Technology Resources for Arbitration Practitioners - Audio and videoconferencing
Technology Resources for Arbitration Practitioners
Audio and videoconferencing
Audio and videoconferencing has long been an option for connecting parties, witnesses, experts, arbitrators and counsel in geographically distant locales. Virtually all arbitrations involve the use of ‘dial-in’ numbers to host conference calls, but fewer arbitrations take advantage of videoconferencing.
Used properly, videoconferencing can reduce costs and improve the efficiency, convenience and efficacy of cross-border arbitration; for example, by making it possible to examine witnesses unable or unwilling to travel to the hearing site or enabling the arbitral tribunal to conduct procedural conferences with counsel ‘face to face’ without incurring additional costs or scheduling difficulties. Older technology often resulted in poor video quality or difficulties in connectivity and required the assistance of technical experts in order to establish the video connection, contributing to parties’ reluctance to rely on the technology. Today’s audio and videoconferencing technology may allow for better connectivity, greater ease of use, and enhanced clarity, quality and security. Below are some providers of advanced audio and videoconferencing services.
Web-based videoconferencing platform. Allows a host to schedule and invite participants to a video meeting in as little as ‘six seconds’, according to the website. Ability to connect from any computer, iOS or Android device. High-definition video quality and clear audio is powered by Dolby Voice®, which enables users to communicate clearly regardless of the limits of their personal devices. The platform emphasises a focus on security features to enhance meeting privacy and the ability to use artificial intelligence (AI) technologies, such as voice recognition, to further enhance security. The host is required to pay a modest monthly hosting fee, which permits an invitation of up to 50 participants per meeting.
Ultra-high quality video and audio from TelePresence centres, which are located around the globe. Participants can rent and reserve space at a TelePresence centre near them; a calendar feature makes it possible for multiple participants in different locales to reserve space at the same time. Participants in each TelePresence centre will be in identical rooms with high-quality ‘roaming’ cameras that create the virtual sense of being together in a single room. It is possible for one participant (eg, a witness) to participate from a TelePresence centre while others participate from remote video locations (ie, a hearing centre), but the need for a ‘bridge’ for the connection may reduce quality. While at the higher end of videoconferencing options from a cost perspective, Cisco TelePresence promises to create an immersive and realistic user experience.
Web-based platform for conducting audio conference calls and viewing documents; will be adding a video feature. It was originally developed to overcome the limitations of traditional dial-in conferencing. Parties access the meeting via a link and enter their telephone number, and the system connects users via their personal telephones, allowing for better call quality than may be available over a pure internet connection. Users can view all participants who have joined the call. Documents are shared via screen-share only, making it unnecessary to upload confidential information onto a web platform. The platform requires the host to pay a modest monthly fee that permits a certain number of call minutes per month
Web-based audio and videoconferencing platform. One of the earliest internationally accessible audio and videoconferencing programs, Skype connects users via the internet. Users must have a webcam to be seen through videoconferencing. Skype connections are usually cost-effective and convenient to access, and Skype for Business offers upgrades and security enhancements.
Web and/or software-based platform for hosting videoconferences. Under the Basic plan, which is free, a single ‘host’ can invite up to 100 participants to a video meeting. Participants are invited to join via a link, and the host may require participants to pre-register to enhance meeting security. Participants must have their own webcam in order to be seen on video. The names of all participants are displayed on screen, and ‘gallery view’ allows multiple video users to be displayed on the screen at once. The platform is designed to work well at low Wi-Fi bandwidth, although video quality depends in part on the quality of the user’s webcam.