We use GoToMeeting here at the office, and they’ve said for awhile now that they were rolling out video conferencing. Since that hasn’t happened, I was just curious to see what other people are using out there in the world. Is Skype a decent alternative? Are there other more obvious options I’m missing?
We use a bit of everything. Microsoft Livemeeting is used a lot in-house as is direct connect with Office Communicator. With partners we often use gotomeeting, or webex. We also have many rooms that use hardware based videoconferencing, but only recently found out that by adding one extra piece of hardware, we can connect directly from PC’s to those meeting rooms with a simple client piece, I think it’s called Tandberg Movi.
If you already use an IM for your company I would see what options there are to add that since most people aren’t afraid of using that as a client, either to connect or conference.
I was looking at WebEx, and then someone else suggested PolyCom as well. It came down to me today that they may be looking to set up a room for this type of thing, which PolyCom seemed to have decent set ups for. Do you guys have dedicated video conferencing rooms? What’s used in them?
We have three different systems of teleconference rooms. Our lowest end is Polycom based but don’t take that as a mark against them, it’s just our oldest equipment. It’s fairly easy to set up and use, with a standard IP based setup and public connections allowed if set up through your corporate firewall. These are on carts, but they were older equipment and have tie-ins to phones and such making them less mobile. I’d say we have about 30 of those sites, they have fallen out of use though since we have newer alternatives. It’s worth looking at their new equipment though, it’s probably similar to …
Tandberg - We use these as the mid-tier conferencing room sites. They are all HD, and we have an internet gateway for them that allows any and all to make/receive public video calls. These are the units that also allow the Tandberg desktop software to connect from a PC/laptop with a camera as well. This is nice in that we can have someone in a small place, customer location, etc, connect back in to others viewing in a conference room. These systems are all on mobile carts as well, which allows us to move them to where they are needed.
Cisco Telepresence - This is the top tier, we have them in 6 locations currently. They are a fully dedicated room, and they are quite expensive, or at least they were when we bought all of them a few years ago. It looks absolutely beautiful, like being there in the room across the conference table with the remote group. But they are not cheap, nor easy to set up. Since we were bought by a foreign company, this has been the technology used to do board room meetings back and forth and it’s saved quite a bit of travel fees in the process.
I honestly can’t recall the names of the video conferencing we’ve use because we always end up going back to GoToMeeting without video. We just can’t seem to keep people from attending meetings in their pajamas. I’d just be happy if GTM would support sharing audio along with the desktop. Demoing a product for which audio is a major element and having to say “if you were doing this yourself on your own computer you would hear…” is annoying.
We just installed the full Tandberg infrastructure (internal/external gateway, bridge, ISDN gateway, TMS) along with half a dozen C20’s. It’s complicated to configure but it is pretty nice! We’ve toyed with limited desktop video (Movi), but I honestly can’t see the business value in it. Once you’ve talked face to face via video once, the thrill is gone and it is just plain simpler to pick up the phone or chat.
Cisco telepresence is damn cool, but we can’t justify the cost
These will be meetings with outside clients, so there will be no pajamas involved. I would go so far as to say that they will be relatively serious dealings, heh, so that’s not a concern. I’ll look at Tandberg as well. I’m still feeling out exactly what they expect, but I definitely want something where the price of admission is just a computer and a webcam. Who knows that these other companies will be using.
Just make sure you have QOS, as you don’t want to create congestion on the network, or god forbid have jerky, blocky HD video calls!
We allocate 1.5 mbps minimum dedicated per endpoint, that is fine for 720p