2. Types of videoconferencing
These refer to the number of sites linked by the conference, not to the number of people participating. Multi-point conferences can link all sites equally, or can be a main site linked to remote sites. The type of link used can affect the efficiency and therefore quality of sound and vision.
Desktop PC conferencing using a software package over the Internet (IP) network and Webcam. Standalone systems with built in camera, designed for room based meetings using the Internet (IP) or ISDN network
- It is cheap. You need any PC, an Internet link, a USB video camera and microphone, and special videoconferencing software (also fairly cheap).
- It is accessible: you can videoconference from your own desk, at any time.
- Sound is usually acceptable (often best with headphones ) but the picture is often poor quality.
- Time needs to be spent setting up the correct settings, particularly audio
- You are dependent on an Internet connection, which can be slow.
- It is not suitable for medium or large groups of people to use, gathered round a PC, say a panel of people in a job interview situation.
- Skype ( PC/Mac)
Skype is a popular package for keeping in touch with international colleagues. It needs to be configured to disable peer to peer sharing of files and to minimise disruption to the University network. (Skype policy)
- OUCS is trialing a web conferencing service for large online meetings - see http://www.oucs.ox.ac.uk/webex/ for more information
- Ichat AV
- http://www.apple.com/ichat/ Ichat is bundled with MacOSX . It requires registering a .Mac or AIM account