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Advanced Video Conferencing - Professional Solutions

Video conferencing is basically the integration of audio and video elements into a data system to allow two or more people to communicate simultaneously over a telecommunications medium. Instead of being in the same room, video conferencing will allow individuals located in different geographic locations to conduct a meeting.

The main components of video conferencing are cameras, microphones, appropriate software and equipment as well as a high bandwidth data transmission to relay information back and forth among the parties involved.

Basic video conferencing works by having a computer codec (short for code-decode) convert analog information captured by a microphone (sound) and camera (image) into digital signals. This digitized information is cut up into manageable units of information called packets. These packets are sent down the data transmission line and are received by the other party where the same codec retranslates the digital data into analog audio and video signals.

Advanced video conferencing still works on the same premise, only at a much more sophisticated level. Most basic video conferencing use the Internet and a high speed Internet connection to facilitate a session. The problem with this is that even with high bandwidth access, the Internet can still cause more hiccups in the system because of having so many computers involved. This can therefore result in choppy images and sounds. This can be very distracting and irritating, especially when your meeting will last more than an hour.

To address this problem, advanced video conferencing systems use a dedicated line to transmit not only TV quality audio and video signals to the meeting parties, but also other forms of data information like pictures, sound clips and office files. Some systems can actually support a virtual whiteboard where parties can write on the same board. Another feature of advanced video conferencing is a moderation control where you can control who hears what in a conference (something you cannot do in a real life meeting).

However, because of these beefed up features, this level of video conferencing can cost quite an amount. That is why there are companies that offer the rental of a facility and/or equipment to parties interested in advanced video conferencing. If you live within a business district, there is bound to be an outfit in your area that offers such services.

Tips in conducting a successful video conference:

1. Have a clear agenda prepared before the meeting and have all pertinent documents and visual aids ready.
2. Plan the conference as far in advance as possible (especially for overseas calls) to allow for necessary coordination with either the rental facility or with the IT department of your organization.
3. Have the participants be at their conferencing facility 10 to 15 minutes before the meeting begins so that enough time is given to final preparations. Making people wait for one particular individual may aggravate the other parties.
4. Avoid wearing strong-colored clothing (too light or too dark) as this has a distracting effect on video cameras.

An advanced video conference or not, these preparation tips will help make your video conferencing a successful one. In the selection of what video conference system to use, weigh the pros and cons. One may not necessarily be better than the other. It is simply a matter of knowing what you need and the parameters (budget included) you have set to get it.


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