A good use of time….? Experience of using Skype for telepresence meetings

As the meeting ended I asked the 15 or so consultants in the room ” A good use of time…?”

Waiting for Skype to work at the start of the meeting

Waiting for Skype to work at the start of the meeting

Nods and grins, “Yes thank you”……..  “well, er…. No!…. it was awful at the start! …

“We were supposed to start at 9:30 but didn’t get going until 10:10 – 40 mins of precious time together wasted”

That got my attention.

Well, if you ask for feedback you have to be prepared to receive it.

So what happened?….

We were being innovative with our meetings – Using  Skype for telepresence, bring ing in people from Germany, Scotland and the South of England to join a room full of people.

 What went well

  • The microphone and speakers are a definite improvement (see Pyramids and Starfish)
  • We did get 3 people joining us remotely well,… for a while anyway

What did not go well

  • Skype fell over again. Despite the fact that I had signed up for the premium version of Skype
  • We switched laptops,… it worked for a while then fell over again
  • I had to stop trying to fix it as I was interrupting the flow of the meeting.
  • This is not low bandwidth, we had a 10 Mb line
  • I’m coming to the conclusion that there is something inherently unstable about Skype for video conferencing

Continuous improvement for future meetings:

  • Skype works well when we are all on Skype in a voice conference
  • Mixed virtual/ physical meetings just don’t work with this technology.. so I’ll give up on that, for now.

I’ll be cancelling the subscription for Skype premium

One of the things about being innovative and pushing the technology is that things don’t always work!

Thankfully we have a group of people who are highly tolerant, so we must be doing something right.

It won’t stop me trying more new things, Life is far more fun when you introduce a bit of innovation.


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