If your video conferences consist of a bunch of talking heads in chat windows you need to start thinking more creatively. You need to start thinking multimedia.
Video calls are the most effective way to recreate an in-person, face-to-face meeting over distance, but there’s much more you can do in a virtual boardroom than just talk. Video hardware vendor Oblong, for instance, now lets you include up to ten shared streams across your group conferences. These streams can capture anything you can display on your screen: specific webpages, applications, documents, or presentations–anything you can dream up to enhance your video meeting is at your disposal.
Going even further, the company behind the Mezzanine video conference platform and its gesture-driven controls has recently released a new screencast app that better integrates Mac and PC content into your meetings.
The complete Oblong Mezzanine video conferencing experience doesn’t come cheap, but the immersive nature of its display and the possibilities for multimedia innovation should inspire you to think outside the chat window.
The Mezzanine App
Oblong gave the new Mezzanine Screencast app its first public outing at the world’s largest AV and systems integration show, ISE 2019 in Amsterdam. The early February convention was the perfect setting for an app that integrates personal devices–primarily laptops–into an existing video conferencing system.
The resulting unified setup allows callers to share content from their own devices within a larger meeting. As a bonus, the integration extends to the meeting and room controls as well, so users can personalize their presentations.
This idea of integrating the flexibility of the Bring-Your-Own-Device ethos with a permanent video conference setup isn’t new–video vendors Lifesize and Videxio have each recently produced agnostic applications that will perform the same trick while bridging the Mac/PC and video platform brand divide.
Mezzanine can accommodate up to ten simultaneous shared screens or streams.
What is interesting about Mezzanine’s new app is the sheer scale of content you can now share across this temporary unified system. Mezzanine can accommodate up to ten simultaneous shared screens or streams. That’s in addition to the number of group chat windows you may have on display.
It sounds like a potentially crowded overflow of visual information, but Oblong has made a name for itself by producing innovative displays and controls.
Oblong Mezzanine Video Conferencing with the Wave of a Wand
As VC Daily has previously noted, the hallmark of the Oblong Mezzanine series is its gesture-driven wand controls that let you seamlessly flip through the visual elements of a video call. If you are willing to pay a premium–the lower-level Mezzanine offering sneaks in under $50,000–the full Mezzanine immersion covers multiple HD screens for a total in-room experience. The wand is designed to let you highlight and manipulate content from any device across all these screens. It’s a Minority Report-type system of fluid movement that prioritizes human gestures and interaction over mouse clicks.
You can see it in action in the video below:
Using this design, it’s easy to access, display, and move between several different multimedia elements, making the “ten shared streams” feature seem a little less overkill. It’s also easy to understand why Mezzanine comes with several large flat screen displays to accommodate all that visual information.
The price point probably pushes the Mezzanine experience beyond the grasp of the average small-to-medium business, but the Hollywood special effects level of presentation should inspire you to start thinking more creatively about how to stage a video conference.
By now, you should be asking yourself what visual elements you could incorporate into your own meetings.
What Would You Do With Ten Live Streams?
You’d only buy into the Mezzanine product, and the accompanying Mezzanine Screencast app, if you had some grand ideas on how to make full use of it. You can start that process today.
Screen sharing has become a standard feature of video conferencing, even if it’s not generally on the scale of what Oblong is doing, and it’s one of the essential features of a modern video conferencing setup.
Whether you’re in a position to buy into Oblong’s futuristic displays or not, the company’s innovation makes it the perfect source of inspiration for more engaging meetings.
Here are some of the things we can share across a group video call right now:
Live Streams and Video: Anything you can broadcast from your computer screen can be shared across a video call. That means live streams from YouTube or Facebook, video from your desktop or a site like Vimeo, and internal or external vlogs. It’s a powerful way to spread or collaborate on company messaging and a welcome break from a series of talking heads.
Photos and Images: As with video, if you can see it on your screen you can show it to your fellow video callers. You can use photos or graphics to provide on-site imagery of unfolding projects, to discuss branding and event management materials, or to simply spice up a presentation.
PowerPoint and Slide Shows: It’s perfectly fine to head down the traditional presentation path of laying out accompanying graphics, charts, and bullet points along with your verbal communication; adding screen sharing just means you don’t have to don’t have to send out digital copies to attendees or focus a camera on an in-room display.
Alternate Reality Display: Augmented and virtual reality displays are becoming increasingly accessible to regular businesses and their workplaces, and their use in a video meeting offers an alternative to a static click-and-slide presentation. Sharing the content from a single source makes it easier to control and attendees can be guided by an expert rather than wandering off into virtual dead ends.
Content across Devices: This is what the Mezzanine Screencast app accomplishes, and it’s a handy tool for meetings with a BYOD bend. Rather than submit files and video to a central source before a meeting, you can simply share it from your own screen in real time. The creator of the content stays in control and there’s no security risk of USBs being misplaced or private content being shared.
Whether you’re in a position to buy into Oblong’s futuristic displays or not, the company’s innovation makes it the perfect source of inspiration for more engaging meetings. Remember, anything you can see on your computer screen can be shared in a group meeting–and if you’re creative, maybe you’ll find a reason to expand that presentation to include ten simultaneous streams.