How can I do a video call

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First, what is a video call?

A video call is like a regular phone call, except you and the person you’re calling can see each other. Conversations go beyond what traditional voice calls can offer because of the video element. For this reason, video calling is used extensively—not just for keeping in touch with friends and relatives, but also for business.

Let’s answer some questions you probably have about video calling.

Computer screen showing a video call in progress

I’ve heard of a video chat and a video conference. How do they compare to a video call?

Video calling, video conferencing, and video chatting are three terms that are often used interchangeably. Sure, they’re similar. But there are slight distinctions between them in terms of usage and origin:

  • By the definition above, we can say that video call is a general term.
  • Video conference refers to an online meeting with a video element—just like “video call,” right? True. But given that the word “conference” evokes a more formal discussion, you’ll more likely hear “video conference” in a business environment.
    Often, video conferences are scheduled and involve multipoint interactions. That means they usually have three or more participants as opposed to one-on-one video calls.
  • Video chat is more fitting for video calls that are more casual in nature. It's usually done via consumer apps and involves one-on-one interactions. If you want to get in touch with friends and family members, you video chat with them.
    The term "video chat" originated from the practice of launching a video call from a chat service.

How do I make a video call?

What do I need to make a video call?

Unless you’re planning (and able) to build a meeting room intended solely for conducting conference calls, you don’t really need a sophisticated setup to do a video call.

Here are the must-haves:

  • Internet connection
  • Computer or smartphone 
  • Microphone and camera
  • Video calling app

So how does it all work?

Get a video calling solution that addresses your unique needs. Try to include a provider with a proven track record and years of experience, like RingCentral. But if you’re not yet ready to spend on the service, you can try free solutions.

Some small businesses use consumer apps to test the waters until they're ready to purchase an enterprise-level solution. All these platforms work differently; but for most of them, the process is pretty straightforward. Here’s a step-by-step example:

  1. Open the app on your computer or mobile device.
  2. Click/tap the call or chat button.
  3. Type the name of the contact you want to call.
  4. Click/tap the video calling button.

Does my phone have video calling?

Yes, it probably already has that functionality! There are consumer apps with video calling, like Facebook Messenger and Whatsapp, but for business, you could download a video calling app like RingCentral Video. The perk of something like RingCentral Video is that it’s anchored on a powerful unified communications platform, allowing you to host and join online meetings wherever you are, no matter what device you're using.

How do I receive a video call?

To receive a video call on a consumer app, you typically just have to tap “Answer” or “Accept” on your incoming call display. It’s a little different for a video conference in a business setting where you must first get an invite from the host. How do they do it?

  1. The host logs in to the video calling app.
  2. They can invite you in advance (through text or email) or do so during the call.

Be careful! You should only click on the meeting URL if you’re expecting a video call or you know the host. Clicking links in unsolicited emails or from senders you don’t know makes you vulnerable to cyber attacks. If you’re unsure, it’s best to call the host to double-check.

Video calling for business may look a little more complicated than video calling for consumer apps. (But as an informed business owner or a decision-maker, you probably know it’s business apps all the way.)

Computer screen showing the faces of video conferencing participants

Key benefits of business-focused video calling apps

Business-focused apps take video calling to a whole new level with added features, flexibility, and analytics that you don’t get with Facebook and Whatsapp. So, what exactly are you missing when you use consumer-level software for business?

Enterprise-grade security

When you’re looking for a video calling solution, security should be one of your top concerns. You need to be sure all calls are encrypted, so you can have peace of mind discussing delicate business matters

Get an app that offers enterprise-grade security, so your conversations remain private no matter what device you’re using.

High-definition voice and video quality

How many times have you been on a video call that gets disrupted by technical issues? The audio and video may not be in sync or simply aren’t clear enough to bring an in-person feel to your online meetings.

Imagine this happening when you're talking to an irate customer or when you're training new employees. That’s not good at all. With a reliable conferencing service (like RingCentral Video!), there’s little to no chance of you experiencing any of that.

