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CLASS: INSS 690 Research Paper
PROFESSOR: John Meinke
DATE: August 1, 1999
TOPIC: Video Desktop Tools & Business
PRESENTED BY: Brian Smith
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In today's global market, business relies heavily on all forms of communication.
Effective communication is a very powerful business tool. Video Teleconference
Communication (VTC) systems provide major businesses with the virtual tools
necessary for building a new era in conferencing. Each business will need to evaluate
long term goals and strategic decisions before entering the VTC market. Areas such
as hardware and software, network infrastructure and other issues must be addressed
with each business. There have been several case studies completed in both large and
small communities that support the validity of investing in a VTC system. In the near
future, with Distance Education taking an active part in linking classrooms around the
world, for example, VTC systems will grow. A business with a solid VTC system is a
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a. scope of video conference for business
2. Four eras of video conferencing
a. custom room
c. desktop initiative
3. Hardware and software
a. DSP chips
5. Problems with VTC
a. complicated systems
6. Positive attributes
a. sense of presence
b. social impact
-schools, students, faculty, community
- business needs
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8. VTC systems
9. Quality gauges
a. frames per second
b. return on investment
a. entertainment industry
c. medical field
d. corporate training
e. distance education
Thesis Statement: Video Telephone Conferencing (VTC) is gaining a market as a
business communication tool. Organizations that use Video Conferencing as a
communication tool, in today's market, will gain competitive advantage over
businesses that do not.
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Video conferencing is a rapidly developing area in the realm of information
technology. This is a viable topic because many businesses are moving toward
desktop video conferencing as a form of communication. Current technologies in
business consist of phone, fax, e-mail, web, post mail and in-person conferences.
Computer based video conferencing is a new format made from a combination of
several current technologies. The new video conference format is virtual, in-person
contact which takes place in real time.
There are several technological issues that have helped to significantly open
the video conferencing market to businesses. The associated costs of the
infrastructure have decreased. Computer networks that can handle the high
bandwidth of video conferencing have dropped in price. Computers are growing in
processing speed while decreasing in price. Huge costs to businesses, such as large
in-person conferences, can be reduced with video conferencing. Costs related to
finding meeting space, transportation to conferences, and lodging can be replaced by
using video telephone conferencing.
Although video conferencing is a growing area of interest that will become a
major factor in many business decisions, the future growth of desktop video has not
yet been fully realized. It includes areas such as: distance education, training,
delivery of information, and entertainment. These are areas of large growth which
should develop into viable business needs in the years to come.
In the last few years, computers and businesses have blended even further.
Businesses have come to rely heavily on computers. To gain a leading edge over
other competitors, businesses strive for the competitive advantage. Nearly all types
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and sizes of companies depend on computer technology to gain the advantage. From
small family run stores to conglomerate corporations, they both need computer
technology to assist with strategic business decisions. Many businesses today use
the internet for communication. From on-line advertisement to corporate
communication, internet tools for business communication are gaining in popularity.
Not too long ago, businesses communicated primarily through personal meetings or
paper mail. These forms of communication are still widely used today; however,
communication through new technology is gaining popularity.
This paper will discuss emerging communication tools used with large
organizations and universities. Both businesses have a substantial interest in video
conferencing as well as the time and money needed to invest in the system. In order to
gain a strong reference point for the improvements in VTC hardware, a background of
previous VTC processes are needed.
Hinman (1999) describes the four eras in VTC: In the Custom Room Era,
Codec boards were installed and used in a coder/decoder machine, which was
installed in a custom built conference room. The size of these Codecs were relatively
large and bulky. Each system costs about $100,00.00. For the system to work,
businesses needed to outfit two different offices with identical systems. Also, special
technical employees were needed to maintain the equipment.
In the Roll-about Era, in the late 1980’s, Codecs were made to be smaller and
more portable, hence the name Roll-about. Users could roll the equipment into a room
and set it up in a small area. This type of equipment cost half the price of custom
room era machines.
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In the Desktop Initiative era, these systems were built for the desktop
computer. The computer monitor is used for the display with a small camera and
microphone attached nearby. Today, these systems are mainly used in the home
consumer market, because processing power from outfitted desktops still produces a
low end picture. This version, however, is available at a low cost, which has much
appeal for the average home computer owner. Typical hardware counted in this
category include the $99 Quick Cam Camera and related software. The device is a
simple video camera designed to work over existing telephone lines and through a
standard computer modem. Although video quality greatly varies depending on
network traffic, it is acceptable for personal entertainment use.
