How Do I Choose the Best Video Conferencing Phone?

Anna B. Smith

The best video conferencing phone provides fast visual video updates during phone conversations between multiple parties that allows users to chat in real time. More features are available to users who purchase this type of technology for land based telephone lines than for mobile. Land line conference systems can provide mounted cameras that pan to include multiple meeting attendees and visually track the voices of individual speakers. They can also link with other computer devices so that visual presentation aids may be included on the video screen during the meeting. A small number of mobile devices are capable of this technology, and require a high speed internet connection that can send large packets of visual data between two connected phones that are both equipped with this feature.

Group of businesspeople in a video conference.
Group of businesspeople in a video conference.

A video conferencing phone allows users to chat face to face in real time through the use of specially equipped video cameras. These cameras interface directly with conference phones that are either mobile are hard wired to land based line networks. A high speed internet connection is also required, either wired or wireless, that allows second by second video updates and voice relay.

Some tablets can be used to participate in a video conferencing session.
Some tablets can be used to participate in a video conferencing session.

The cameras that will be used to connect all parties involved in the conference call can be built directly into the phone, or can be stationary and positioned from a secondary vantage point. Individual phone mounted cameras are more commonly used in private offices where only one person will be joining the conference call from a particular location. Offices and board rooms that will typically invite multiple members to sit in on a video conference should invest in a mounted camera that can view the entire room from a separate vantage point, and broadcast the sound from additional attenders clearly. This type of camera can be outfitted with voice tracking software that causes the camera to make small adjustments during the meeting to focus on the individuals speaking.

Users who typically include visual information during a meeting can benefit from purchasing a video conferencing phone with an embedded Internet connection. A remote laptop, computer, or memory drive can be attached directly to this type of phone base. During the video conference, the director of the meeting can toggle over to additional presentation materials, such as slide shows, worksheets, and photographs, that will be displayed on all connected monitors. When he is finished using these materials, he can easily toggle back to the live video feed.

Only a select number of mobile devices are capable of acting as a video conferencing phone. This type of cellular device is typically flat with two cameras built into either side of the phone. One camera faces outward from the back of the phone, while relaying the images to the main screen that faces the user, and is intended for standard point and shoot photography and the capture of short videos. The other camera is hidden above the main screen, facing the user, and sends images back to any secondary device to which it is connected through a conference call that is also capable of real time video relay. In this way, the user can see through his main screen the second party to which he is speaking, and she can similarly see him.

Shoppers interested in purchasing a mobile video conferencing phone should begin by checking with their cellular carrier to find out which phones are capable of this feature. They may also benefit from inquiring whether they are located in a mobile phone network that can handle the large amount of data transfers required to facilitate this type of call. A typical phone conversation uses only limited bandwidth to connect two parties. Adding a visual component requires that large packets of data be streamed between two devices at extremely fast speeds, to avoid video delays that can often negate the effectiveness of video conferencing. Finally, shoppers can select the phone with the highest camera megapixel resolution to guarantee the images of themselves they transmit during a call are clear, sharp, and colorful.

A mounted camera that can view the entire room is important when video conferencing from a board room.
A mounted camera that can view the entire room is important when video conferencing from a board room.

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