COVID-19 affects the economy, the workplace and the way to socialize with family and friends. Many are communicating during this time through video calling, which can connect many people at once with audio and video. More communicative than phone calls and currently more cautious than face-to-face meetings, video calling is becoming a critical way of maintaining business and personal relationships. To get started with video calling, all you need is some basic hardware for your computer or free software from your smartphone.
You may already own all the hardware needed for video calling. Modern laptops and cell phones already come with a built-in camera, microphone and speakers — all that you need to do the job. Otherwise, if you have a computer without these accessories, then you’ll need to purchase them.
The most important piece of hardware is a webcam, which contains a simple camera and microphone and connects by USB to your computer. Logitech makes several popular options, but any brand will do if it features HD video and a microphone. Because of current high demand, prices and availability are rapidly fluctuating. We recommend purchasing one of the bestsellers at Amazon, or Walmart, either in person or online. Be aware that shipping times are currently much slower than usual because of the pandemic.
Once you have the webcam, plug it into an open USB port on your computer and your operating system should recognize it after a few seconds.
You will also need computer speakers to hear the other participants if your computer isn’t loud enough already. Any computer speakers will do, so be sure to pick some up along with your new webcam if you don’t have them. For privacy and clarity, some people prefer to use headphones. You can purchase speakers and headphones on Amazon, Office Depot or Walmart as well.
If your team already uses a video communication platform, then download the same app from the web, app store or play store, and join the conversation from your phone on the go. Some of the most popular platforms we’ve seen lately include Zoom, Skype and Google Hangouts Meet. These apps and more are also available for iPhones in the App Store and Android phones in the Google Play Store.