Plug and Play Options for Zooming Like a Pro
By Jim Harris
In December 2019, Zoom had 10 million daily users. In the second quarter (April, May and June) of 2020, Zoom’s app was downloaded 300 million times: 94 million from Apple’s App Store (shattering the previous record of 50 million downloads for a non- gaming application) and more than 200 million times from Google Play.
During the pandemic, Zoom has become the go-to video conferencing service – downloaded at six times the rate of any other competitor:
Source: Apptopia and Bloomberg
According to Gartner 54% of leaders say that poor technology and/or infrastructure for remote working is the biggest barrier to effective remote working in their organization.
Given how much people are zooming from home for work, how can you easily create professional setup?
Companies like Google, Spotify and Twitter are giving employees a $1,000 budget to get an ergonomic chair and all the technology required to have a professional work from home setup up. As no one from the IT department can drop by to help you, what peripherals are easy to set up, high quality and easy to use?
The Logitech Brio 4K is amazing. Every Zoom call I’ve been on in the pandemic I’ve had the highest resolution video of anyone. The images are so crisp that you can read the titles of the books in the bookshelf behind me.
This USB cam is easy to set up. Most importantly the camera automatically adjusts given the lighting. This is critical.
In the three months following the global lock down, Logitech sold as many peripherals as in all of 2019. The company has been ramping up production. If the Brio 4K is back ordered, it’s worth the wait.
Pro tip: plug you web cam directly into a USB 3.0 port rather than a USB splitter. Some web cameras need the fastest connection possible.
I’ve been using a Blue Yeti USB microphone for years, and I love it.
I’ve been testing Rode’s new NT-USB mini and it’s great. You can get it with a stand or an arm – with the arm you can look like a radio show host with a mike in front of your mouth. You can also plug your earphones into the back of the microphone via a mini jack.
Some microphones have an XLR plug and require a separate sound mixing board. Unless you’re a musician, audiophile or a radio show host, stick with a USB mike.
For years I’ve used a simple wired USB headset with a boom mike. For this column I’ve been testing Logitech’s Zone Wireless Plus which has noise cancellation and is so comfortable that my ears don’t hurt after wearing them all day. It also uses unifying dongle that connects all Bluetooth Logitech devices using only a single on USB port.
Have light in front of you not behind you. In other words, don’t sit with your back to a window. Sit facing a window with your computer and the web cam in front of
Think about a backdrop that looks professional. Put three Ikea Billy bookcases a foot behind your chair and stuff them with your favorite business books. It’ll looks great.
If you’re in sales or really want to impress clients put a monitor in the bookcase hooked up to an old laptop or computer and display your client’s logo on it. Set the monitor to the lowest brightness.
Unless you have a perfectly evenly-lit green screen behind you, forget the virtual backgrounds that Zoom offers. I’ve watched so many people on Zoom have parts of their body or head disappear during a call – magically blurring into the background – only to re-appear a minute later. It’s unnerving and looks unprofessional.
The consequences of the pandemic are going to continue far longer than many people realize. Google has told its employees not to expect coming back to work until July 2021 at the earliest. And Dell Computers has said that half of its 165,000 employees will never come back to work – instead they will be working from home.
If you want to read more this column will be expanded online to a 2,000 word analysis.
Jim Harris is the author of the Blindsided which focuses on disruptive innovation. It is published in 80 countries worldwide and is a #1 international bestseller. You can follow him on Twitter @JimHarris or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org