At IU, what videoconferencing systems does UITS recommend?
Two types of H.323 videoconferencing systems are available: group systems (typically installed in conference rooms or classrooms), and personal/desktop systems (typically installed on a Windows-based desktop or laptop computer). Approximately 300 group systems are installed at Indiana University campuses and extension centers, along with an estimated 100 personal desktop systems.
On this page:
Group videoconferencing systems
Recommended group system
Because of the many variables in system offerings and features, user needs, and room conditions, UITS Collaboration Technologies strongly recommends that you email Videoconferencing Support for personal consultation and/or a site survey of your conference room or classroom before you buy.
For new purchases, upgrades, or lifecycle replacements, our most popular group system recommendations are Cisco SX and C series systems or Polycom RealPresence Group and HDX series systems. IU currently maintains a preferred vendor relationship with SKC Communications to provide special pricing discounts on Cisco and Polycom group systems for all IU campuses. For more about purchasing and prices, see the Cisco/Tandberg - SKC contractual agreement or the Polycom - SKC contractual agreement.
In smaller (7-9 seat) conference rooms, you may instead wish to use a PCVC (Personal Computer for Video Conferencing) installation; for more, see At IU, what is PCVC?
Recommended room configuration
While no single videoconferencing room configuration is appropriate for all conference rooms, consider these design guidelines:
Display size: As a general rule of thumb,
consider a 52" flat-panel monitor for 4-8 seat rooms, 60"-65" for 8-15
seats, and 80"-90" for 15 seats or more, or for rooms where the
displayed image is more than 15' from the farthest seated
viewer. Remember that you may be viewing computer text as well as
multi-pane views of remote conference participants.
Flat panel floor stands vs. wall mounting:
Reinforcing walls to allow large LCD flat panels to be wall mounted is
costly and time consuming. Certain free-standing flat panel solutions,
such as the Premier PSD-TS60, can be assembled quickly and have a
relatively shallow mounting depth (typically, the front plane of the
LCD TV will stand out from the wall only about 11"). The stand and TV
may be relocated without damage to existing walls.
Display placement: The display should be centered
on the tabletop so that each person has an unobstructed view of the
screen. When possible, consider placing the screen on the wide side
of the tabletop, rather than at the end of the table. The disadvantage
of wide-side placement is that fewer seated participants can see the
display or be captured by the camera. The advantage is that the
screen is brought much closer to those who are seated opposite the
screen, and the camera captures a far superior image of those
participants. However, wide-side placement typically works best only
in small (6-seat) conference rooms. The display should be positioned at
a height that allows the camera to be placed as closely as possible to
seated eye level.
Camera placement: The videoconferencing camera
should be placed on top of the flat panel monitor (or immediately
below the projected image) and centered on the tabletop so as to
capture the optimal view of each person's face. The camera should be
positioned as closely as possible to seated eye level, considering the
size of the display.
Microphones: Physical proximity to the microphone
is critical for optimal voice clarity. Microphones must be relatively
unobstructed by laptops and other noisemakers. Microphones shielded
against radio frequency interference (RFI) can reduce noise injected
by BlackBerries and other mobile devices. Wired microphones are much
more reliable than wireless. Typically, a single omni-directional
tabletop microphone, such as an Audio Technical U841, provides a good
trade-off among proximity, obstruction, wire clutter at the tabletop,
and RFI mitigation for a 4- to 10-seat table.
- Computer presentation: The ability to present a computer image to both the local and the remote participants easily and reliably is critical. A laptop interface cable (with audio) at the tabletop should be considered a requirement, and power at the tabletop is highly desirable.
Email Videoconferencing Support to discuss videoconferencing purchases, installation/configuration, and room configuration.
Personal/desktop videoconferencing systems
Windows users with an IU Network ID can use UniCom to connect to a videoconference; see At IU, how can I create or join a videoconference?
Windows or Mac users who need to connect to the IU Video Bridge for a single videoconference event or series (e.g., a guest lecturer or distance education student) can use Cisco Jabber Video for TelePresence (Movi). To request a Jabber Video account, complete the Jabber Video (Movi) Account Request form. An IU sponsor can use the same form to request a Jabber Video account for non-IU users. See At IU, how do I configure and use Cisco Jabber Video for TelePresence (Movi)?
- Communicator 2011 for Mac and Lync for Mac do not support video
calls to conferences on the IU Video Bridge. However, you can use the Mac
Communicator or Lync clients to join a conference on the IU Video
Bridge as an audio-only participant. Add
Xwith your conference number) to your contact list, and then right-click the contact and select
Call Contact on Communicator.
Note: If you use the IU Video Bridge technology, UITS recommends not upgrading to Office 2013 yet. The Lync 2013 client cannot make video calls to conferences on the IU Video Bridge (e.g.,
firstname.lastname@example.org) or direct calls to conference room systems. These calls will connect as audio only. If you do upgrade to 2013 but still need to participate with video in IU Video Bridge calls, you can request a Cisco Jabber Video for TelePresence (Movi) account as an alternative.
- IU no longer provides support for XMeeting due to lack of
development in the open source XMeeting software stack.
- Skype is not supported for use in the IU videoconferencing environment because it uses a proprietary video-encoding algorithm that is not interoperable with IU's H.323/SIP videoconferencing infrastructure.
For help, email Videoconferencing Support.
Last modified on May 24, 2013.