With Team Workspace video chat, you can have real-time audio and/or video chat with up to 9 participants at the same time. In addition, each participant has complete control over their own audio and video -- that is, they can turn either on or off as needed and they can manage the microphone and speakers that are used. Participants can also mute others, so if someone is in a noisy environment and they forget to mute their microphone, each participant can mute that person themselves.
NOTE: In order to use Team Workspaces your SmarterMail installation MUST be secured with an SSL certificate. This is because the audio, video, and live chat connection require HTTPS connections in order to work properly and securely.
Starting a Video Chat
Starting a video chat is extremely simple. All you need to do is enter a Workspace and click on the Join Video Chat button.
Once you enter the room, you'll see your own audio/video feed as well as the video feed of other participants. As more people join their feeds will also display. If someone turns off their camera, you'll see a blank box with a monogram in the middle of the box, so you know who that's supposed to be.
From training sessions to document collaboration, Screen Sharing opens Team Workspaces up to be even more helpful and productive, enhancing the ability for people to communicate and work together. With Screen Sharing, users are able to share the following:
- Your Entire Screen - Users can opt to share their entire screen, regardless of how many applications are open. This allows them to switch between applications during a meeting. When they have multiple monitors, they can even select which monitor they want to share.
- Application Windows - If multiple applications are open, rather than sharing an entire screen, specific applications can be shared. This makes it easy to collaborate on office documents, troubleshoot code, review marketing material, and more.
- Specific Browser Tabs - Just as with applications, it's also possible to share a specific browser tab. So, while Team Workspaces is running in one tab, a separate one that is open to a website, online application, calendar, or more can be shared and worked on as a group.
To start sharing your screen during a Team Workspace:
- Join a Team Workspace
- In the toolbar at the top of the video chat, click on the Sharing icon
- Select the item/screen you want to share: an entire screen, an application or a browser tab.
- Generally, you will be taken to the screen you're sharing so you can interact with it during the Workspace meeting. It will have a light blue outline demonstrating what you're sharing. You can, however, go back to the Team Workspace and your shared screen will take the "focused" area of the Workspace. (I.e, be the largest screen displayed at the top of the Workspace.)
- When done, simply de-select the Sharing button in the Team Workspace. (Or, you may also receive a notification that you're sharing an item and can stop the share from within that notification.)
Participants have some control over the audio and video settings that are used. To modify those settings, simply click on the Settings icon. On the Video Settings card you'll be able to set:
- Webcam - You can set your vieo quality from High to Very Low. In cases where a participant is on a poor internet connection, or even using a cellular connection, the Low or Very Low settings may be preferred to help reduce bandwidth.
- Microphone - Team Workspaces will select a default microphone for you. However, if you want to change it to a headset mic or something else, you can do that here.
- Speakers - The default speaker set should be used by default, but if an external source is desired, it can be selected from the dropdown.
Troubleshooting and Status Indicators
From time to time, issues may arise when connecting to a Team Workspaces session. Common issues seen are an attendee seeing having a black video screen and/or an attendee's video showing a red or yellow connection status icon. When in a video chat, conection status indicators will appear if the connection to the attendee is spotty: a Red indicator means the connection is lost while a yellow indicator means the connection is unstable. Below are a few troubleshooting steps for attendees who are experiencing issues:
- First, and arguably the simplest, is to make sure the attendee has turned on their microphone and camera once they join the workspace. By default, both are turned off for attendees.
- It's possible that the attendee's browser is blocking their microphone and/or their video camera. Have the attendees double-check their browser settings to ensure the browser is allowing the use of the camera and/or microphone.
- Pop-up blockers and/or ad blockers can interfere with browser-based audio and video chat. Have the attendee add an exception to their ad blockers for your email domain, or at least temporarily allow the connection.
- If they're using any security software, such as Eset or Malwarebytes, these may need to be checked so that access to the camera and microphone aren't being blocked.
- If they have "turned on" both their mic and camera, but you still see a black screen for them, have them leave the Workspace, then rejoin. (Simply turning the video off, then back on my work as well.) The majority of the time this will re-negotiate the connection to the Workspace and clear up the issue.
- If possible, have the attendee clear their browser cache. This is useful if they've attended previous Workspace sessions and a recent update was applied to the SmarterMail server.
- Of course, network issues -- either on the organizer's end or the attendee's end -- will cause problems. Most times, having the attendee turn off their video and simply use voice communication can stabilize a connection.
- Finally, Team Workspaces DOES require the use of SSL. If your mail domain isn't secured with an SSL certificate, this will cause problems. In addition, using SSL for all of your websites, domains and sub-domains are becoming a standard.