Voice and Video Conferencing Fundamentals

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Now, video is built into our PCs and smartphones. People have changed.

They are as comfortable with selfies and YouTube videos as older folks are with email and telephones. Every year these young people make up a larger portion of the workforce and their comfort with seeing and being seen is contagious. Work styles have certainly changed, too. Companies are embracing the results oriented, geographically distributed workplace. Project teams are spread out across the country and the world. We are a visual species and seeing the face of your coworker is important to building an effective working relationship.

Lastly, networks have changed. Switches and routers have been upgraded to be Quality of Service aware.



The Ethernet pipes to our desks have been beefed up. Wireless and 4G are everywhere.

Unfortunately, I find that not everyone is as smart about video conferencing as they need to be. So, for the next page or so, allow me to speak about some of the terms and components that I am sure you will encounter as you make your way towards video conferencing. A Codec Coder Decoder is what converts the analog signal that a video camera captures to a digital signal that can be transmitted on an IP network.

This data is often compressed to minimize network bandwidth usage. This was pre-IP, though, and we ran H. It did well for the time, though, and we were able to get close to the gold standard of ten frames per second. A few years after H. An audio codec such as AMR was needed to transmit voice. Of course, like most things in the world of unified communications, technology and standards are constantly being upgraded and for the most part, H. Although H. SVC makes video available on tablets and mobile phones. Besides video conferencing, H.

Stay tuned for future developments, though. No one stays king forever and VP8 has a number of things going for it.

Explains Video Conferencing Standards, Terminology and Protocols

A companion piece to this article can be found at Calculating Bandwidth for Video Calls. A codec expresses how video is encoded, but you need a signaling protocol to create, manage, and release video calls. SIP may have started as the protocol for desktops, but the big room systems are quickly converting to SIP. After setup, point-to-point video can travel directly between the two clients.

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However, it becomes difficult, if not impossible, to create multi-party video calls without something between the endpoints. An MCU is a bridge or media mixer that allows three or more endpoints to be part of the same video call. An MCU for video is similar to a conference bridge for audio calls. Depending upon the capabilities of the MCU, the participants in a video conference may see all the other parties in the call or simply the active speaker.

Telepresence is video conferencing with a strict set of rules as to how it is implemented. For instance, telepresence defines how the conference room must be set up.

It specifies how the camera, speakers, tables, and chairs are arranged. It sets guidelines for the network that carries the video traffic. In the end, though, a Cadillac is a fancy car and telepresence is simply well-defined video conferencing. For many years, video conferences took place in dedicated rooms that only a few people in a company knew how to operate. Now, video conferences can be created, and often managed, on PCs, tablets, smartphones, and video-enabled desk phones. Video systems have evolved to be able to simultaneously handle media streams from participants of all types.

The same call might consist of Linda in a video conference room, Andrew on his iPhone, Dave on his iPad, and Susan on her Android phone. An MCU would handle any transcoding or conversions and each endpoint would display video according to its specifications. Studies have shown that providing video on devices that users are already comfortable using greatly increases its adoption rate. Like every other aspect of IP communications, video conferencing is finding a home in the cloud.

Video Conferencing Standards and Terminology

Blue Jeans, Lifesize, Zoom, GoTo Meeting, and a number of other offerings exist today that allow you to schedule and participate in a video conference with little more than a PC, camera, and a set of speakers. Pricing models differ for the various offerings, but each claims to lower the overall cost of video conferencing. Firestone, Scott. Physical Description xx, p. Language English View all editions Prev Next edition 3 of 3. Other Authors Ramalingam, Thiya.

Fry, Steve. Edition 1st ed. Subjects Videoconferencing. Internet telephony. Contents Ch.

Overview of conferencing services Ch. Conferencing system design and architecture Ch. Fundamentals of video compression Ch. Media control and transport Ch. Signaling protocols : conferencing using SIP Ch. Signaling protocols : conferencing using H. Lip synchronization in video conferencing Ch. Security design in conferencing App. Video codec standards.

Notes Formerly CIP. Includes bibliographical references and index. Dewey Number View online Borrow Buy Freely available Show 0 more links Set up My libraries How do I set up "My libraries"? Reid Library. Open to the public.