Want to connect? Read here first
We quite often encounter difficulties during our GlueX videoconference meetings, particularly with audio, that render our communications inefficient, annoying and sometimes bring them to a virtual halt. Here are a few tips that everyone should employ to minimize disruptions and delay.
- Be prompt. Meetings should start very near the time advertised, meaning that equipment and software should be up and running by the meeting time, including audio/video checks. This may take anywhere from 5-15 minutes, so please account for this. Also, if your videoconference facility is used by other prior to our meeting, advertise the start time of the meeting as +15 min from the time you get occupation of the room if you are the organizer of the meeting.
- Use proper equipment (see hardware section below).
- Keep your mic muted at all times unless speaking.
- Be judicious in interrupting to ask a question. Connections often have a lag and this causes confusion. Hold off most of your questions until the end of the presentation, unless crucial clarification is needed.
- Be concise and economical in your comments/questions; please avoid excessive banter.
- Be courteous and collegial.
Use the right hardware
- Built-in PC/laptop mics and their speakers should NOT be used. Most headsets with build-in mic will do fine, particularly if they include echo cancellation.
- Echo cancellation is a must. Many of our troubles are due to echoes and mic feedback. When using EVO test your audio/video using their handy loopback feature (green U-turn arrow - see snapshot below). This is also a good time to check the gain to be sure you are not saturating your mic. The the audio level goes into the red while you are talking, adjust the transmit gain in the audio preferences.
- Polycom Site Selector Many GlueX groups have Polycom equipment and are unanimous on their excellent performance. These are superior devices and a good investment over time. Examples are the VSX 7000 and VSX 5000 models. There are newer models available as well.
- EVO recommended hardware For the more price conscious.
Software and clients
- EVO Collaboration Network This is the tool of choice for our GlueX videoconferences (and that of many nuclear and particle physics collaborations). We have posted detailed EVO instructions on our GlueX Communications wiki page. View the EVO TWiki for FAQ.
- Xmeeting A videoconferencing solution for Max OS X.