In the one of the current eras, the Set-Top era, the trend is VTC equipment. In
this hardware category, the typical desktop computer is taken out of the equipment.
The products are designed for portable use. The normal desktop functions are taken
out of the system, which frees system resources for digital processing of the video.
Since the hardware is specifically used for video transmission, this solution is more
clean and it provides a much higher quality picture. This category is designed for
professional business systems, . One type is the Viewstation MP (Multi-Point) from
All four types of VTCs are still in use today. Most businesses have upgraded
the equipment and are now following the current trend with hardware independent
systems. Since the VTC market has improved in size and cost, more businesses are
entering the market.
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To allow VTC devices to communicate properly, the existing hardware
infrastructure must be examined. Today, fiber optic lines are being used with most
businesses. Major businesses and universities have invested in fiber lines. Fiber
optics allow huge amounts of voice, data and video imagery to be transmitted
instantaneously. This sets the stage for the use of interactive video conferencing
Today’s high end VTC equipment is based mainly on hardware: Digital Signal
Processing (DSP) chips and integrated Reduced Instruction Set Computing (RISC)
chips are used. Software for higher end systems, such as Viewstation, are integrated
into the system. The current trend of VTC systems is to use set top devices.
Software for these are minimal in situations where the desktop computer has been
eliminated. This is a major advantage, because it allows system resources to be used
more effectively for compressing video. The Viewstation, however, does provide an
embedded web server and Ethernet hub for remote system management. There is an
easy connection port which allows the user to add a desktop PC for multi-media
presentations through such applications as Microsoft’s PowerPoint (ViewStation MP).
The largest software issue is the International Telecommunications Union
(ITU) standard for packet switched conferencing, H.323. This standard brings
together users from all types of VTC hardware and software (Weil, 1997). H.323 is a
communication standard, completed in 1996, which defines Video Teleconferencing
terminal operations over packet networks such as Ethernet LANs and the internet
The H.323 standard provides a means of transmitting audio, video, and data
signals over the existing, and evolving, communication networks. In general,
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the data component is transmitted by means of the T.120. The T.120 specifies
how computer data, such as white boards and spreadsheets, can be
collaboratively shared between VTC users (Schaphorst, 1999).
The ITU committee has worked hard to ensure that all types of VTC will work
together. From packet switching (internet) to circuit-switched networks (ISDN) all
systems are coming together for easy integration.
Since users will not only listen to but also watch their business partner on the
screen, several etiquette rules have been developed to ensure effective video
conferences. These guidelines stated by Andres, will help end users maintain a
professional attitude and ensure high quality video.
1. Lighting – The better the lighting, the better the viewing experience. If the video
is dark and murky, the end user will have trouble concentrating.
2. Eye Contact – As with any form of personal communication, eye contact is often
very important. The speaker and listener must maintain a level of eye contact.
3. Audio – In using VTC, audio is half the experience. The speaker must talk loud
and distinct. If the conference involves more than two people, each person must
be patient and careful not to overlap conversations. This may feel a bit awkward
in a conference setting, however, clear audio is essential. The distinct sounds of a
conference give social cues and have been shown to elicit perceptions that one
computer is made up of multiple distinct entities.
4. Props – Various visual aids will help with the video presentation. The designers
of VTC systems have worked hard to incorporate visual aids, such as whiteboards.
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5. Interaction – The main reason for using live video is to allow viewers to interact
with each other. VTC’s are not recommended for one-way broadcasts.
6. Appearance – It is important for participants to remember that they are on camera
at all times. Because they communicating with a virtual image, they may forget
their actions are also being transmitted .
7. Moderator – A well planned conference requires a moderator to lead discussions
and keep the discussion flowing. When props are used, only the moderator should
handle them. If more than one person attempts to manipulate data on the
whiteboard, confusion can occur.
8. Rehearsals – This is a good idea to help new members feel conformable in front of
the camera. It also serves to test the system so that problems can be worked out
before transmission begins.
