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Videoconferencing on a Mobile Device is Easier Than You May Think

July 22, 2015

Reese's Peanut Butter Cups had a slogan back in the 1980s that declared the combined forces of chocolate and peanut butter contained therein to be “two great tastes that taste great together.” Videoconferencing and mobile devices are two such “tastes” that taste great together. Though some may think it an impossibility, a new report from Talk Business shows videoconferencing from a tablet or smartphone is actually much more doable than expected.

Videoconferencing has actually been around since before broadband, a development that made it a pretty expensive system that wasn't routinely used. But with new technology on bandwidth delivery like ISDN lines and the like, videoconferencing could be more widely put to use. Throw in new, highly-portable mobile devices, and the idea that the two would go together just made sense.

Indeed, videoconferencing on mobile devices could be as simple as finding the right software and some decent bandwidth. Finding the right videoconferencing software can be a bit difficult and requires some legwork to accomplish, but it can be done. Some look to FaceTime to handle such needs, particularly on Apple devices, but this may not always be the best solution since both sides of the conference may not have Apple devices. Other systems like Skype work great for smaller numbers, but may not be able to work quite so well with bigger conferences. There are currentlybig gains being made on the Web-based real time communications (WebRTC) front that should help here; the key point is that videoconferencing users working from mobile devices need the right software to match.

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There are other considerations to take into account, like the conditions of the conference itself. A coffee shop, for example, can be a great source of Wi-Fi bandwidth, but get a couple of other people in there and suddenly the conferencing user is trying to talk over other people talking in the same room. This both annoys the other people and leaves the user's own conference less than effective. Meanwhile, available bandwidth is also a consideration; 4G bandwidth is a good alternative, but may be limited depending on the specifics of one's mobile plan.

So to answer the main question's thrust, yes, it's absolutely possible to carry on a videoconference from a mobile device. But it isn't done as lightly as, say, sending a text message or an email; it has to be done with some due consideration made for the issues involved. The right software has to be selected, the right technology used—be it WebRTC or something else—and the right environment established so that maximum effect can be derived from the conference itself.

Every possible impediment hurts the overall value of the conference. Poor connection, too much ambient noise, or software malfunctions—no matter what the cause—the experience is moot if the other side can't hear what's said. Conferencing from a mobile device absolutely can be done, but it needs to be properly set up and properly run to get the most out of it.

Edited by Dominick Sorrentino

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