Meeting with others has never been easier thanks to the power of telepresence applications. Powerful VoIP based software has changed much in the world as we have the ability to immediately contact and converse in a manner that is almost like being present. Forget the telephone for important collaborative events because video chats give the ability to more effectively share ideas and materials.
Everyone from teenagers with no hobbies to distant family members are regularly using video calls as a way to more intimately talk. A lot is lost by simply sending text message. Though you can format text with some applications to stress imperative points, inflections in your voice and body language are difficult (and time consuming) to attempt reproducing. Not to mention, if you’ve ever left someone a sarcastic message that back fired, you should understand completely.
One little problem with telepresence
Your teenage daughter may throw a fit if you walk in on her giggling to handwritten notes her and a friend are sharing while chatting on Skype because these things are important to today’s youth. Sure, it doesn’t make sense to all of us, but if it prevents her from asking you for a ride to the movie theater to hang with a couple friends and some sketchy boys, then it’s a great thing. You don’t want to invade, but wouldn’t it be great if you could spy to make sure nothing inappropriate is being shared?
Well there is good and bad news. Yes, it is possible, but nothing at this point in time is ubiquitous, meaning if they have the ability to create other accounts on a computer or a smartphone to bypass most kinds of monitoring software. Software like ScreenRetriever is a tool that installs on a computer which can be used by another computer on the same network to tap into the screen and view exactly what is on the screen at that time.
Though the tool can record, it will end up taking up a lot of disk space should frequent use of the recording feature occur. An icon for will appear in the notification so if you’re using it to monitor a child (or spouse) they will see when you open the app to check in. Also, it doesn’t work on smartphones or tablets so all bets are off when it comes to these devices.
Monitoring devices does seem unethical to some, but it can help stop potential problems. Beyond monitoring children, there is a market for applications that have the ability to record certain data from a computer or mobile device. In business, monitoring devices on an account is an effective way to determine how employees are using their devices.
The company Mobile Spy is one such company that makes a great product for monitoring. Unlike ScreenRetriever, it is completely transparent. It gives the ability to look into virtually anything done on the phone including picking up text from social media like Facebook or even emails sent and receive by the device. You can even tap into the device to record audio from the microphone.
A friend in the networking business has told me how he uses a feature on his network’s onsite manager to keep track of troublesome employees. We were discussing this subject a couple of days ago when he mentioned the tool (I don’t believe he stated its name) he uses to monitor the network also gives the ability to remote into any unit and access the display in real time. This has helped him pop in and snap screen shots of people using social media excessively, spending too much time on non-work related projects and even a few instances of certain people viewing inappropriate material.
Recording video chats
Using video chats is a great way that monitoring tools can help record conversations to extract relevant data at a later time. Some applications have built in tools but others will need you to use 3rd party tools to record conversations.
Skype – Skype doesn’t have any built in tools but there are tools available to help you record conversations. The plugin VodBurner can connect to Skype and further allow you to capture both audio and video. It’s simple to install and is free to use.
Microsoft Lync –
This is one of the best free tools (unless you count the fee for Office 2013) to communicate with other uses of the service. Your contacts in Outlook can contacted and pulled into a meeting with a few clicks. The recording manager is a tool that comes with the software has an easy to use consoles that can be used to record conversations.
CamStudio – Unfortunately, this tool is only a simple screen capturing tool. However, it is free and easy to use so video can be easily retained. You can use this with a 3rd party audio recorder or a physical device to capture audio.
In most cases it is pretty simple to record calls you make from your computer. Apps like GoToMeeting have built in tools but others require a little more work. A little research can uncover ways to use apps with your telepresence app of choice. Or, if all else fails, use the above method with CamStudio to get things done.