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Seamless system integrations

Go for a solution that integrates well with the business tools that your company is already using. When you have tools that integrate with each other, it reduces the chances of your employees having to deal with manual and repetitive tasks (which are also more prone to errors).

Ease of use

Your video calling app must be naturally intuitive to make onboarding easy. With a little time, your staff should be able to navigate it without having to consult lengthy manuals, FAQs, or your IT department.

Much better reliability

One of the reasons why trusted providers are so trusted (and may cost a little more) is because they help you avoid dips in productivity caused by downtime. For example, RingCentral is an option that offers a high-availability infrastructure—that’s 99.999% of uptime, meaning the service is only down for a few minutes each year. This ensures business continuity no matter the situation.

Needless to say, the more reliable a video calling platform is, the less likely you'll need to file support tickets for your IT to address.

Powerful analytics

If there’s one video calling feature that brings digital meetings a step closer to or even better than in-person meetings, it’s having access to data and analytics. A powerful analytics suite lets you monitor call quality, track the amount of time spent on meetings, and access live reporting to help you make informed decisions.

Note: Many providers offer a free trial. Try to find a service that offers the full experience on a trial period (no locked features or limits).

Video calling host controls

When you do a video call for the purpose of facilitating a meeting, you should get exclusive host controls. You’ll be able to manage features and functions in the meeting, and have a more efficient discussion. Here are some common tools that come in handy for helping you achieve that goal.

Control
When to use it

Mute/unmute microphone

Use the mute button to eliminate background noise when a meeting is ongoing. Use the unmute button to allow the other participants to speak. You can also enable them to unmute their microphone.

Turn on/off camera

Use these controls to turn your camera on or off.

Record meeting

Use it to record the meeting. You can pause and resume as needed anytime during the call. But before you hit that button, remember it’s always good practice to warn participants that a meeting is being recorded.

Search

Use it when looking for specific participants in an ongoing meeting.

Show/hide participants

Use these controls to view all participants and manage their roles during the meeting.

Open/close chat

Use open chat to enable instant messaging and send a message to all or any of the participants. You may also disable it anytime during the meeting.

Prevent new participants from joining the meeting

Use it to lock the call, essentially preventing new participants from joining the meeting. Simply unlock it to allow them to join.

Assign moderator role

Use it to assign a moderator role to a specific participant. The participant will then be granted host controls.

Hang up

Use it to disconnect a participant from the video call.

Control

Mute/unmute microphone

When to use it

Use the mute button to eliminate background noise when a meeting is ongoing. Use the unmute button to allow the other participants to speak. You can also enable them to unmute their microphone.

Control

Turn on/off camera

When to use it

Use these controls to turn your camera on or off.

Control

Record meeting

When to use it

Use it to record the meeting. You can pause and resume as needed anytime during the call. But before you hit that button, remember it’s always good practice to warn participants that a meeting is being recorded.

Control

Search

When to use it

Use it when looking for specific participants in an ongoing meeting.

Control

Show/hide participants

When to use it

Use these controls to view all participants and manage their roles during the meeting.

Control

Open/close chat

When to use it

Use open chat to enable instant messaging and send a message to all or any of the participants. You may also disable it anytime during the meeting.

Control

Prevent new participants from joining the meeting

When to use it

Use it to lock the call, essentially preventing new participants from joining the meeting. Simply unlock it to allow them to join.

Control

Assign moderator role

When to use it

Use it to assign a moderator role to a specific participant. The participant will then be granted host controls.

Control

Hang up

When to use it

Use it to disconnect a participant from the video call.

Maintaining control of the discussion is the key to achieving your meeting objectives. You have to make sure you’re practicing good etiquette and effectively engaging everyone on the video call. This way, you’re able to keep strong, collaborative connections from start to end.

Video calling makes communication and collaboration easier, especially for companies with multiple offices and dispersed employees. Or, just about any organization that conducts online meetings on a regular basis. Are you ready to reap its benefits?

Reach out to our sales team or fill out the form at the top of this page. To get a better feel for how video calling works, click the button below. 👇
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