Apparently Microsoft is looking at ways to improve PC to PC videoconferencing. The following was posted on March 10, 2006 on Time.com.
TIME:What other innovations are coming from your research group?
Gates: Videoconferencing is another good example. There’s more of it going on today than in the past. But it’s still not really mainstream. Even with cameras being very cheap, one thing that researchers noticed was that you look really bad in a videoconference image, because the lighting is bad and you get shadows and things. So they’re showing this software that makes you look good, that understands about shadows and bags under your eyes and highlighting the twinkle in your eye and it’s very realistic. It’s what a great makeup artist would do, but the software is doing that with this face recognition and transformation. And so it’s things like that that will take something like videoconferencing and you’ll start to use it more and you’ll start to think of it and you won’t really realize that a fairly key element was a little bit of magic software.
As Voice over IP becomes part of the everyday workplace, other benefits of this technology are also being discovered. For example, businesses are discovering unique ways to save money with VOIP technology, including savings related to adding/moving a telephone for a worker, and lower long-distance costs. At newer facilities, IT personnel can also run fewer cables to workstations (sometimes just one instead of two or more) also reducing costs.With one cable to a workstation instead of several, installation costs can drop by almost half.
Also, since VOIP customers have this technology available, they are seeing reductions in the cost of teleconferencing and videoconferencing. Traditional teleconferencing can cost six to twelve times as much as VOIP teleconferencing. Other savings are being seen for videoconferencing, which can run $200 to $300 per hour for traditional videoconferencing sessions.
However, the transition to VOIP isn’t all roses… voice-over-IP projects take more than twice the time for planning, installation and training than originally expected, according to recent research. However, once implemented, the benefits are significant, and well worth the difficulties associated with implementation.
Since these technologies are so new, it will be awhile before actual data-driven research can point definitively to the amount of savings that convergence and VOIP technologies will provide. However, those leading change are quick to point out that these technologies “improve worker productivity with unified communications and mobility integration”.
Technological development has inevitably changed the way we envision the world surrounding us. This reality has, therefore, expanded its realm of influence to the educational field. Traditional teaching, constrained to the physical boundaries of a classroom, has lost the ability to respond to the needs of a new generation of learners. Innovative teaching methods supported b
y technology have surged, in which time and place no longer confine learning from taking place.
Video Conferencing is one of the means used to provide both educational staff and learners with innovative, more exciting educational opportunities. In a simplistic perspective, it permits communication to take place with the aid of video cameras, microphones and video monitors. In a broader viewpoint however it puts people, independent of their geographical location, in contact. Videoconferencing allows, in real time, for a student in the United States, for instance, to communicate with other learners or tutor, for that matter, in any part of the world thus enlightening their educational experience. On the other hand, teachers and other educational staff are granted new resources which facilitate teaching and make it a more enjoyable process altogether.
Video Conferencing has responded to the needs of a non traditional student population as well. Currently, students with geographical, financial, time constraints are granted educational possibilities anyhow, a reality somewhat impossible a few years back. Students with physical disabilities, who cannot commute to a school, for example, are granted the same educational possibilities through videoconferencing. What’s more, it puts both institutions, in general and teachers in particular, in contact thus creating opportunities for them to share professional and personal experiences. What’s more, videoconferencing has allowed institutions stricken by financial difficulties to grant their students with quality education in any case, as they can visit a museum or zoo without leaving the comfort of their classroom.
Video Conferencing and all its potential has only given its first steps and its full potential yet to be explored.
The future is here! Remember those movies where the star is walking through an airport or coffee shop “some time” in the future and stops to make an important video call? OK so maybe it’s just me but in any case that scenario appears to be closer than you may think. Tandberg USA, a leader in the videoconferencing products industry has announced the release of the Tandberg Compass. From the Tandberg Website:
“Innovative, fully-integrated solution designed for public spaces. With simple controls, users can easily tap into resources such as information help desks, travel services and translation assistance.”
Could this be a common scene in every airport, department store, mall, or anywhere you see payphones today? It would seem that’s a more than likely possibility. These endpoints specifically designed for immediate f
ace-to-face information access in public spaces. That of course raises a few privacy concerns. Would you want to use a video phone to talk to your loved ones that anyone standing behind you can see? What about business applications. Sure it’s a great way to visually get the message accross but with eavesdroppers just feet awayhow secure is that? It’s more than likely the first issue this would pose for whatever venue attempting to impelment this is creating a privacy booth around the phone. But then, would it be abused? Would Joe User take a moment to call his fiance for a private peek show at the airport on his way to a business meeting? Would that be appropriate? How would federal wire tapping laws apply?
The desire for personal video communications is and will continue to be there. The only questions is what will we do with it once we get it.
Video Conferencing technology is all the rage among corporations. Recently educational facilities have begun taking advantage of Videoconferencing technology to support learning and education. Videoconferencing equipment can help facilitate instruction and provide distant learners with a host of resources and access to content providers, teachers, librarians and more.
More and more teachers are adopting Video Conferencing as a method of enhanced communication and instruction. Many California schools are using Videoconferencing to connect with one another and produce networks carrying large volumes of video and text data to educational facilities, teachers and students. Other people that benefit from Videoconferencing technology include librarians who can use Videoconferencing to develop strategies, provide resources and improve the quality of their service and delivery.
