Whether you need to have meetings interstate or overseas for work, or if you have family and friends which are a long distance away, being able to connect in a meaningful way is extremely important. For most, this means jumping on a plane to visit for face to face interactions. This is fantastic for those we’re meeting but it usually comes at the expense of those we leave behind.
A recent situation arose whereby I needed to travel to Singapore for a workshop. Colleagues from India and Australia were planning on meeting with other staff members in Singapore. This three day workshop was planned to the minute and had a full blown agenda. I absolutely love to travel, even back to places I’ve been before, but on this occasion I had something I didn’t want to leave behind, a heavily pregnant wife. The risk of being overseas and missing the birth of my first child was one I would regret forever, and hear about it on a daily basis. Work is important, but nothing is more important than family.
With some help from Logitech and through Australia’s newfound internet bandwidth on the NBN I was able to carry out a workshop in Singapore, led by me, from Sydney.
What we did was not overly complicated, nor expensive. I needed to feel as present as possible in that room in Singapore. 15 people might be in there for some of the sessions and we needed to ensure that it felt like 16 people were in the room. In the room in Singapore we used a large television connected to the Logitech MeetUp (RRP $1,399). It has a 120 degree field of view, a 4K sensor and while it has a remote control for those in the room who wanted to show me something, I was actually able to zoom and pan the camera from Sydney so I could see the whiteboard clearer, or a person presenting. The MeetUp also had an extension microphone which helped me hear those further from the camera unit.
On my end we upgraded from the built-in webcam on the laptop to the Logitech Brio (RRP $299). This unit has a 4K sensor with HDR which meant that as we carried through our workshop from daylight to night-time the image was always clear and high quality on their end.
The important part to remember here is that I was at home for the entire workshop. I was streaming video conversations seamlessly for up to eleven hours of the day. This was unheard of before I had the NBN connected and something I would have never considered. While the NBN cops a beating in the press, it is ultimately because of that infrastructure that I was able to be home and connected for this workshop.
While this is my story, there would be plenty of other opportunities to make use of our strong infrastructure, easily accessible software and camera/microphone technology. For many students studying abroad or those living in other countries, there is no reason why the same could not be applied to meeting between families or sharing an experience between two living rooms. Many are afraid of the use of this and there will be many that say nothing beats real face to face interaction, which is entirely true, but when it means it cannot occur as often and it means you’re leaving something or someone very important behind, then why not give it a try? Plus, do you really enjoy sitting in economy for over eight hours?