9. Show Must Go On – As with any live video performance, the show must always
go on. When technical difficulties occur, such as one of the participant’s server
crashes, everyone must fill in. VTC systems, like other equipment, breakdown at
With any new form of communication, there are always many issues that
surround its use. Since this is an emerging form, there are some negative aspects of
VTC. Intel has carefully studied business practices that use video teleconferencing.
Four important negative aspects were discovered. The first is that older systems
required Codecs, which were complicated devices. Each Codec board had to be
properly configured for the system to work correctly. (Weil, 1998). This type of
problem was inherent from first generation “Custom Room Era” systems. (Hinmann,
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1999). To correct this, technology has moved away from bulky Codec boards toward
Plug & Play devices. Now users have one device that holds the camera and the
microphone can be easily moved.
The second problem was that the VTC systems were too expensive. As with
any developing technology, the price for an early system is generally high. As time
passes, more people buy the product and the next generation of technology is
introduced. At this time, the price of the system usually lowers.
The third problem involved a concern about standards. In the early stage of
VTCs, the equipment was not standardized. Each company used a different protocol
for sending and receiving data. This did not help the industry grow because
businesses did not want to purchase equipment that may be incompatible with other
systems. For example, a business buys a VTC system that uses ISDN for its
communication lines. Another business buys VTC and their system uses LAN
standards. These two businesses would not be able to communicate together because
of their incompatible equipment. Today, VTC equipment is more flexible and can
now handle both types of connections. Compatibility issues have always been a weak
point for computer systems.
The last major problem Intel found was the interoperability between desktop
VTC systems and conference room systems. As mentioned earlier , the desktop
system includes a desktop computer that is fitted with a camera and software. The
conference room system is a dedicated room with special hardware for the camera.
Both systems hold different software and hardware specifications and could not
communicate with one another.
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According to Rob Fenty, director of Marketing for Intel’s Business
Communication Products, only about two percent of companies have a video
conference room. Of those who have one, they utilize the room about 15 percent of
the day (Needle, 1999), These numbers do not seem to reflect a positive image for
VTCs, but Fenty states, “There are now five million conference rooms worldwide.
There is a lot of money being spent to make them productive.” There are, however,
other areas that must be worked out in order for this technology to thrive. Most home
end users employ the POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service) (Needle, 1999). For
companies, working around a slower infrastructure to bring VTC to the masses has
Lombard (1997) states, "Video Teleconferencing evokes a level of mediated
experience, which creates for the user a strong sense of presence”(p.2). The level of
realism that video conferencing provides is changing many of the ways users work,
play, and live. In the business world, video conferencing has already begun to replace
physical travel. Lombard shows that…..:
A form of presence as transportation is found in literature concerning
video conferencing as well as virtual reality. For example in a study of video
conferencing…defined “teleprense in video communications” as “the degree to
which participants of a telemeeting get the impression of sharing space with
interlocutors who are at a remote physical site” This was measured by asking
participants to report the degree to which they agreed or disagreed with
statements such as “It felt as if were all in the same room” and It felt like a real
face-to-face meeting” Some of the pioneers of virtual reality have suggested
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that its greatest potential is as a virtual gathering place in which people from
around the block or around the world will be able to gather in a shared virtual
space that is different from any of the individuals “real” environments…
Precursors of these distributed environments include the popular “chat rooms”
of today's Internet.
This form of communication has brought us closer to traditional, in-person
meetings. This is VTCs greatest advantage over other traditional forms of
communication: it brings people from around the world closer. There are situations
when a person to person conference is impossible. For example, it is not plausible for
a scientific crew in the remote Arctic circle to physically meet with other scientists
around the globe. Although their situation prohibits meetings, they can meet with
others via VTC.
As a case study on the benefits of video conferencing, several schools in the
St. Louis area have tested video conferencing. After careful monitoring of the new
technology, they found it to benefit not only the school, but also the students, faculty
and community. The table below lists some of the benefits found in that particular
case study (Hamilton, 1997).
1. School – Increased use of video conferencing can assist a teacher in
reaching out to many more students than would otherwise be possible. This
has the added benefit of also helping to increase enrollments. It also shows
that the school is on the leading edge of technology.
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2. Students – They have had an opportunity to gain hands-on experience
using real life situations geared toward business-oriented jobs in today’s
3. Faculty – They have been provided with access to other staff members.
This allows for an easy exchange of ideas and techniques.
