After reading our article that reviewed the Logitech Group hardware for video conferencing, someone asked how to send content to two screens. We've gotten this question before. I promised to post an explanation, along with photos. Here's how it's done:
1) Logitech group is "software agnostic"
The Logitech hardware (and perhaps other hardware systems, too) actually have nothing to do with how screens are shared. That functionality is handled by whatever software you use to power your video conference. In this sense, the hardware is "software" agnostic. If you have any video conferencing program that works on your computer, it will work with Logitech.
Think of Logitech's hardware as the eyes and ears of your computer system. You've essentially replaced a tiny webcam with an HD, optically zoomable camera. Your computer's microphone (if it even had one) is replaced with a fantastic noise-canceling, very clear mic and speaker.
This hardware is then used by your software to see, listen to, and play the audio from your meeting. In our case, we use Office@Hand Meetings. (Note that you have to have a paid account to use it for meetings, or be invited to a meeting by someone who has an account.) It allows for two windows to run at the same time - whether or not you have two monitors or screens.
2) Use one TV for the full-screen video feed
We've found the video conferencing experience feels most natural when you can fill one of your screens with the video feed from your meeting counterparts. When you can see them in HD, across a 55- or 60-inch screen, it almost feels like you're right there with them!
This is what it looks like if you expand the video to full-screen on both TV's. On the right is your view of the place you are conferencing with. On the left is what your counterpart is seeing. But here's a tip for you. We've found that when you can see yourself on one of the screens, it's distracting. You pay too much attention to how you look onscreen. And ironically, that makes you look less natural. So when we're in one of these meetings we don't have our own image on either screen. Not even as a thumbnail.
Instead, we use the second screen to share content. We've found two ways to do it.
3) Share content on the second screen directly
The first is that Office@Hand Meetings or Skype for Business allows us to share a screen directly with whoever we're conferencing with. So we (or they) can share a PowerPoint, website, or whatever, and also keep the video feed running. And yes, we can maximize that shared screen in one of our TV's.
Before we bought the hardware, I tested this out at home on my laptop. I hooked it up to my TV with an HDMI cable and started a video meeting. When I was at home testing it, I confirmed that I could drag a shared program window over to the other screen and keep the video feed on my main screen. (Or vice versa.)
You might try the same little test, if to be sure for yourself.
4) Share content on the second screen with OneNote
The other way is one we can only use internally with fellow IHT emploeyes. We've set up our conference computers with an installation of Microsoft OneNote. (We are big OneNote fans!) And one awesome feature of OneNote is that multiple people can open and edit a page at the same time.
So for our own meetings, we'll often use the second screen to open a local copy of a shared OneNote Notebook in each location. We maximize it on one of the two TV's.
Then we either share OneNote pages that have been prepared in advance (such as an agenda, or some figures to consider), or we'll type notes during the meeting. The people on the other end see those notes on their screen within 15 seconds or so. Here's what that looks like:
One advantage to this method is that because our video conferencing software doesn't have to "broadcast" this entire screen, it leaves more bandwidth available for our video feeds.
Meeting participants using Surface or Android tablets can write or highlight on in OneNote, which everyone sees shortly thereafter, too.
This is an easy way to share a meeting agenda, or real-time notes or meeting minutes. People on both ends can see and edit it, and everyone has access to the content afterward.
This is the method we almost always use.
We're always looking for better ways to get things done. How do YOU make the most of your video meetings? Please share your comments below.
Happy video conferencing!
IHT is a multi-state insurance agency with dozens of branches across the eastern and central United States.