still display a whiteboard if the camera is placed within six feet. Using dark and legible writing and activating features such as Camera Lock on the Meeting Owl Mobile App will help capture a stable image of important meeting notes and diagrams for all remote participants.

6. All-in-One Video, Audio, and Speakers

A universal conferencing system that combines video, audio, and speakers can be a lifesaver, particularly for the meeting organizer or host. Dan is thankful that he had more time to spend preparing for his presentation than testing last-minute audio, video, and speaker settings at the last minute. Requiring setup for video and audio adds unnecessary time to meetings, and surprise software downloads can take 10-20 minutes that you may not have prepared for. Look for a video conference camera that is "plug and play," meaning that the tech will work within seconds of plugging in.

The Meeting Owl Pro has a 360° tri-speaker setup that provides enhanced audio for the whole room. No matter where you sit, you can make sure that you'll be able to hear everything without any muffled sounds.

7. Price

There are many products in the video conferencing market, and every organization strives to make the best investments for employees. Price is a major decision point for any purchase decision.

Luckily, a reliable video conferencing camera equipped with all essential features does not need to cost more than $1,000. While this price tag is no small sum, it also won't break the bank for most organizations.

For more help on how to ensure that your meeting rooms, huddle rooms, conference rooms, or whatever your organization uses can maximize efficiency and minimize frustration, use this tool to create the ultimate video conferencing setup.

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