Collaboration – Why this is a critical part of videoconferencing


FCollaboration or sharing documents is critical in any videoconference.  If you cannot easily collaborate in a videoconference the equipment is falling way short of what should be expected.  If you look carefully at the variety of hosted web based conferencing solutions like GoToMeeting and WebEx you can see how collaboration works.  The big problem with these solutions is that they operate in communication silos.  In others words they are not part of the ITU, (International Telecommunication Union), protocols. (See article What is the difference between proprietary conferencing and standards based videoconferencing?”)

All newer videoconferencing CODEC’s, (Coder Decoder – commonly referred to as the videoconferencing system), have the ITU standards based H.239 or duo video protocol which allows collaboration. This means you can be on any videoconference and simply plug a computer into the CODEC via VGA connection, hit one button on the remote and eureka you are collaborating.  You can share spread sheets, Power Point, or anything on your computer in real time. The really neat thing about this standards based collaboration protocol is that it sends two video streams simultaneously to the far end. Your audience sees both you and the secondary input from your computer or document camera.  It’s just like you’re in the room up front standing next to the screen.

Think about all the meetings you are in whereby you collaborate using an LCD projector.  Your videoconferencing system should be no different and just as easy to connect.  If it doesn’t easily connect for collaboration you have the wrong CODEC. The good news is that most videoconferencing manufacturers make it very easy to connect a computer or document camera to the back of the CODEC.

Most bridging or hosted services accommodate Duo Video or H.239.  This means if you have multiple participants they will see you and your computer or document camera input simultaneously.   Before subscribing or hiring a hosted service make sure they operate through the ITU standards and provide duo video.  Additionally, if you are presenting from a computer on a video conference, duo video should operate in exactly the same way sending your live video feed from your webcam and computer input.

The ITU standards are gravitational pull in videoconferencing technology.  These standards really accelerated the development of the technology.  ITU Standards are getting more refined and manufacturers can easily build towards them.  Over time videoconferencing access will be as ubiquitous and easily to connect as our cell phone and email and text messaging. There will be no more worry about what app someone is using.

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