Summary: Technology keeps improving the videoconference experience
Original author and publication date: Emily Dreyfuss – August 9, 2020
Futurizonte Editor’s Note: Live makes technology obsolete and technology makes live obsolete
From the article:
It’s 2022, but who’s counting? Since losing my job during the COVID-19 pandemic, I’ve been a freelancer working from home near City College of San Francisco. Today I have three meetings. It’s one of the staggered schedule days when my 6-year-old has “real” school at Commodore Sloat and then a music lesson, and the 2½-year-old is home from preschool with a sniffle (he’s not that sick, but these days schools won’t let parents send kids in with even a runny nose).
My husband, Seth Shipman, has to mentor biology students at the Gladstone Institute in Mission Bay. A rotating cast of grandparents is on tap to help babysit, and we’re having dinner and seeing a play tonight with friends.Mostly, none of us will be leaving the house.The kitchen Facebook Portal chimes. The little one runs in and answers it. “Hi Gramma!” My in-laws read an interactive book to the kids from their Portal in Massachusetts, the augmented reality distorting their faces and voices to the children’s delight. We got the Portal during the pandemic, and it quickly became a lifeline to connect the spread-out family.
After the first five months of sheltering at home, when it was clear that social distancing would become a long-term part of our lives, I reached out to a bunch of technologists for advice on how to upgrade our home setup, and what to expect in the months, which turned into years, ahead.
We ended up buying two more Portals, and a slew of peripherals, since Stanford computer science Professor Keith Winstein said that some simple and inexpensive new gear would drastically improve the quality of most of our video meetings.
Two years later, the major videoconferring software has gotten a little bit better. Many of the improvements happened in the first six months of the pandemic — nothing juices innovation like a crisis. Bandwidth issues remain, but we’ve learned tricks to deal with them.
Mostly, video just feels normal.