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Discussion Starter #1
Many of us have been doing these of late. While you’ve been able to do them for ages, not being able to see folks due to lockdown has meant (understandably) that we want to see people.

but are they good, useful or more productive than a normal audio conf call?

to be honest, I don’t like them. Sometimes on a voice call, I want to yawn. Not because I’m bored, but because I’m a bit sleepy. Sometimes on a voice call, I want to stare out of the window; again, not because I’m bored, but staring at one thing can help me concentrate on what I’m hearing; on a vid call, your eyes flitter between all the participants and you get wrapped up over the optics over the content. You feel like you’re under scrutiny: ‘are you paying attention?’, when the irony is I’d be paying more attention if I could stare out of the window while listening on an audio call.

On an audio call, I want to scribble notes. To hunch down and away from the camera on a vid call seems rude.

Sometimes, on an audio call, someone is talking about something that doesn’t matter to you, so you can spend ten mins doing email; on a vid call, you’re kinda obligated to watch and listen. I know you can turn your camera off, but then what does that say?

maybe I can’t process visual and audio at the same time. What are your thoughts, experiences? Will it become the norm?
 

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Age.

Video conferences, face to face meetings and phone conferences are three different things. Each requires you to adjust your behaviour; you have to get used to them or they can be pretty awful.

Yoof is already used to Whatsapp video meetings on a wobbly hand held phone. Old fogeys will struggle to adapt, if they, er I mean we, ever do.
 

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The biggest problem with video calls is the terrible audio (plus all of the other stuff you wrote about).

I had to arrange a telephone conversation with somebody the other day. I suggested a plain old telephone call. The other party wanted video. I agreed, but explained that I preferred audio only because I cared about the quality of the call and I wanted to ensure we were able to hear and understand each other, but I'm game for whatever they wanted.

Well, we video called, and after about three minutes, the other person, frustrated by the lag and the stutter, said "let's hang up and take this to the phone" so that's exactly what we did, and had a really great, productive and userful conversation.
 

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I think it’s that classic case of confusing new with good. We have a perfectly good and clear phone line. But, hey, never mind that or how good it is! now we can wave at each other and show ‘hysterical’ backgrounds (oh! Hawaii!) and szzz, zzzhh, chzzz... what was that? You just froze. Say it again?

Why don’t we just use the tools that work?
 

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Short and sweet.....detest them like a sickness.
Will only join them if I have too.....not only that I hate seeing my ugly mug too.
I am no oil painting.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Just to Chuck this into the mix...

I speak to the ‘rents three times a week. On one call, we FaceTime. First week was great, having not seen them for ages. Now... hmm, visually we are linked, but conversationally those calls are more... stilted then the voice calls. Strange dynamic.
 

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Im a Business Development Manager so I think this is the future, for now anyway. My trade is pressing the flesh however before the full lockdown i had a few Teams meetings with new clients. I was able to go through my powerpoints and make it more interesting by adding in videos, pics etc.

I much prefer face to face and building that relationship as you can sense a room etc. However, I think for job security I need to nail the online meeting. Working on it :)
 

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For presentations, webinars, etc. they're a useful tool. But then with a lot of those it's one person speaking at once and not a lot of back and forth discussion (at least for the main part). Like a lot of things, they're a useful tool, but not every situation needs the same hammer. Sometimes a screwdriver is the best option.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
For presentations, webinars, etc. they're a useful tool. But then with a lot of those it's one person speaking at once and not a lot of back and forth discussion (at least for the main part). Like a lot of things, they're a useful tool, but not every situation needs the same hammer. Sometimes a screwdriver is the best option.
I agree with you, Tor.
 

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We do a lot of teleconferences in our business. It predates COVID, but our management suddenly started really pushing for people to use their cameras a few months back. Apparently it would make our calls more personal and make our clients feel like we were more connected. All our internal meetings started have the managers shown on video as they spoke to us earnestly.

Apparently if we weren't going to video call we should explain to the client why not and apologise.

I have not complied, and I don't know of anyone else client facing who has. What a waste of time. And the client isn't sitting there expecting it either.

It was amusing watching them all unconcsiously touching their faces while advising us not to touch our faces when COVID did appear though.
 

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Video calls in a properly lit and scaled suite are fine. I've done loads, it's like being with someone on the other side of the table. They need oodles of low latency bandwidth, proper lighting, proper cameras and proper screens. Everyone witters on about bandwidth, but it is latency that kills a video call. 100 Mbit at 100 ms will result in a **** call. 10 Mbit at 5 ms will be perfect.

It's interesting to see the development - when this started, everyone put video on to be more sociable - everyone has turned it off now and gone back to voice.

One on one - works perfectly
Presentation with questions - works perfectly
Normal meetings where everyone is arguing and drawing on whiteboards - utterly useless.

Most of my work is "normal meetings....". One positive result is that the usual practice of listening to some half wit blathering on out of politeness has gone. A small group of us come to the conclusion we need, and we've binned the meetings.
 

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I think RXE touches on an interesting point. The nature of video means that calls need discipline; someone to lead, steer through the agenda, stop some plank from bleating on, then wrap up. And no more than 30 mins.

I guess other things that influence a vid call is what the call’s about. If it’s to fix a problem with people that are key to the problem and its fix, then that’s probably a different set of behaviours than, say, a weekly catch up call.
 

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We are operating very much with the video off because the network with several thousand more people working remotely than expected can't cope. To be honest I can live without it because, now that everyone is at home on laptops, it's just an opportunity to look up people's noses.

Teams has been incredibly useful in recent weeks because I've been working on the job retention scheme. Because it's so new and came about so quickly, there aren't many experts and we're down to odd eligibility scenarios. Having the chance to discuss via teams whilst on a call has been invaluable.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Interesting stuff and observations, folks. :)
 

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I can sum it up, for myself at least, with "whatever is appropriate". Whilst I taught physics as a main subject I also taught technology. One thing we looked at was 'appropriate technology' and as an example we compared an electric lemon squeezer with the glass one I had. Although the electric one turned the extractor nicely the dismantling afterwards to clean it was nowhere near as convenient as the glass example. An elaborate food-processor can be largely replaced with a well made sharp knife.
If any of the video based comms focus and reduce the number and duration of meetings I'd be all for them. I attended far too many meetings that could have had the content condensed onto a single side of A4 paper. Those that I chaired I gave each speaker 3 minutes to get to the point.
 

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I can sum it up, for myself at least, with "whatever is appropriate". Whilst I taught physics as a main subject I also taught technology. One thing we looked at was 'appropriate technology' and as an example we compared an electric lemon squeezer with the glass one I had. Although the electric one turned the extractor nicely the dismantling afterwards to clean it was nowhere near as convenient as the glass example. An elaborate food-processor can be largely replaced with a well made sharp knife.
If any of the video based comms focus and reduce the number and duration of meetings I'd be all for them. I attended far too many meetings that could have had the content condensed onto a single side of A4 paper. Those that I chaired I gave each speaker 3 minutes to get to the point.
I like the lemon squeezer comparison. Good illustration of the point I suggested earlier about confusing new with good. 👍
 
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