Three Solutions That Let You Control Your Video Conference From Your Keyboard

Video conferencing systems are opening up communication between small businesses and their clients, preventing the need to travel in order to have a face-to-face conversation. As technology has evolved, however, businesses are still struggling to launch and manage phone calls, whether they’re video-chatting from their cubicles or launching a video call in a conference room full of executives.

Cisco Jabber Keyboard

Logitech has created a solution with the launch of its UC keyboard. The K-725C incorporates buttons that allow users to answer calls, adjust the volume of calls, mute audio or video, and headset control directly on the keyboard. This is the first enterprise-grade keyboard that incorporates phone and video call controls, designed specifically to work with Cisco Jabber.

Currently, the Logitech K-725C only works with Cisco Jabber 9.2 and higher, which is great for businesses who use the popular video service. Cisco Jabber is a collaboration tool that allows businesses to make video calls and share presentations using a variety of devices. However, Cisco can be a pricier solution than some of its competitors, some of which are free.

Skype Keyboard Shortcuts

Skype is a free video conferencing service service acquired by Microsoft in 2011. It was once popular primarily with home users, but small businesses have begun to realize the benefits of the service, especially since the software is now built into the Windows operating system.

Skype users don’t have to buy a specialized keyboard to quickly access the service. Microsoft has created hotkeys to allow users to launch the service directly from the keyboard. Those hotkeys include:

  • Control + S to take a snapshot during calls
  • Control + M to mute the microphone
  • Alt + Page Up to answer a call
  • Control + Alt + Page Up to answer a call with video

But first you’ll need to activate hotkeys in Skype. Skype provides step-by-step instructions for doing that here.

Adobe Connect

While Adobe Connect isn’t free, it’s popular with many small businesses due to its compatibility with a variety of platforms. Like Adobe Reader, Adobe Connect presentations and conferences can be viewed by someone who doesn’t own the full version of the software. Adobe Connect has a list of keyboard shortcuts, both for attendee management and presentation control purposes.

Like Cisco Jabber, Adobe Connect can be pricey for smaller enterprises, with plans starting at $45 per month per host. While Adobe Connect has more robust features than Skype, its price may be out of reach for many small businesses.

Cisco and Adobe both have extensive, professional platforms for video conferencing, but small businesses who are struggling to build their brands while saving as much money as possible may find the price too high. For businesses interested in merely conducting video conferences, Skype’s free platform will likely suffice. However, the presentation capabilities of both Adobe Connect and Cisco Jabber may be worth investigating for most businesses. Whichever choice your business makes, be aware that you don’t have to pay extra for a paid platform simply to have easy keyboard access. All three options have keyboard shortcuts that can implement basic video chat commands without touching a mouse.

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Stephanie Faris

Stephanie is a freelance writer and young adult/middle grade novelist, who worked in information systems for more than a decade. Her first book, 30 Days of No Gossip, will be released by Simon and Schuster in spring 2014. She lives in Nashville with her husband.

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