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Topic # 89150 26-Aug-2011 11:29
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Hey guys,
I have started looking at video conferencing as we now have fast enough connections (and proper meeting rooms!) to support HD streams. Our company has a main office with dedicated board room in Penrose, Auckland, Smaller Office with Dedicated meeting room in Wellington and another branch in Albany, Auckland which has no dedicated room.

For the two offices with meeting rooms I was thinking of putting a 50" plasma on the wall with some kind of camera on top to run this. First thing that I can think of is Skype so maybe have a PC and high def web cam running. Not sure if this will work though as the microphone in a webcam may not be suitable for a large room.

Not really sure what's out there beyond that. Not wanting to spend heaps of a Polycom etc. system and what we choose must either be p2p or have a NZ node to route traffic.

Any ideas/experience? 





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  Reply # 512393 26-Aug-2011 12:13
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Google Plus Hangout... and I'm not joking either.
It's free, and you can have up to 10 people in one hangout.
All you need is a high quality webcam such as the Logitech HD Pro C910
http://www.ascent.co.nz/productspecification.aspx?ItemID=390641

If the microphone on the webcam doesn't pick up the voices properly in a big room, you could just purchase a separate mic and have it closer to the people talking.

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  Reply # 512405 26-Aug-2011 12:27
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dontpanic42: Google Plus Hangout... and I'm not joking either.
It's free, and you can have up to 10 people in one hangout.
All you need is a high quality webcam such as the Logitech HD Pro C910
http://www.ascent.co.nz/productspecification.aspx?ItemID=390641

If the microphone on the webcam doesn't pick up the voices properly in a big room, you could just purchase a separate mic and have it closer to the people talking.


+1 on G+ Hangout.

You can even share a video (via YouTube) that you can all watch together. Up to 11 locations (I think) including the host.   




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  Reply # 512412 26-Aug-2011 12:31
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We went through a small costing exercise in my last job and a 24¨ Mac at the time running the mac built in meeting software for a branch office came out the winner. Are you wanting just to VC internally or are you going to talk to customer, suppliers, potential employees?

What kind of quality and usability do you want / expect. and how tech savey are the users?
Polycomm and co might be expensive ,  but they are dedicated boxes.

Working out your needs will help shape your solution

Cheers

Knoydart

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  Reply # 512424 26-Aug-2011 12:42
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Skype is built into some TV's now but I believe this (skype in general) is limited to direct video link between 2 parties only. Given 3 office locations that's big limitation and another plus for Google Plus.

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  Reply # 512428 26-Aug-2011 12:45
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Jaxson: Skype is built into some TV's now but I believe this (skype in general) is limited to direct video link between 2 parties only. Given 3 office locations that's big limitation and another plus for Google Plus.


Skype 5.something for windows does multi way video apparently but I´ve yet to test it in anger



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  Reply # 512443 26-Aug-2011 13:00
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knoydart: We went through a small costing exercise in my last job and a 24¨ Mac at the time running the mac built in meeting software for a branch office came out the winner. Are you wanting just to VC internally or are you going to talk to customer, suppliers, potential employees?

What kind of quality and usability do you want / expect. and how tech savey are the users?
Polycomm and co might be expensive ,  but they are dedicated boxes.

Working out your needs will help shape your solution

Cheers

Knoydart


Yea for the moment just internal. I guess if we get a dedicated PC we can install a variety of clients so we can always video conference with client's on their preferred platform e.g. Skype etc.

Quality I guess we are looking for 720p with minimal lag and good quality voice. The users aren't too tech savy but will definately be able to bring up S skype like client and initiate a call etc. Don't really want to spend too much on this so that's also a key concern (ie $1500 for TV + $500 for old PC, Cam & mic).

OK will check out Google hang out and get one of those cameras to try!





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  Reply # 512451 26-Aug-2011 13:06
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From my experience using "personal" vc systems like skype and google video, and using "proper" room based Polycom systems, and from watching other people try and use personal systems for room-based vc; I have concluded that personal systems just don't work well enough for room-based vc.

