Video Conferencing

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Paul Maritz and Eyal both want to do video conferencing over at Ignition. This seems like a classic opportunity for Rich “The Geek” Tong to learn another inane subject. I certainly don’t think we should spend $2,000 for some hardware when we don’t understand all the issues (like why can’t we just use a PC with Netmeeting?)

Here is what an hour on google has taught me FWIW. Mainly that there is a confusing set of products. These start at the low end with a PC plus a camera and a speaker system with Netmeeting or CUSeeMe, then onto the online meeting companies like Webex, Placeware, Centra and Raindance and then to internal products like Lotus Sametime and then up to dedicated hardware like Polycom, Tandberg and Sony. I have a nasty suspicion that the quality of the T-1 we have is going to have the biggest impact. Oh well. Lots to learn.

  • ViDe Videoconferencing Cookbook, Version 3.0. This is a great introduction to what is out there. Main thing I learned is that there are lots of open source efforts going on and also that there are lots of different technologies now. It is not just H.323 anymore. Main things to study are MPEG-2000 based compression and also the many commercial products like Lotus Sametime or Webex. Personally I want the Reality Interface 3-d hologram thingy 🙂
  • D-link IP video conferencing. D-Link debuted its i2eye DVC-1000 VideoPhone, a broadband appliance that delivers IP videoconferencing via TV. The device sits on top of a TV and features an adjustable tilt/focus camera lens and integrated microphone. You place calls via the interface you control with a remote. To speak, you can use an analog phone plugged into the back of the box, or talk directly into the built-in speaker.
  • Meeting by wire. A video conferencing site with emphasis on Microsoft conferencing stuff.
  • David Strom’s Web Conferencing List. This is a good list of all those web based clients
  • David Woolie’s Web Conferencing directory. Another great list.
  • Conference Zone Newsletter. Someone actually follows this market closely.
  • PC Magazine on Video Conferencing. Only problem with this review is that it is a year old. Says that the Fly Conferencing Suite is great
  • Exchange 2000 IM Clients. Now that Ignition is up to Exchange 2000, we can use the IM client that uses the Exchange directory.

2 Replies to “Video Conferencing”

  1. I tried to do PC-based vidconf over the internet about 18 months ago and it was a disaster. the lack of QOS killed it. it was hard to figure out if the problem was my ISP, some part of the backbone, or the ISP and intranet at the other end, but it was a disaster. sound couldn’t get reliably delivered at all. i agree it seems like it ought to be something that can be cheaply done. oh also, just getting a mic to work reliably with your pc has always been a challenge.

  2. I had the same experience. Problem is that folks want to buy a $2K piece of dedicated hardware and I think the bigger issue is we need a dedicated ISDN or other line, so that is expensive. BTW, I did try the Webex thing today and it was remarkably good.
    Anyway, the search goes on. I kind of don’t want to buy something that only Paul and Eyal will use once a month. Perhaps if they want to do, they can buy it. Actually, I find a landline for voice plus emailing a PowerPoint is 90% of it.
    Interesting to note that Webex actually has a conventional bridge for audio and then has a app sharing think like netmeeting.

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