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Communication Technology That Makes Life Easier. A Look at Two of My Favourites

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Communication Technology That Makes Life Easier. A Look at Two of My Favourites

I have to lead this article with a confession. I’m a tech junkie. I love testing, trialling and figuring out all manner of new technology available to make my business life easier.

Some pieces of technology I try are stunning failures (much like the BB-8 droid I bought for ‘fun’ only to be bored with 30 minutes after tearing the packaging open), while others continue to delight and astound me (hello lapel microphones that connect to my iPhone). The point is, pretty much every other week I’m playing with a new application, a new piece of hardware or salivating over the impending launch of the iPhone X (October 28, just in case you’re wondering).

Working with clients to develop ‘unusual’ ways to communicate with their people means I am always on the lookout for things that are going to make everyone’s lives easier and to create something a little different that could prove to be the talking point that starts a conversation.

Over the last few months, my clients and I have been playing with a couple of different pieces of technology that are proving useful.

Let me be clear up front. No, I do not get any kickback or affiliates for recommending or discussing either of these, they just make my life easier, and, I like to share.

The first is a piece of hardware called the iRig Mic Lav 2 Pack.

It’s a lapel microphone with two points allowing you to ‘mic up’ two people at once while recording through your smartphone.

Pros: It’s a great boost to your audio when chatting with someone on a Facebook live or quick video. Gives a better overall sound and improves the clarity of both speakers, also, as a bonus, it makes you look a little more professional. Price wise, you’ll pick this up for around $150, which, for what it does, I think, is pretty good value.

Cons: Records both people into one channel, so if you’re looking at using it for a podcast or need to do any editing on the audio keep in mind, the quality will be impaired compared to a two-channel recording.

My next favourite piece of tech is a platform rather than hardware, Zencastr.

Zencastr solves the issues of poor phone communication when recording a conversation. In the past, I’ve had problems with Skype dropping out or having one line with inferior recording quality. Zencastr resolves that issue. It’s an online portal where all parties (you can have more than two) follow a link provided by the host and they hold their conversation online.

Pros: Provides clear recording for each person in the conversation and records each person on their own channel. Making it easier for any post-production or editing work that needs to happen. It’s simple to use and is quite a seamless product. The platform itself has inbuilt redundancies which means if one person is having internet issues it will keep the call going, and recording is unhindered (unlike Skype which will just drop the call entirely). It also has a chat option and bookmark facilities, again, handy for the editors out there who want to quickly identify a portion of a conversation. Probably the biggest pro out of all of them though, the platform is free to use! You only pay if you choose to use the ‘add-on’ services like editing and production.

Cons: Setting up your account and getting the system to run initially can be a little fiddly. As an Apple person, I discovered the platform wouldn’t run on Safari; I need to use Chrome. Also, I’ve had a couple of interviews get slightly confused regarding how to access, as you need to set up an account before recording. As the host, you need to spend a couple of minutes explaining to your guests how this works compared to Skype and also that all parties must stay on the line when the call is finished to allow for upload time of the recording.

For what both of these two pieces of technology are designed to do I have found they have made my job communicating with my people easier. That’s the thing with technology, with a little research and a little play, you can very quickly stumble across tiny gems that make your working life (and that of your clients) just that little bit simpler.

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