Built-in camera vs. personal video camera: what’s the difference?

Photo of Jabra
Author
Posted
October 29, 2021
Reading time
4 minutes

Exploring the power of dedicated video solutions for professional videoconferencing

Video has become an increasingly central fixture in our everyday lives. While services like YouTube and Facetime have grown massively, our use of video with platforms like Microsoft Teams and Zoom has become standard practice in workplaces around the world. To communicate as effectively as possible, it’s important to understand the different video options available and how they impact our collaboration experiences at work.

The rise of video collaboration at work

Professional video collaboration has been on the rise for more than a decade. But with the forced shift to remote working during the pandemic, the use of videoconferencing platforms has skyrocketed to new heights. From January 2020 to April 2021, Microsoft Teams experienced a 625% growth in daily active users. Similarly, Zoom now hosts more than 3.5 trillion meeting minutes per year globally.

The more time we spend on video, the more important it becomes to use devices that elevate our communication and boost our well-being.

Built-in vs. personal video camera: What’s the difference?

At the base level, the difference between built-in cameras and personal video cameras is simple: built-in cameras are a part of the hardware itself, typically situated in the center directly above the screen on your laptop or mobile phone, whereas personal video cameras are an external video device specifically designed for high-quality video experiences.

Looking professional requires a new standard

At work, we all have a desire to look professional and respectable. And as remote and hybrid working models continue to become more and more ubiquitous, most of our professional interactions with colleagues, clients, and partners will take place on video. This creates an immediate need to graduate from built-in video to dedicated personal video cameras.

READ
Designing the hybrid offices that we return to

With built-in cameras, there’s no way to adjust the angle of the camera. This can result in unnatural framing positions that stop us from looking our best in a virtual meeting or reduce the benefits of face-to-face interactions we want when using platforms like Teams or Zoom.

Another key aspect is video resolution, or the clarity of the picture being captured by the camera. Oftentimes with between only two and five megapixels, built-in cameras only meet our basic video needs. And because of this, resolution is almost always lacking. Even with a strong internet connection, you’ll frequently have a fuzzy and highly pixelized video experience.

A final major consideration is lighting. We’ve all experienced that video meeting where we look as though we’re joining the meeting from a cave, when in reality we’re sitting in our office. Low resolution often leads to an insufficient ability to adjust to the lighting environment that we’re in, creating a cognitively taxing video experience for others who are straining to see us on their screen.

Elevating the experience with personal video cameras

Personal video cameras are engineered and designed specifically to solve these common issues. Because they’re peripheral devices, they can be connected to any laptop or computer and can be positioned to frame us for inclusive and effective conversations.

Unlike most built-in cameras, personal video cameras also capture the highest quality video, with up to 13 megapixels and 4K Ultra-HD resolution. This high degree of resolution allows us to better capture facial micro-expressions and the subtleties in body language, both major contributors to effective communication. As Sara Nyström, Executive Director of the Center for Body Language, told us on the Jabra Soundbar Podcast: “The very, very important thing is to make sure you have a good quality camera, and you have a good quality microphone to make the most possible out of what we have.”

READ
Using IT infrastructure to fuel employee well-being

Finally, as in many other aspects of our daily lives, artificial intelligence is beginning to create major opportunities within video. Cameras with built-in intelligence can address many issues, such as poor or insufficient lighting. If your work environment has poor lighting, the artificial intelligence now found in some personal video cameras is able to adjust the lighting of your outgoing camera stream, making sure you’re always on camera in the best light. With personal video cameras, we can now effectively outsource the constant work our brains are doing to compensate for unnatural video experiences, reducing the cognitive load of video meetings and limiting our susceptibility to the video meeting fatigue caused by low-quality video.

Much of our days are now spent in video meetings. Using the right professional personal video solutions to collaborate can lead to more seamless hybrid working experiences that enable us to be seen no matter where we’re working from.

Share the article