Videoconferencing (VC) is primarily a synchronous, long distance, e-collaboration tool. Although it offers interpersonal features with some degree of media richness and social presence, it is not a perfect substitute for face-to-face communication. VC can add value in business situations where telephone, text chat, or audio conferencing do not provide adequate secondary communication channels such as nonverbal cues (tone of voice, inflection) and interactions (body language). VC also adds value where it is impossible or undesirable to conduct a personal meeting. Currently there exists an opportunity for organizations and individuals to derive enormous benefit from this medium when used appropriately with necessary tactics and skills, especially when multiple parties are involved in e-collaboration.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Network Address Translation (NAT): A method of converting a private IP address into a public one using port numbers. This is done so that a single public IP address can be utilized at an organization’s default gateway to server multiple private IP addresses within the organization’s internet. It is often used by a hardware firewall.
Endpoints: These are locations from which videoconferences are broadcast or received. Typical endpoints may be a computer-based desktop unit with appropriate software, Webcam, speakers, and overhead projector; a conference room unit which is a device that integrates audio/video reception/broadcast for a meeting room setting; or a class room unit that projects the conference to a screen.
Internet2: A network proposed and being constructed by consortium of universities, industries and government groups which will implement high speed Internet connections using leading edge technology and innovative applications, with a goal of establishing partnerships to enhance research and the broader Internet community.
Codec: A software coder-decoder that transforms video and audio streams into packets transmitted over a network and then returned to viewable and displayable form at the receiving endpoint.
Videoconferencing: A real-time e-collaboration technology phenomenon which enables individuals at different locations to communicate with each other via video monitors and speakers.
Integrated Digital Services Network (ISDN): A telephone communications technique that allows the simultaneous transmission of audio, video and data over the same telephone network utilizing circuit switching.
DSL: Digital Subscriber Line (formerly known as T1), it consists of 24 channels of 64 Kbps bandwidth (+ 8 Kbps control). It is a leased line with 24/7 access.