Video Conferencing And Learning
Video Conferencing facilitates learning by allowing remote or distant learners to meet regardless of their location. Students can take classes at multiple universities. In essence classes that are not available at one location may be available at another through Videoconferencing. Videoconferencing can also benefit non traditional students who are not able to attend classes during normal hours.
Video Conferencing can also be used as a career or employee training tool. Many colleges are now collaborating with local businesses to offer students certification and business training. Expert subject matter delivered from individuals in the field is easily delivered to students using this new technology. Student can also take advantage of mentoring services offered by companies in distant locations using Video Conferencing technology. The possibilities are virtually endless.
Those familiar with Video Conferencing might describe it as a virtual field trip around the world. Video Conferencing has the ability to connect consumers, employees and employers and students from around the word. Corporate representatives can use Videoconferencing to meet with world class experts or business executives in multiple fields, locations and within many different industries to expand their knowledge base, network and improve their strategy and procedures.
Students can use Videoconferencing to meet with experts and instructors in various fields to enhance their understanding of a particular subject or area of interest. Consumers can use Videoconferencing to explore exotic locations, vacation spots or perhaps investigate a new area to live in.
Benefits Video Conferencing
More and more individuals and organizations alike are starting to realize the benefits Video Conferencing has to offer. Videoconferencing can increase a non profit organizations ability to extend knowledge of their programs and engage in outreach efforts. Healthcare providers can use Videoconferencing to communicate with experts in their field from around the world, to solve a new case or come up with new treatment ideas or research areas.
Perhaps the biggest advantage Video Conferencing has to offer the world today is its ability to connect people from around the world so face to face communication results. This will dramatically increase man’s networking ability and our ability to explore, conquer, understand, learn and succeed for years to come. Video Conferencing truly is the wave of the future, a method for engaging in virtual field trips to any location in the world.
Video Conferencing can be used in a host of different environments, which is one of the reasons the technology is so popular. General uses for Videoconferencing include business meetings, educational training or instruction and collaboration among health officials or other representatives. Thus far Videoconferencing has been used in the following fields:
- Emergency Response
Advantages and Benefits of Video Conferencing
Perhaps the biggest advantage or benefit Video Conferencing has to offer is the ability to meet with people in remote locations without incurring travel expenses or other expenses associated with face to face communication. Business meetings, educational meetings, healthcare conferences and more can all be easily conducted thanks to Video Conferencing technology. Individuals living in remote areas can also use Video Conferencing to keep in touch if you will, with the world at large.
More people are easily accessed and contacted using Video Conferencing. Because of this technology information and knowledge are often disseminated at more rapid rates, and collaboration between people occurs more willingly and freely. Students can take advantage of Videoconferencing to take classes at distant locations that would normally be unavailable. They can also take classes that will accommodate busy schedules.
Video Conferencing can stimulate better brainstorming, knowledge sharing
and information gathering. Businesses can use Videoconferencing to provide presentations to key members of an organization or to solicit new clients in a professional manner, regardless of their location. The possibilities for communication are virtually endless thanks to Video Conferencing technologies.
What Videoconferencing Is And Is Not
Videoconferencing is nothing more than a form of technology that allows video and audio images to be transmitted from one physical location to another using cameras, video displays, and computers. Of course there are other components involved in the process of transmitting data from one part to another.
Videoconferencing is beneficial for communication with individuals located in distant or remote locations and for situations where you might want to communicate with someone that is not ordinarily accessible due to physical or other restraints.
While Videoconferencing is often used by corporations and organizations to enhance business communications, more recently it has also been used to facilitate distance education. Videoconferencing allows real time instruction from distant locations, accommodating the needs of non traditional students that might not otherwise be able to attend traditional classes.
Abstract Uses for Videoconferencing
Videoconferencing has allowed communication in areas that have formerly been restricted, like surgical operating rooms and even on the space shutt
le. Videoconferencing can be used for multiple abstract purposes, such as observing wildlife in a natural environment or to enhance surveillance and security in remote locations. Videoconferencing when combined with micro instruments can even be used to explore the organs and other features within the human body (though it is unlikely you would use Videoconferencing to communicate with the body, only to take video of the body’s organs).
Anyone interested in taking advantage of Videoconferencing should know that multiple technologies are available that provide Videoconferencing capability. Thus it is important a user decide what types of network connections, services, software video and audio equipment and other tools and systems they will need to enhance their remote communication experiences.
In order to take advantage of Videoconferencing you need the right ingredients or tools. There are some basic components that anyone, whether an organization, educational facility or individual needs before they can communicate with others using Videoconferencing technology.
Of course the most basic piece of equipment necessary is a camera. A camera will allow a user to capture video information at their site and transmit it to someone at another site. Parties using Videoconferencing will also need a video display to display the video at their site, a microphone to hear the video and speakers to play the audio material.
Most Videoconferencing terminals also require what is called a codec or Compressor/Decompressor interface. This piece of equipment helps compress information being passed from audio to video to make transmission of materials feasible over the Net. Without this piece of equipment most files would be too large to send from one computer to another. The process of compression data using a codec machine is often referred to as decoding and encoding information.
Finally, a computer and reliable internet connection are also necessary to facilitate Videoconferencing. A high speed connection is recommended to make the Videoconferencing experience not only endurable but also enjoyable. The actual computer you have is not as important as the size of your display. Remember that when using Videoconferencing equipment, the larger your display the better your picture and the more easily a time you will have ‘conferencing’ with other people on the Web.