This article provides advice on suitable cameras, microphones and speaker devices for use with telehealth.
Last Updated: Jan 2021
In this article we will focus on the desktop or laptop use of Coviu. You can use Coviu on a tablet or a phone from within a Web browser. We recommend Google Chrome for all devices except iPhone and iPad which require Safari.
Next, let's discuss computer setup.
A basic Coviu call works with standard Web video conferencing hardware such as a Webcam and computer speakers or headphones.
Since we are focused on the desktop or laptop use, the video and audio devices that are needed for a Coviu call either come built-in, or are USB or Bluetooth devices. We have found USB devices to work more efficiently than Bluetooth, since there is no need to go through a pairing process, but that’s just a personal preference - Bluetooth devices work just fine, too.
Desktop computer or Laptop?
All modern laptops come with a built-in video camera, microphone and speakers and are thus able to hold Coviu calls.
Microsoft Surface Pro: A perfectly fine Coviu collaboration endpoint
Desktop computers may require the addition of an external webcam, microphone and speakers. We recommend using a modern HD (high definition) Webcam such as the affordable and high quality Logitech C920, which comes with a built-in microphone.
There is a range of suitable external webcams available. We recommend High Definition (HD) 1080p cameras. Usually connected by USB. E.g:
Wide Angle Cameras
Wide angle cameras are great for scenarios where you might have two or more people to be included in the view of the call. E.g:
Logitech C930e with 90 degrees rather than 78; Genius Widecam F100 with 120 degrees.
Logitech C930e - Wide Angle Camera - 90 degree field
Genius Widecam F100 - Wide Angle Camera - 120 degree field
As for speakers, it’s best not to rely on the built-in speakers of a desktop computer. They often sound metallic, don’t have a high frequency range and offer a limited dynamic range. Any pair of external speakers, even the cheaper computer speakers , are a better choice. There’s no need to go beyond stereo, because most WebRTC calls only provide 2 audio channels.
Basic Logitech Z120 USB powered speakers.
An alternative to speakers, headphones or a headset will work too. These are likely to be less distracting to your colleagues in a busy work setting, and give you more sound isolation in a noisy environment. Choose Bluetooth or a cabled headset at your preference.
Meeting Rooms and Conference Rooms
In a larger room setting, make sure to use a camera with a wider angle and a microphone that captures the sound of all participants equally. We’ve used the portable Logitech C3000e conference set — an affordable all in one solution from Logitech.
Cameras and packages
There’s now also a version for smaller rooms, the Logitech ConferenceCam Connect, also with a 90 degree view but a different form factor.
A particularly useful type of conference microphone are boundary microphones which use a large table surface to better capture sound, such as the MXL AC-404 USB Conference Microphone from MXL Unified Communications.
If you’re after a way to improve audio input and output in a meeting room setting, the round USB speakerphone from Jabra is really portable. The Jabra Speak 510 works via Bluetooth as well as USB, so you can even avoid ugly cables in your meeting room.
These devices will be more than sufficient for your basic Coviu desktop or conference room calls.
If you do a lot of video calls and do some really intensive cooperative remote work, we recommend adding a second (or third) screen to your computer. This allows you to continue working on private notes while Coviu is running on the second screen.
Medical note taking while on a Coviu call (the laptop drives both screens).
Other types of Cameras
It is important to understand that almost any USB camera can be used in Coviu as an input device. This goes beyond mere Webcams. Attaching another camera device to your computer can have several uses:
- Document Cameras
You might want to share paper documents with your peers, particularly when brainstorming on paper, or digitising notes, or filling in and signing a form. Companies like IPEVO and ELMO have a range of document cameras to suit all requirements. Many of their cameras will even double as a webcam with the easy flip of the camera.
For information on how to use a document camera in Coviu, click here.
- Medical Device Cameras
If you are a health professional, you might find that some medical devices are actually just USB video cameras and can be used in Coviu without further change. Plug your camera into your computer via the USB port. Then use the Tools+ button and select the Share document camera feature to bring the medical device video into your conversation. This feature is only available on the Coviu Clinic plan.
It is really simple to get started with Coviu - just set yourself up with a computer that has a:
- Microphone and;
Don’t hesitate to experiment with other video and audio devices . You might be surprised how much will just work and how powerful the features of Coviu are when working with shared devices.
If you’ve managed to set up something special, don’t hesitate to drop us a line. We’re always keen to find out about the awesome things our customers do with Coviu.
If a device doesn’t work for you in Coviu, contact us and we’ll see what we can do for you.