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Video Teleconferencing Defined

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Video conferencing combines the audio and video media to provide both voice communications and television pictures. The images may be graphics, objects, people, room views - virtually anything that can be captured by a television camera. Some video conferencing systems are fully interactive with two-way video and audio. Others provide one-way video accompanied by two-way audio; this type of video conferencing is commonly referred to today as business television.

To be included in the area of teleconferencing, video systems should be interactive; that is, they should allow a two-way flow of information between a minimum of two groups or three individuals at separate locations.

The major advantage of video teleconferencing technology, in comparison to audio or audio graphics, is that it enables people to see others at remote locations as if they were in the same room. For many users, this ability creates a social presence that resembles face-to-face meetings. It also enables participants to see the expressions and physical demeanor of participants, a quality that may be needed for certain situations.

Rollabouts and Transportables:
As an alternative to a permanent video conference room with installed equipment, a number of vendors have introduced transportable systems. In a transportable system, the video equipment is integrated into a tabletop, console or rollabout cabinet. It includes one or more cameras, one or more monitors, associated electronics, and control system to display pictures of participants.

Some units also have audio equipment and a graphics camera integrated into the same console as the video. In other systems, the graphics equipment resides in another matching console.

Organizations considering implementing video conferencing can reduce the cost of custom conferencing rooms by going to a rollabout system. These are built at a factory and can be brought into existing conference rooms. These systems are reasonable alternatives to rooms requiring full design and engineering work. Whether an organization wants to with an integrated video conferencing system or a totally redesigned and constructed video conference room, is a matter of organizational style.

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