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Videoconferencing

Videoconferencing is a real-time, fully interactive video connection between two or more persons in different locations. Solutions are available for individuals and groups, for two or more locations, and where Ethernet or phone network connections are required. 

Personal Conferencing

Personal conferencing, or desktop conferencing, is achieved with a camera-equipped personal computer and a software client that is used at both ends of the call. The participants' voice, image, and computer content are all shared in the conference. Many personal conferencing services are free and easy to use.

Please be aware of the following:

  • Participants may need to wear headphones to keep the incoming audio from feeding back to the other participants (which may cause a distracting echo) 
  • Embedded or USB cameras work well for a single person but can't easily be zoomed, panned, or focused to show additional participants
  • Desktop conferencing software services are often proprietary - all parties in the conference must be using the same software.   

Personal conferencing is well suited for informal use between individuals. Contact your department's IT support office for more information about desktop conferencing applications.

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Group Conferencing

Group conferencing is achieved with a specialized videoconferencing appliance that is used at each location.  The appliance (often referred to as a "VTC" or "room system" or "endpoint") has one or more remote controlled cameras and microphones to support group-to-group interaction.  Group conferencing is ideal for small and medium sized groups.  Appliances communicate through a standard protocol: any appliance connected to an Ethernet jack will conference with any other appliance connected to an Ethernet jack.  Group conferencing typically requires scheduling a specially equipped room or paying for technical support to set up a portable system.

To learn more, please download Videoconferencing Best Practices (Microsoft Word document.)

Contacts for Group Conferencing:

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Hosted/Bridged Conferencing (Multiple Site Conferences)

Some videoconference systems can only initiate a call to one other system. When more than two sites need to participate in a conference, and when none of the sites has the ability to initiate multiple calls, all of the sites need to connect to a hosting/bridging service. 

Most college videoconferencing systems connect via the Internet (IP). Many corporate videoconferencing systems connect via a specialized phone service (ISDN). A hosting/bridging service is required to join these systems in a call.

A hosting/bridging service can also stream a conference in real time so that it may be observed by non-participants on the web

Your campus videoconference provider can make hosting / bridging arrangements for you.  See Group Conferencing.

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Tips for Success

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Last Updated: 7/21/10