How Do I Schedule a Videoconference? Seven Helpful Tips
Behold, the Picturephone!
Developed in the 1960s, AT&T’s Picturephone was like something straight out of The Jetsons and was poised to lead the marketplace into a future filled with ultra-modern connectivity. People marveled in wonder at the device during the 1964 World’s Fair and likely thought they’d soon be chatting with grandma or sealing a business deal from their very own Picturephone. In reality, the product was wholly untenable, not because of any technological defect or cultural non-adoption but because AT&T would’ve needed to artificially adjust the price so low as to risk monopoly accusations due to their other lines of business. Despite AT&T’s best efforts the usership was deplorably small and by 1978 the Picturephone was completely scrapped, having cost AT&T and Bell Labs $500 million.
Do You Know How To Arrange a Videoconference?
In 2015, most of us look at the image above and chuckle at the expense of the person on the Picturephone. Given our vantage point and the benefit of history, the person looks ridiculous to us, like someone speaking into a shoe or the wrong side of a telephone. However, it’s interesting to note that even within the modern videoconference industry, a vast majority of clients do not have a particularly solid idea of what they’re doing.
In the legal profession—where videoconferenced depositions are a common way to cut down on time and travel costs—people scheduling these services often become understandably overwhelmed when trying to arrange a multi-point deposition. This is not their fault at all; frankly, even with all of our modern smartphone gadgets, it turns out that scheduling multiple locations at varying times and with varying numbers of attorneys, court reporters and witnesses…well that can be a real head scratcher. Add in time zone differences (a frequent occurrence given the travel cost savings) and you’ve got a real logic puzzle on your hands.
My suggestion is to use a managed services provider like Casamo & Associates that specializes in videoconferencing. They’ll be able to leverage partnerships with companies like Remote Counsel that aggregate vendors and offer additional tech support.
7 Tips for Your Next Videoconferenced Deposition
- Select a company that specializes in videoconferencing. That will ensure that someone is helping you coordinate all the relevant details.
- Have an idea about the general locations where the attorneys and deponents will be located. The managed services provider will help you find viable videoconference locations in those cities.
- If there are witnesses in different locations, try to determine roughly how long each person’s testimony is expected to take.
- Your videoconference will likely span multiple time zones. The managed services provider will help coordinate the relevant details, but try to have an idea regarding start and end times based on the estimated length of the deposition. Example: a five hour depo shouldn’t start at noon on the East Coast if there will be west coast participants.
- If there are international participants, mention this early on so the provider has time to research whether the country where they’re located observes a civil law or common law tradition. This has enormous effects on the ability of deponents to testify legally at all.
- If some of the participants will be joining by computer, they will need a computer with a webcam and speakers. An Ethernet connection is not necessary but it’s a little more trustworthy than WiFi.
- Lastly, know that if any of the participants get terribly delayed they’ll be able to participate from their smartphone. The Zoom app is free and fully compatible with most videoconference options.
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