4. Community – Using this medium has better educated the graduating
students. This is especially helpful for those students looking for jobs on
the local market. It promotes a healthy unity between the school and the
In this study, the benefits of video conferencing are cumulative. Another
benefit deals with saving money by reducing business trips. Savings can include:
airfare, food, lodging, automotive and labor costs. In the above example, the St.
Louis study found that they saved money on travel expenses by using VTC.
With this new technology making it easier for large corporations to
communicate, an important question must be asked: Will every business need VTC?
Each company will need to determine the answer that suits them, however, there are a
few things that must first be considered. The scope of their business must be defined.
A small roofing business, employing ten people in one office site, probably does not
need VTC. A large business such as Robert Bosch, headquartered in Germany with
regional offices around the world, may benefit from VTC.
Several factors must be evaluated in order to determine whether VTC will be
needed. Corporate spending, employee size, goods and services produced, long term
business goals, and available local resources in the area should be considered. All of
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these factors should be considered when choosing to use VTC as a business tool.
Each business will rate these variables differently according to their needs. Below are
various determinates for a business to use as a cost beneficial analysis.
Digital video communication can take a lot of bandwidth. There are a lot of
factors that determine bandwidth use: computer and cable speeds, the number of users
sending and receiving video on a network, and the quality of video being captured.
Designers of network systems have worked out various ways to eliminate the
bandwidth crunch with desktop video. The three common systems include: Unicast,
Broadcast and Multicast.
The Unicast system, which is also called point-to-point is the heaviest user of
bandwidth. The network can only support a limited amount of computers running
VTC. It is limited by the bandwidth available on the network. Every computer is
connected to and talking with every other computer on the system (see Diagram 1).
Each arrow indicates a channel that is active on that machine. In the third diagram,
every computer has three channels leaving and three channels entering. As each
network gains a user, the bandwidth increases dramatically.
Broadcasting over a network is a similar application, but it does not require the
amount of bandwidth that Unicast needs. Broadcasting is a one-way transmission.
An example is one computer sending out a message to every computer. Since these
transmissions are only one-way (from sender to receiver), this cuts the bandwidth
requirements by half of what Unicast requires. The decreased amount of bandwidth
still has one major drawback. Each machine receives the data packets over the
network even when the computer does not need it. The diagram below shows user A
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sending a message over the network to user B through user F (see Diagram 2). The
video signal is passing through computer F even if user F is not interested in the video
Multicast is the recommended system, because it is based on a computer that
signs up to receive or send data. In this system, the end user signs onto a host address
which sends the data. This is similar to Broadcasting, however, the video data is sent
only to those users requesting it. This eliminates the possibility of overloading the
network with data sent to users who do not want it. One unique property of Multicast
is that it only sends one copy of the data at a time. The only time it duplicates the
data packet is at a router or where the network path splits. The Multicast diagram
shows two network segments and the data path of a video signal (see Diagram 3).
User A-1 on Network # 1 is sending a video signal to the special IP address. This
message is sent once to both users C-1 and F-1. Users B-1, D-1 and E-1 are not
requesting the video signal, so there is no message being sent to them. On Network #
2, only three users are requesting the video signal from user A-1. The message is
copied at the router and sent to the special IP address on Network # 2. This
eliminates waste in bandwidth resources which provides a healthier network.
Multicast does require equipment that supports multicasting on a network. For
example, network cards, routers, firewalls, TCP/IP software and the receiving
computer must be multicast compatible (IVC, doc. 16). Today, most equipment
purchased for the network environment is multicast compatible.
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One of the factors that determine the smoothness of the video signal is the
frame rate. Frames Per Second (FPS) are the amount of frames displayed in one
second. A simple comparison shows some common FPS:
1 - 35mm Theater Projector runs at 24 FPS
2 - NTSC Television signal runs at 30 FPS
3 - VTC signal can vary from 1 FPS to 30 FPS, depending on available
In order for the human brain to perceive a smooth moving picture, the frame rate must
be higher than 16 FPS. The theater projector and TV signal run at a constant speed.
The VTC signal can fluctuate according to the frame relay. This is a method of
compressing data into variable sizes according to which bandwidth is available on the
network (IVC, doc. 3). This provides the software and hardware a way to compensate
for heavy network traffic.
Depending on business needs, there are three VTC systems from which to
choose. There are some major factors to consider when deciding which system is best
for business. These considerations include the budget for the equipment, video
quality needed, and available hardware and software resources.
