i am a long-time avid technologist. i began my tech career in the Apple world but moved to Enterprise Solutions later.
what should I use to connect to a web meeting?
In the land of meetings, video connections are the top. Yes, the world of video has evolved, and in many cases, it has increased overall. Video, as part of a meeting, is nothing new. But for many people, it isn’t something that most people do or have done. But the rise of the many government-issued stay at home orders changed that.
First, let’s talk about what a video conference represents. Usually, the lower the bandwidth you have available, the less you should use video. I will give some explicit examples below, and we will go through them in some depth.
- Your cell phone connected via 4g
- Your cell phone connected via 5g
- Your cell phone connected via Wifi
- Your Tablet connected by 4g
- Your Tablet connected via 5g
- Your Tablet connected via Wifi
- Your laptop connected via 4g/5g
- Your computer connected by Wifi or ethernet
Let’s make this fun and use the old movie title “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” as the basis for the conversation by device type.
Cellphone, the good the bad and the ugly
You are free. Yes, free to wander anywhere you need to be. You can do a video conference call anywhere you can stand, sit, or relax. On a beach near Montego Bay, no problem, connect and start the call. The cellular phone supports the concept of anytime video calls!
The bandwidth is critical for video conference calls. The video connection takes more bandwidth than Audio. Based on that, the camera (front-facing) in your cell phone isn’t as good as the camera that is on the other side. You switch the screen so that the screen faces away from you, to use the better camera, but then, you can’t see the other people in the call.
Cell phones have smaller processors, which means that depending on the connection, the number of video streams, and the pheon type, you can see call degradation very quickly. The short answer is that if you process inbound and outbound video, it takes more processing than simply outbound video. A one of one video conversation doesn’t impact the cell phone as much as a video conference does. Video calls drain batteries, so there is a considerable impact on your cell phone battery!
Tablets, the good, the bad and the ugly!
Tablets have more processing power than cell phones do. That is important because a tablet also has more screen space, so video meetings with a tablet are not as frustrating. Because there is more power in the processor, the Tablet is better able to process the inbound and outbound video.
Tablets honestly are portable but not as compact as a cell phone. They have more battery life than a cell phone does, but that also tends to be not as much when you start doing video conference calls. An iPad that lasts two or three days will see that battery life decrease exponentially with every single video call held during a day.
It is pretty awkward to hold the Tablet, keep it focused on your face, and watch the screen while standing up, so in the end; you are limited to sitting down. A tablet held in front of you for a couple of hours is a great workout, but not recommended!
Laptop, The Good, The Bad and the Ugly!
More processing power for calls and memory makes the video conference call easier. The other thing about laptops is that while many web meeting systems have cellular and Tablet versions of their software, most of the web meeting solutions deployed initially on laptops and desktops.
As heavy as a tablet is, the laptop is heavier. Sitting or having the laptop on a table or counter is often required. Again it is a great workout to hold your laptop in front of you, but it is also awkward. The other consideration is the battery, like Tablets and Cell phones. Your laptop will chew up your overall battery life on web meetings.
Laptops are bulky; not all of them have built-in cameras for web meetings. Not all of them have built-in 4g or 5g connections. Laptops when moving around town are not always on. That can delay your attending a meeting.
But where does that leave me, I have a meeting in 5 minutes?
In conclusion, I am not recommending you run away from these meetings. I recommend considering where you are. I use my cellular phone to connect to web meetings all the time; I use my Tablet to join as well. I consider in both of those cases not always sharing my video. Sometimes I have the camera on at the beginning so everyone can see my bright shining face. With laptops, I have found that dedicated conferencing hardware (a standalone camera/speaker combination) works best for me. But I would love to hear from the rest of you which do you prefer for video calls?
My preference is laptop and external camera/speaker.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 DocAndersen