The main problem is that even modern HD web cameras don't have a great depth of field. They are only designed to focus on one person sitting in front of the PC. At best you can squish two to three people in the field of view, but this is usually a very awkward arrangement.

So my suggestion is this:
If you can possibly afford it, buy a proper room-based system (for each room) with a proper camera. Even a second hand unit, and even a standard definition room based system will give better results in room-to-room vc than a top of the line modern PC HD webcam.

If you can't afford that, then don't do room based vc - just do room based HD audio conferencing (skype with a decent speaker and mic) or something like the Polycom Communicator, or HD IP phones running G.722

People sometimes forget that even in a vc, audio quality is actually more important than picture quality.
If you can see the far end, but can't hear them clearly, it's next to useless.

Good luck.





kind regards Andrew TD

gzt

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  Reply # 512792 27-Aug-2011 10:04
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Agree with the point about good sound. That also goes for receiving systems. Additionally, if you have a large reflective room mic feedback at the volume required to fill it can be a problem worth looking for and fixing.

Usability is a good point, if many users are infrequent users Skype may be a good choice esp for 1 to 1. Most people know how to operate it without training.

Think carefully about the types of meeting that your environment has and work out how to cater for each type separately. A one to many presentation with questions is very different to a 3 a side, or 5 a side meeting. See how many types you have, it may be just two.

With the cheap price of large displays, consider experimenting with some kind of tele-presence ie; one large display per meeting participant arranged around a desk. Getting more nuance across in this way will make meetings more productive, more like being there.



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  Reply # 530493 7-Oct-2011 10:20
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Hey guys, well I have a 37" Sony 1280x768 going spare so I decided to buy a Logitech c910 webcam (720p) to try things out. I will install it this weekend and let you all know how it goes.

I'm also thinking of getting another tv with the intention being on one screen I have the video conference and on the second screen we can do screen sharing for demo/training purposes. Hangout/Skype still the thing to do this?





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  Reply # 575007 30-Jan-2012 16:46
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Zeon: Hey guys, well I have a 37" Sony 1280x768 going spare so I decided to buy a Logitech c910 webcam (720p) to try things out. I will install it this weekend and let you all know how it goes.

I'm also thinking of getting another tv with the intention being on one screen I have the video conference and on the second screen we can do screen sharing for demo/training purposes. Hangout/Skype still the thing to do this?


How did you get on with your testing? (You never reported back)



My work is looking for a similar solution - multiple sites in NZ (3, poss 4) and Australia (1), and some remote users. Usually the VC will only be between one site and another, but occasional meetings will be all (or most) connections joining in.

Someone has recommended LifeSize Team 220 or LifeSize Room 220 solutions to us for the master site (with LifeSize Express 220 and Lifesize Desktop Client at other sites and for the remote users respectively).

The sites all have multi-Gb fiber connections.

Has anyone had any experience with LifeSize before? Is it any good? Seems VERY pricey to me.

Also, we are thinking about getting some interactive whiteboards later in the year, so whichever solution we go for will need to be able to integrate these also.

Any comments, or information would be gratefully received as I am out of my depth here. Thanks.



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  Reply # 575019 30-Jan-2012 17:15
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Going to setup something very similar to this but for one of our sites that will be interviewing and video conferencing with other companies over Skype. Bought them their own Dell PC with Microsoft Lifecam Studio webcam and a 5GB/month business broadband connection from Vodafone which comes with a free static IP as well. Did not want them use our one office line from Gen-I at all. They were also thinking about using a TV with Skype functionality built in but future Skype updates and the cost, decided to give them a PC instead.

With Skype, you will need to subscribe to Skype premium for group video calling feature if the it's more than 1 on 1.

http://www.skype.com/intl/en/prices/premium?intcmp=gvcCS-prem

If you are after a proper 'room based' system then have a chat with asnet technologies.




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