Video and Audio Conferencing – How it works, the basics
Excel AV Group specializes in the design and install of all types of AV systems for all types of clients. In the past many years the growth of video and audio conferencing has been substantial due to personal desktop use growth and less travel to save cost for meetings. Web services such as Skype, Go To Meeting and WebEx just to name a few make the most basic use of conferencing a reality for all people young and old. What most companies don’t realize is that while a simple video chat is easy and simple for a desktop/tablet user an actual video and or audio conference in a meeting room is a whole different thing. Here are the basics, what to watch out for and how to do it right:
In business it’s about collaboration – It’s one thing to have audio and video between two parties connected over the internet it’s another thing to have document sharing, PowerPoint presentations, collaboration etc.
What equipment is required? – Most business video conferencing is done via a bridge service from the most basic such as Go to Meeting or Web Ex to a full on “Virtual Conference Room”. The bridge service is most basically software and internet, it’s not hardware.
Stand alone systems – Excel AV Group sells and installs video and audio conferencing systems from manufacturers such as Polycom, Tandberg, Radvision, LG and Lifesize. This equipment is what we would call a hardware based CODEC or coder decoder. The equipment takes the audio, video and collaboration content and encodes it to be sent to the other party on the other side of the call. IMPORTANT – It’s very important to understand that some of the software based systems will do the same thing as this hardware however once you are in a meeting room environment the software based systems many times don’t have the power or features that stand alone equipment has. Excel AV Group can help you specify the right equipment.
Camera systems – There are many choices when it comes to video camera systems for video conferencing in however there are some real pitfalls to watch out for. All consumer USB based cameras are not meant to cover a full conference room shot. Most users find this out the hard way and try to use say a Logitech web cam to conduct a video and audio conference in a conference room. Not only does the camera not cover the entire room but the audio mic on the camera is terrible. This is where room integration with an actual AV system comes in. Excel AV Group uses cameras from vendors such as Vaddio and their Clearview HD-USB camera solution. Users can pan/tilt, zoom in and out etc.
Good microphones – Excel AV Group will design the right microphones from manufactures such as Audio Technica or Electrovoice to pick up voices in your room. Manu boundry style mics offer “push to talk” features etc. Many of these table mics can be wired or wireless as well and integrated into the conference room. The quality of the audio heard on the other side is paramount to a good quality video and audio conference.
Audio Processing– Excel AV Group provides audio DSP “digital signal processors” from companies such as Symetrix that allow for “gain sharing” of audio and “echo cancelling” so that the audio is managed automatically between parties. This one component is usually missed and is the source of most frustration in these types of systems.
Managed services – By far the biggest need we at Excel AV Group see in the marketplace with respect to video conferencing is the need for a managed service to facilitate and service the call. Because there are still no exact open standards with respect to video conferencing setting up calls between parties around the world can be problematic due to differences in equipment and standards. A managed service can provide you a “virtual conference room” so that you simply invite your other party to it and your managed service provider makes sure the call connects properly and everything works. Call Excel AV Group today to learn what managed services we can offer through our exclusive partner Video Guidance.
All in one conferencing solutions – Excel AV Group sells and installs the popular Clary.Icon OneScreen. This innovative product brings together web conferencing, collaboration, and touchscreen interactive whiteboard in one product. Excel AV Group has installed this product at various customer sites and added slave displays, ceiling speakers and microphones for a true integrated conferencing system. Click here for a video demo of the popular OneScreen.
If you would like to learn more about conferencing solutions for your organization please contact Excel AV Group today!