Videoconferencing F.A.Q. & Terminology.


Frequently Asked Questions

WHAT ARE THE TYPICAL APPLICATIONS FOR VIDEO CONFERENCING?
General applications include file transfer, screen sharing (working on the same document at different locations), multimedia transmission of data and image, and high-speed Internet access. Specific applications may include:

        Project management and consulting
        Interviews and Meetings
        Legal and judicial applications
        Surveillance
        Distance learning and training
        Development of advertising campaigns

HOW DOES VIDEO CONFERENCING WORK?
Two or more parties at distant locations can have a meeting over an electronic medium. They can see and hear each other, conduct a simultaneous voice and data conference, share graphic screens as well as text screens, and interactively edit, annotate or draw on shared screens in real time.

There is a unit at each site with a camera to record images, a monitor to display images from other sites, a microphone to record sound, a speaker to play sounds from other sites, and a codec to encode/decode the information transmitted between units. For Multi-Conferencing all the participating videoconference units at different sites are connected to one central Multi-Conference Unit (MCU). They send their audio, video and data signals over the network to the MCU, where they are combined with corresponding signals from other sites.

SEMI TECHNICAL INFORMATION

For a DSTV signal you need a Receiving DISH, a decoder and a TV

For Video Conferencing you need an IP or ISDN connections, a codec and a TV.

IP is a connection to the internet, this should be a super faster broadband without too many firewalls. Without a dedicated quality of service contract from Telkom/Neotel or your Internet Service Provider the connection speed and hence quality will varying DURING a video call.

ISDN is available in most areas, but is the DIGITAL version of the standard ANALOGUE land line. The ISDN connection must run from the one venue to the other venue on this DIGITAL connection.

This DIGITAL connection is required to transfer the "busy" video connection and at an acceptable to excellent quality. The quality depends on the lighting at each venue and the number of ISDN lines used. The more ISDN lines that are connected results in more data that can be transferred. With THREE ISDN lines it is possible to connect three other parties and oneself simultaneously.

MCU is a multi conferencing unit or "switchboard" card inserted into an upgradable video conferencing unit to connect more than one party at the same time

CODEC is a decoder and encoder. As information is not just being received as our decorders do, we also need to transmit BACK therefore the need for an Encoder.

TV.: same as any decent TV to display a presentation. Please find the differences between PLASMA and LCD wich has been prepared in a pdf (Adobe file).

Videoconferencing Terminology

Simultaneous equation = solved instantly via video conferencing
Video conferencing is a technology that enables people, your most valuable resource, to contribute their talents in two or more places at once. Combined with the latest BUZZ word HD video conferencing is cutting edge technology.

High Definition (HD) video conferencing

HD system

Fully featured split system with embedded HD inputs and outputs

Highest Quality
Crystal clear audio and superior video quality at 4 Mbps.

Enhances Collaboration
Built-in MCU connects up to 9 sites with Continuous Presence and embedded PowerPointŪ presentations. Just plug in your PC and show the others sites your presentations and spreadsheets.

Native HD system
HD is not just technology, it's a concept embracing Video, Voice and Content aiming at improving comprehension and productivity. Vega X7 is the Aethra solution specifically designed and projected for High Definition.

Supports multiple connectivity
Available in several versions: for connection up to 384 Kbps (512 kbps with optional XLNA) over ISDN BRI and 4 Mbps over IP. Connect via the internet or fixed Telkom lines.

Simultaneous Dual-Stream video
Convenient XGA inputs and outputs provide one-step PC plug-in for simultaneous dual-stream video and live PC presentation with enhanced images.

Easy to configure
Flexible, simple architecture enables easy re-configure of the system. Ready to upgrade simply by adding different cards.

Customizable Graphic User Interface
The user is able to choose layouts and colours from a variety of alternatives. Selecting the right conferencing equipment is key to getting value from your video network. While there are several good choices, consideration of the following items should help to narrow your selection to one or two products and manufacturers.

Budget
This is usually the number one concern. Consider whether you will have more capital available now or in the future. Compare this with the ability to obtain operating funds for personnel, network usage, training and maintenance costs. Consider the cost of time taken to get to and from ones destination.

Value
This is the balance between price and several other factors such as: ease of use, longevity of equipment, reliability, cost of network calls and cost of upgrades or updates. Determining these factors in advance of your purchase can significantly affect the choice of systems.

Vendor Partnerships
Seldom considered at the early stages of acquiring video communications equipment, vendor selection is likely to have the most long lasting benefit or cost to your network. Most vendors (also called resellers of equipment) are available to offer services long after a product is discontinued or a manufacturer changes focus. Therefore, the longest relationship you will have with respect to your video network is likely to be with your vendor of equipment and not the equipment itself. A good selection of a vendor can minimize headaches with systems, service and upgrades for many years.

Equipment Manufacturers
Often, manufacturers don't interact with customers unless serious problems arise. That is why a good service supplier can be of such help. They can buffer your interaction with the manufacturer and ensure you get proper support and they will usually steer your organization toward the best manufacturers. Equipment manufacturers' can assist in selecting the best product in their own product line for your application but they seldom recommend other manufacturers products that may be equally satisfactory. A good vendor will represent several manufacturers' products.

Project Management
This is key when installing new equipment and especially when upgrading a network. Good project management, installation and vendor-to-manufacturer communication are essential to meeting timelines and budgets. Most buyers and many vendors fail to adequately include project management for installations and upgrades to video networks. Good project management is key for projects of any meaningful size.



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