3. Standalone videoconferencing systems

Standalone videoconferencing systems, where the camera and audio are built-in to a small console that sits on a monitor or TV, now use standard IP network connections and offer a high quality, simple to use service. They allow monitors and extra cameras, microphones and PC equipment to be connected and controlled very easily. They are very easy to set-up, reliable, with no specialist knowledge need to use and are controlled via a simple handheld pad. There is a Video conferencing service, suitable for interviews and meetings based at the University Media Production Unit, 5 Worcester Street. Tel 01865 289980.

The advantages are:

Widely available in Higher Education Institutions and Worldwide. ( see http://www.ja.net/services/video/ High quality sound and vision, as built-in electronics cancel any audio echo. Smaller systems can be used as a portable "box" which can be used in any room with an IP connection and TV monitor or video projector. Suitable for meetings with many people due to the high quality video and cameras

The disadvantages are:

Equipment can be expensive, starting around two thousands pounds for a basic system. Often have to travel to a room where the system is based Difficult to share PC material

In addition, dedicated departmental or institutional videoconferencing suites in HEIs are likely to have some or all of the following:

  1. Visualiser (or document camera): used like an overhead projector, can deal with slides or paper.
  2. VCR connected to conference so that video tapes can be shown.
  3. Monitors: large monitors used to present the main picture to participants, smaller monitors to present other views or line up pre-set shots.
  4. Projector and screen: can provide a large image, especially useful for large rooms and lecture theatres.
  5. Computer and scan converter: allowing computer images to be sent across the videoconference network.
  6. Data conferencing software. Runs in parallel with the videoconferencing session: allowing participants to share data and applications between sites.

The following Oxford University departments are equipped with room based video-conferencing:

  • Media Production Unit (Central video-conference service)
  • Chemistry
  • Economics
  • Physics
  • Said Business School
  • Rothermere American Institute
  • Oxford Internet Institute
  • University Offices
  • Educational Studies

Contact an IT officer in the department for further details.

Manufacturers of standalone conference systems used at Oxford:

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