HOME ARCHITECTS ® have included another exciting communication method on their new website format: FREE video conferencing with their clients through Skype. All you need to do is to phone or e-mail the firm and ask about scheduling a video conference. This is a convenience offered to the company’s client, entirely free of any charges.
Why Video Calling
Why has this architectural company done this? Well, a few days ago, the firm conducted their first video conference. One of the people was a new client who is a doctor at Duke University Medical Center. Another was his spouse, at their home, and the 3rd was Rand Soellner, Architect, in his office, about 300 miles away. The doctor was in his scrubs, in the middle of a busy schedule. No one could have possibly allowed the time and effort required to have an in-person meeting at this point. Which means: video conferencing is actually MORE convenient that actual in-person meetings. No one seems to have the time these days.
Ability to Share Files
The new clients wanted to talk with the architect and find out more about the design process, the bidding of the design and the construction. Not simple things to explain in a brief call. However, during the video conference, all three people were able to see each other and even exchange documents through their computers. Rand Soellner pointed to a document on his website: “Client Centered Architectural Design Process” that explains the process in detail in a free whitepaper. The clients downloaded the document while still on-screen and then everyone was able to see this document, as they scrolled through it, while still all seeing each other in realtime, on their monitors. In only a minute or so, the Architect was able to cover the highlights of the process and the clients had the document, to review at their leisure, later.
Also, people like to obtain a sense of whom they are working with and a disembodied voice on a phone doesn’t give much input in that regard. Much better to see each other. Also, when conducting a group phone call, you cannot always tell who is speaking. Some people’s voices can sound similar and reception can be garbled from time to time. So: video conferencing improves this greatly because you can see everyone who is participating on the call.
The Skype signal, delivered over the computers was perfect. No distortion, and everyone had HD webcams, so the images of each other were crystal clear. And one of the best features: Skype is free, to anyone, anywhere. One of the parties must have Skype Premium, in order to allow multiple video conferencing with more than 2 people. Soellner’s company has Skype Premium (which requires a modest yearly charge), so none of his clients need spend anything when wishing to have a multiple person video conference with his firm.
How to have a multiple person video conference on Skype with the Architect
Up to 10 people can be simultaneously connected. The key to smooth Skype teleconferencing is to follow these simple steps:
1. Download Skype. Go on the Skype website and do this. Only accept free options, unless you, yourself, wish to originate multiple-person video calling. You will be prompted to enter a Skype Name for yourself. Make it simple, but unique, so that you can remember it, but others aren’t likely to have claimed it for themselves. Skype will tell you if the name you want is available. Keep trying until you have your unique Skype Name.
2. E-mail those people with whom you wish to have teleconferencing, and obtain their Skype Names. If they haven’t already done it, ask them to download and set up their free Skype accounts and then e-mail you their Skype Names.
3. Send your Skype name to those with whom you wish to have teleconferencing. In this particular case, e-mail your Skype Name to Rand@HomeArchitects.com so that he can indicate you as a Skype Contact on his Skype Control Panel. Skype will recognize other people that have Skype accounts.
4. Then, when everyone is ready for the teleconference and have e-mailed each other as to when this will occur, the architectural firm will initiate the call, connecting everyone together. All you need to do at that point is to accept the incoming Skype video call. Then, everyone will be seeing and hearing each other and the architect will be able to call up his website and other documents on his monitor, which everyone else will be able to see. Very cool! You can’t do that on a telephone!
Contact Rand Soellner, AIA to begin discussing your project in this unique and exciting method. 1-828-269-9046 or:
Skype Name: HomeArchitects
What you need to Skype video calls
You will need to download the Skype free software from their website, as indicated above. You will also need a webcam and microphone. Many of today’s webcams feature built-in microphones. This architectural firm recently purchased a Logitech webcam from Bestbuy, for about $40. Their HD C5__ series. It has a built-in microphone and it all works perfectly. The webcam is plug and play. Super easy. Skype automatically detects the webcam and activates it when you accept an incoming signal.
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