VIDEO PRESENTATIONS To The Letter – Interactive collaboration for dummies

As growing number of businesses bolster their networks for voice and data traffic, conferencing equipment is becoming smaller, smarter, faster, more affordable and easier to use. The net result means corporate training presentations and interactive conferencing and collaboration will soon be simply another application on the network.
Individuals can not only see and talk to each other but share documents and work on projects interactively so everyone ends up with meeting notes and copies of presentations. Options range from tiny cameras on top of PCs, to IP screen phones on desks and sophisticated corporate systems.
Management cuts through the acronyms and jargon to explain the language of videoconferencing and collaboration. Managers need never feel lost again.

A = Agenda – so everyone knows what’s to be discussed. Application Service Provider (ASP) – hosted services delivered by an internet service provider over the web. Asnet distributes Polycom Office, including voice, video and web-based conferencing products and management tools. The company last year won tender to provide an IP-based videoconference bridging service for over 100 New Zealand schools. Audio Visual Communications develops, manufactures and markets video- and audio-conferencing systems, specialising in telemedicine. It distributes product from Aethra Telecommunications. Acme handles the Plus range of presentation equipment. Alcatel, Avaya, Cisco and other telecos are diversifying their call centre and network products to include ‘presence-based’ collaboration so meetings can be scheduled regardless of location.

B = Bandwidth or broadband – the speed data can be piped between multiple points, typically 2Mbit/sec and upwards. The higher the bandwidth the faster rich data such as audio, video and graphics can be moved and displayed. Lack of bandwidth can result in latency or jerky video. Local company BDT is the distributor for Mediasite Live, Mitsubishi Electric, Thomson Multimedia and RCA, which all have conferencing products

C = Chairperson – keeps order and makes executive decisions. Camera presets allows users to pre-define angles, locations and distances to store in their videoconferencing system. Clothing – avoid bright or overly patterned clothing or shiny jewellery which can be distracting or blur definition. Compressed video reduces storage space or network speed needed for economical transmission using complex set of algorithms. Codec – coder-decoder or compression-decompression, decompresses or decodes audio or video files or streams prior to transmission. This can include converting analogue to digital signals.

D = Distance learning – the use of pre-recorded or ‘live’ content so remote students or trainees can participate in training or educational programmes. Document sharing – feature enabling participants to view, share or edit the same document. Document camera – can capture and send images of papers, graphs or overheads to other conference participants. DSL (digital subscriber line) enables speeds of up to 8Mbit/sec downloading from the internet over copper telephone lines. The D-Link i2eye DVC-1000 broadband set-top videophone includes camera and microphone which plug directly into home network and television for videoconferencing.

E = e-Meetings – electronic meetings enabling interactive multimedia conferencing from PCs over the internet or private networks. Envision provides data and video projectors, interactive whiteboards, projection screens and videoconferencing equipment from Polycom and others. Ectus MEDIA software enables e-meetings, conferences or lectures across distances.

F = Frame rate – the frequency at which video frames are displayed on monitor, typically described in frames-per-second (fps). Higher frame rates improve the appearance. Broadcast TV or full motion video is 30 frames-per-second.

G = Gateway – network device such as router or server that can interface with another network or direct traffic to its destination. dedicated server might also provide protocol translation allowing different systems to participate in the same conference.

H = Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) – the underlying programming code of web pages enabling them to be read in common format by web browsers. The H series of standards – H.243 controls multipoint videoconferences through the ‘conference chair’ which moderates or maintains control of the conferences. H.320 – video compression enabling different conferencing systems to inter-operate, typically over ISDN. H.323 – allows videoconferencing systems to communicate over the internet using IP. H.350 – compression standard developed by Internet2 working groups for storing and locating objects or information related to video and voice in enterprise directories.

I = Introductions – ensure everyone knows each other and why they’re there. ISDN (integrated services digital networking) – the technology that enables telephone lines to be split into two 64kbit/sec data channels and 16bit signalling channel for sending and receiving data concurrently, particularly useful for videoconferencing. IP (internet protocol) – the networking standard that has sidelined ISDN, transformed communications and enabled the worldwide internet and ultimately internal and wide area networks to handle any kind of data traffic. Robust next generation networks are now being built to handle data, voice and video over IP. IP Phones – have colour screen for videoconferencing and smart features enabling users control over the PBX and how they want their calls handled. Interactivity – the ability to share, respond, manipulate or interact with software, the web or games technology. IP Multicast – means of simultaneous transmission of data from server to group of selected users on an IP network, used for streaming audio and video. Internet2, the super high speed network being developed by 180 US universities, business corporations and research networks in Canada, Europe and Australia. It is capable of very-large file transfers, for example videoconferencing and voice recognition or telemedicine where 3D brain scan could be examined by specialists on the other side of the world. New Zealand is working on the tender process to link science, research and education institutions and become node. Chipmaker Intel has its own Intel Proshare Video System available for the desktop.

J = Juggling. Make sure your presentation notes are in order. Juggling is for clowns.

K = KISS – Keep It Simple Stupid. Keep the camera steady when moving in on person or an image. Keep keyboard clicking and other background noise to minimum.

L = Latency – accumulated waiting time or delay while information passes through network.

M = Multipoint control unit (MCU) – bridge to manage multiple participants, supporting audio and video at various bandwidths, data sharing, continuous presence cascaded calls, conference call web pages and component stacking. Mediasite Live – complete rich media presentation publishing system from Sonic Foundry, designed to automate live recording and viewing of presentations, on demand via the internet or copied to CD or DVD. MPLS (multi-protocol label switching) – the IP backbone network deployed by Telecom, TelstraClear, AT&T and others optimised for videoconferencing and rich media throughput. MPEG (Motion Picture Experts Group) – multimedia compression standard for digital video, audio and systems compression. MPEG-4 – the standard for integration of interactive graphics applications and multimedia. Multimedia projectors – show clearly on big screen everything from PowerPoint presentations to movie clips by plugging direct into laptop, video or DVD player. Manzana Interactive Surfaces’ latest whiteboard software offers smart functionality such as data access, incorporates Flash content into presentations and will even integrate with wireless and mobile devices. It automatically recognises various devices in th

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