With the help of technology, the world has never been closer. Need to examine a witness in Mumbai? No need to travel thousands of miles and expend thousands of dollars to do so, when you can simply connect via videoconferencing. Through our experience here at Neesons Court Reporting, below we share some simple guidelines and things to know when using videoconferencing.
Before you book with your court reporting agency:
Plan well, and in advance. Don’t assume that there are lots of empty videoconference suites around the world just waiting for your booking! Many industries use this technology for all kinds of purposes, including meetings, job interviews and training, so nail down your dates well in advance of your booking.
Think about the amount of time you really need. Videoconferencing fees are based on the time booked, not the time used. So if you book a room from 9 am to 5 pm, but only use two hours’ worth, you will still be billed for eight hours regardless.
Be aware of the cancellation policy at every end of your videoconferencing booking. International cancellations often require more than 2 business days’ notice; otherwise, the entire time booked is due and payable.
Preparing for your videoconferencing:
Test, test, test! Ensure that you test with the site you plan to use for the examination or deposition in advance. This allows everyone time to troubleshoot equipment and connections before the hearing day, not during!
If you need to have the witness view documents, consider how that will be done in advance. Will you ship hard copy documents to the witness? Will you want to share documents electronically over videoconferencing? Will the witness need a separate laptop to view the documents? Discuss with your court reporting firm what techniques will work best for your situation.
Location of your court reporter. Generally speaking, the court reporter is present with the attorneys, as the witness is usually the person who is at the distant location. However, there are times when it makes more sense for the court reporter to be present with the witness. Again, discuss with your court reporting firm what works best for your particular situation.
Videoconferencing can be performed over different platforms. A videoconferencing unit can be connected through a “bridge” protocol with a laptop. Other forms of connection also exist, such as Skype (not secure), GoToMeeting (secure) and other platforms. At this time, there really is no limit to connecting with another party in a remote location, as long as good internet exists.
Sometimes things don’t work. Neesons recently experienced a situation where a location booked in Singapore completely let us down, despite having a firm booking and having performed a test in advance. Your local court reporting firm can only control their own environs, and not the location at the other end. Sometimes technology fails, and every one of us knows this happens, despite something working the day before. Luckily, the rate of “failure” is extremely low in today’s environment.