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  • 1. Videoconferencing over the Internet(Its not science-fiction any more and its easier than you think.) Greg Scott. InfraSupport Etc. Corporation February, 2005

2. Pictures are worth 1000 words 3. 1000 more words 4. Agenda

  • Some opening comments
  • Who is this skinny bald guy?
  • Myths, lies, and misconceptions about videoconferencing
  • True statements about videoconferencing
  • A humble opinion
  • Problems and opportunities
  • Assessing the impact
  • A vision
  • The solution
  • Next steps
  • Feedback

5. Who Is This Skinny Bald Guy?

  • Been in the IT industry since I had hair on my head in 1979
  • Worked at Digital Equipment Corporation for 12 1/2 years
    • OpenVMS Ambassador emeritus
  • Launched InfraSupport in 1999
  • Enough technical certifications to populate an acronym dictionary
  • Windows Heartland Column for ENT Magazine.
  • Converts Corner Column for Enterprise Linux Magazine.
  • A technology entrepreneur since 1994.
  • I did technology before it was cool and I still do it now when its no longer cool.

6. Myths, Lies, and Misconceptions about Videoconferencing

  • Its hard to do
  • It doesnt work reliably
  • Normal people dont do it only the President and his generals supported by an army of technicians
  • Its expensive
    • Even if we could afford the equipment, the cost for telecom to move sound and video is out of reach
    • Nobody can afford the equipment anyway
    • Even if we could afford the equipment, nobody would know how to use it.
  • This is hogwash!!

7. True Statements about Videoconferencing

  • Setting it up requires expertise.Using it is easy.
  • It works as reliably as the Internet.
  • I know several normal families with loved ones serving in Iraq who do it.
  • It does not need to be expensive
    • I routinely do videoconference sessions to Iraq across the Internet with really lousy bandwidth
    • Equipment prices start at a few hundred bucks
    • If you can turn on a TV, you can do videoconferencing
  • Dont listen to the FUD!
  • (FUD = Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt)

8. A humble opinion about Videoconferencing

  • Videoconferencing over the Internet is the next big application.
  • In a few years, videoconferencing will be as common as todays high-end telephone.
  • Videoconferencing will drive the resurgence of a much smarter telecom industry.
  • and in the process, change the way we live and work again.
  • You heard it here first!

9. Problems and opportunities - transportation

  • Our roads are too crowded and theyre getting more crowded every year.
  • We dont have enough money to build enough transit to move everyone that wants to move across town.
  • Even if we did have the money for more roads and moremass transit, how many neighborhoods and businesses are we willing to destroy to make room?

10. Problems and Opportunities Education

  • Our school systems are squeezed harder each year as state and federal deficits explode.
  • No Child Left Behind puts even more burden on schools.How do schools pay for certified teachers, especially for specialty classes?
  • How can we expose students to the ever-expanding body of knowledge in the world without busting ever-shrinking budgets?

11. Problems and Opportunities Medical

  • Health care costs keep rising despite the efforts of insurance companies, HMOs, and government.
  • Top health care is out of reach for many poor families across the USA and around the world
  • Rural areas of the US are losing doctors at an alarming rate.

12. Problems and opportunities - Military

  • The United States has thousands of families separated from loved ones serving in harms way overseas.
  • Regardless of anyones political position about US involvement overseas, this situation will continue for the foreseeable future.

13. Assessing the impact

  • How much is 2+ hours of commuting time worth every day?
  • Assuming a 10 mile commute to work and 20mpg, you pay roughly $2 for gas every day to go to work.
  • That doesnt count parking, wear and tear on the car, or other out of pocket expenses.

