Most of us have been on a lot of Zoom meetings lately. I’m rather lucky in that mine are mostly friends, and things that need to be seen (such as walking a coworker through open heart surgery at home.)
But something’s becoming more and more evident to me: you don’t need a video call for every meeting.
Netflix, Google, and many others have dropped quality in their streaming services to allow plenty of bandwidth for all these video conferences that never were before, because the net was not quite ready for the amount of bandwidth it was going to take as everyone and their dog suddenly had to stream video both in and out of their houses at the same time.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. A quick and admittedly limited analysis of several meetings tends to indicate that there’s not a lot of reason why most of these have to be video calls. It’s nice and all every now and then, but every video meeting tends to end up starring someone’s home, cat, kid, or background. Or someone dropping out.
In the times of social isolation it is nice to see people occasionally, but we’re at several weeks in and teleworkers need to get their telework on and not be waiting on someone’s microphone to unmute (Seriously Janet, month and a half lockdown at this point, learn!) or discussing for the eleventh time today some failing of the video conferencing software or trying to figure out why this one person can be seen but has to call in on a phone to be heard.
The fewer unnecessary video meetings people have, the better the ones that have to be video meetings are. And we’ve got meeting tech that works really well and doesn’t require you to take down all the posters you had on your wall as a kid. Just simple old conference calling.
Lower lag, if someone has a phone it works, your kids can be on Netflix while you’re in the meeting without causing you to sound like you’re in a blender.
Just something to think about – I feel that we do all need some team-building face to face and it is good to see people, but unless it’s a requirement, consider moving it off the net.
Zoom: 1-3Mbps per participant. (1000-3000Kbps)
Phone: 56-100Kbps over voip
If you do have to have face to face to face^x, unless you need it turn the HD off on your camera, and realize your baby otters virtual background is indeed awesome but probably not needed to hear Bob in accounting go over this month’s disaster report.
And when this is all over, go and hug a random coworker.