Building a Stronger Culture Through Better Video Conferencing
If anyone understands the importance of clear communication, it’s Tightrope Media Systems, a digital signage software company in Minneapolis, Minnesota. It’s their business, after all.
“At Tightrope, we have quite a few people who work remotely,” explained JJ Parker, CEO. “I want to ensure that our employees throughout the country feel connected – it’s really critical to building a cohesive culture.”
To that end, Tightrope uses a variety of collaboration tools, including live chat rooms, private messaging and video conferencing.
“Of all the tools we can employ, I’ve always felt that video is the best way to help people feel connected,” said Parker. “You get all the non-verbal communication that those other platforms really don’t allow for.”
But when it came to video conferencing, Tightrope had yet to find a solution that met its standards.
“We experimented with wide angle webcams, expensive webcams, cheaper webcams. They were all equally blurry and terrible-looking,” continued Parker. “Or one might produce a decent picture, but the angle wasn’t wide enough to capture everyone at the table, or it didn’t zoom in far enough.
“The mics weren’t much better. None of them could adequately pick up everyone’s voice from one location. We had to keep moving them around. It was frustrating and distracting.”
In Vaddio’s ConferenceSHOT AV PTZ Camera, Tightrope found what it had been missing in traditional webcam technology: a collaboration system with professional PTZ camera quality and full room, hands-free audio conferencing.
For Tightrope, video image quality is paramount. The ConferenceSHOT AV’s high-definition PTZ camera produces video that is crisp and clear. Its 10X optical zoom enables Tightrope to zoom in on whiteboards during meetings with confidence so that remote participants can read the detail clearly. Its wide, 74-degree field of view makes it easy to capture everyone at the conference table.
Poor sound was another pet peeve with Tightrope’s previous system. The ConferenceSHOT AV’s built-in audio conferencing mixer allowed for easy connection of two microphones plus a powerful, 20-watt speaker with clear, robust sound.
Tightrope chose Vaddio’s EasyMIC Table MicPOD, which easily picks up sound in a 360-degree radius and provides acoustic echo cancellation as well.
Tightrope began noticing the benefits of the ConferenceSHOT AV immediately.
“It was pain-free from the first time we used the system,” said Parker. “We use Zoom hardware as a communication tool, and the ConferenceSHOT recognized it right away. There was nothing to install. It just worked. And there’s no time wasted on fiddling with the equipment. It used to be that I would come to a meeting ten minutes early just to wrestle the technology and get the meeting set up. Now we walk in ten seconds before the meeting, hit go and it works flawlessly.”
Parker has been equally impressed with image quality of the ConferenceSHOT AV.
“The video quality of these cameras is unbelievable,” he said. “Even with the varied lighting in some of our rooms, the cameras perform really well. We can point it at our white boards and people on the other side can read it. We would never be able to do that with a consumer webcam.”
What Parker appreciates most about the ConferenceSHOT AV system is its ability to help him create and maintain the culture of connection that is so critical to employee satisfaction and performance.
“For the first time, everyone in the room could be heard by those participating remotely,” Parker said. “It was a break-through.”
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