Webcams are More Meaningful Now

COVID-19 has kept us in our homes. It has replaced personal, face-to-face interaction with a drive-by birthday party or a parking-lot church sermon. It has also greatly increased the demand for webcams.

Throughout my career, I spent hours every day on teleconference calls or web conferences. My work laptop had a built-in webcam and I used it to have “face time” with customers from coast to coast. We’re now being told to use our webcams to have Zoom or Skype calls with our family, friends, and even our doctors. If you have a webcam and know how to use it, it’s a great tool. If you don’t have a webcam, you may have difficulty buying one. They’re gone… sold out almost overnight.

So, what do you do?

If you have a smartphone or tablet, you have options. The easiest is to use the camera, microphone, and speaker your device already has. You can install Skype or Zoom apps and do your video calls using those tools. If you and the other person both have Apple devices, you can use FaceTime. If you want to use telemedicine, these tools may work, too; just work with your provider to coordinate an appointment.

Apple and Android smartphones can work as a webcam with other apps, too. For IOS, I use the Epocam PRO app. For Android, the DroidCam Wireless Webcam application from the Google Play Store will work.

As with anything, practice with your device and application before you make your call. Skype allows you to make a practice call so you can hear how you sound and how your camera setup works. This isn’t difficult and you may find it useful even after we escape our COVID-19 confinement.

Jarren Ringle is a member of SourcePoint and a volunteer instructor. He teaches various technology classes throughout the year. Jarren also volunteers at the Delaware County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. With many years of project management experience in various technology fields, he enjoys helping others with technology.