What happens to education when schools cant afford to operate? What happens when the best medical care is too far away to do any good? What happens to families torn apart by prolonged separation from loved ones? If we keep doing things the same way, what results can we expect? 14. A Vision

  • What if we could drive to work, on average, 4 days per week instead of 5?
  • What if schools could share teachers, especially specialty teachers, for everyones benefit?
  • What if students could go on field trips overseas without leaving the classroom?
  • What if a family from North Dakota could routinely see a doctor in New York?
  • What if families could meet face to face with loved ones serving overseas without leaving town?
  • What if my mother-in-law could visit me face to face any time she wants?(gotta think about this one a little bit)

15. Solution

  • We can do videoconferencing across the Internet right now.
  • With this technology, we can meet face to face with anybody, anywhere on the planet, any time we want.
  • Depending on what we want to do, costs for a videoconferencing station range from a few hundred bucks per site, all the way up to 6 figures.
  • You also need a decent broadband Internet connection and properly built firewall.
  • Remember this acronym H.323.All standards need a dot in the name.Its one of the unwritten rules of life.
    • H.323 is a worldwide standard that defines how videoconferencing works.
    • Just like any telephone should talk to any other telephone, any H.323 compliant device should talk to any other H.323 compliant device.
    • The big players right now are Polycom, Tandberg, Sony, and Microsoft

16. Solution Plumbing

  • All faucets, no matter how nice looking, require plumbing to make water flow.
  • Videoconference stations also require telecom plumbing
    • Broadband Internet connection with at least 256kb
    • Some kind of display, generally a TV or computer monitor
    • A reasonably quiet room without lots of background noise(Dont try to run a videoconference with a noisy jackhammer running outside!)
    • Static IP Address to receive calls
    • Put it behind a properly configured firewall.
    • (Quick commercial)InfraSupport builds firewalls.

17. Solution - Low End personal videoconferencing

  • Use any Windows XP PC with a decent video card and USB adapter.
  • Buy a little webcam for less than $100 from your favorite office supply store.
  • Use a free Instant Messaging program such as Yahoo Chat, AOL IM, or MSN.
  • Video really isnt.
  • Quality is not good
  • But its cheap.You can do it for $20 on each end.

18. Solution personal videoconferencing next step up

  • Using that same webcam, buy Polycom PVX software for $150.
  • Configuration can be tricky.
  • You should be able to call out with any broadband connection.
  • To accept calls, you will need a static IP Address and properly configured firewall.
  • I tested this recently with a friend who used Comcast Internet
  • Next step up:
  • Replace the webcam with a Polycom ViaVideo II camera
  • This includes the same PVX software.
  • A little nicer camera and, depending on the PC video adapter, a little smoother video.
  • This will do true 30 frame per second in a window on your computer.
  • List price is around $500.

19. Solution set top systems in conference rooms

  • Connect a set-top box to a TV on one end and the network on the other end.
  • The set-top box has a built-in video camera, microphone, and network gear.
  • Configure it and make calls with a remote-control.

Local Network The Internet A/Vcables Firewall 20. Picture of a Polycom V500 set top camera connected to a TV 21. More videoconferencing notes

  • Bandwidth and Internet connection requirements are the same, low end to high end.
  • The Polycom V500 lists for roughly $2000.
  • High-end Tandberg and Polycom units cost $3000 to $10,000 or more
  • High-end units include lots of extra features, such the ability to:
    • record sessions to a VCR or DVD recorder
    • Display on multiple monitors
    • Accept input from multiple microphones for very large rooms
    • Zoom and tilt the camera with the remote control
    • Remotely control the far-end camera
    • Handle multiple calls, generally up to 4, splitting the display among calls.
  • Some units come with built-in large LCD or plasma monitors.

22. The Ultimate setup The Internet Bridge connects everyone to everyone else End user stations

  • N-way calls via the Internet.
  • Everyone calls the bridge site.
  • Everyone can see and interact with everyone else.
  • The bridge site is typically run bya videoconference service.
  • You buy time from the service to do the call.
  • Capital cost for the bridge site can run into 6 or even 7 figures.
  • End user stations could be any of the ones I mentioned earlier.

23. Next Steps (A Commercial)

  • Lets work together to reap the benefits.
  • InfraSupport wants to partner with you to make this happen.

24. Q & A

  • Lets get started right now!
  • Contact me at:
    • Greg Scott - InfraSupport Etc.
    • (651) 260-1051
    • [email_address]