The desktop video camera has gained popularity in households across the
country. Two products in this category are: the Quick Cam Pro from Logitech and
Internet Video Email from Cvideo-Mail. Of the three VTC systems, the desktop
video costs the least. Current prices for the Quick Cam Pro camera and software are
close to $100. Setup for these systems is easiest for the end users. The camera plugs
into an available Universal Serial Bus (USB) and the user installs the software.
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Picture quality is affected by the speed of the computer, the size of the active screen
and the user’s available bandwidth. Since the majority of end users are at home using
a modem, quality is usually considered poor for business use. The active picture may
be rather small, with a resolution of 320 x 240 and the motion jerky with 10 FPS.
This system would be ideal for a small startup business that needs a quick solution to
Still built around the computer desktop, Intelect Visual Communication's
(IVC) LANscape is an add-on for the networked PC. This system from IVC is
designed for a LAN based networked desktop computer. A CODEC board is installed
on a empty port on the PC. This board handles the coding/decoding of the video data
signal which frees other computer resources. The camera plugs directly into the
CODEC board. IVC has targeted medium to large size business with the LAN or
WAN based VTC. Because this system runs on the LAN, it potentially can carry
higher quality video. This is dependant on the available bandwidth over the network,
but a LAN system could support 100 megabits per second (MPS) (IVC doc. 3). Since
this system requires more hardware and software, it is more expensive. The price for
one computer station costs $3,999. The target audience for a system of this quality
would be larger businesses that have an existing network. Schools, for example,
could outfit departments with IVC devices to monitor labs or classes.
The last system is marketed for the business professional. Polycom
corporation makes the ViewStation MP system which currently cost $11,999.00 per
unit. This level of technology produces a rather simple device, belonging to the Set-
Top Era. The system includes an integrated camera unit, microphone and embedded
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web server for remote system management. In this price category, only large
businesses needing high quality video on a secure system would purchase this type of
hardware. The ViewStation is designed to run on a 56K modem to a 512K line. At
these speeds, the ViewStation can deliver a full 30 FPS to provide smooth video.
This device can easily be connected to a PC to provide shared software and
presentation tools. The price range for the ViewStation will exclude many businesses
from purchasing, but a large business that needs a professional communication tool
would likely use this.
Each of these systems has positive and negative attributes. A business looking
for a VTC system to expand its communication lines will need to look at the types of
services offered. Three major determinates are: price of system, quality of video, and
hardware and software resources.
Consider, for example, the Robert Bosch corporation. Headquartered in
Germany, the company has regional offices throughout Western Europe. It has a
corporate headquarters in Chicago and in Tokyo, with divisions throughout each
country. The Bosch corporation makes, produces and sells a range of products from
car parts to coffee makers. With so many offices spread around the world, they would
find potential uses for VTC. The headquarters from each area would surely need to
establish a communication link between worldwide offices. Video conferencing can
be implemented in several ways. For example, the headquarters building in Chicago
has a LAN system already installed for their current network. Various departments
within that headquarters can be outfitted for VTC. If the business needs the various
regional offices to communicate together through VTC, a dedicated T-1 line would
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carry the video to them. The underlying question remains: Will the overhead cost of
VTC benefit the business in the long run? If a business can justify the total cost of a
VTC system compared to current means of communication, then VTC is a viable
A benefit of video teleconferencing is that the video and audio can be
recorded. JAD sessions, status reports and training sessions are captured with VTC
equipment and can be easily saved in digital form. These sessions can be placed on a
media server, recorded onto a CD-ROM or saved to the hard drive for later use. The
IVC corporation states in 1998 a simple a comparison of various video rates and their
required digital storage space:
Type of video Compression Type Rate (Mbps) Storage (30 min)
Desktop video AVI .55 122 MB
VCR MPEG-1 1.5 350 MB
Broadcast video MPEG-2 4 to 10 .9 to 2.25 GB
Standard TV NTSC 177 40 GB
As the chart indicates, desktop video saved in the .AVI file format only takes
122MB for 30 minutes of recorded video. With the prices of today's hard drives
falling drastically, an organization can save hours of video on one hard drive. These
meetings can be archived to CD-ROM, which could hold over 3 hours worth of digital
video. If even more space on a drive is needed, these files can be recorded to the
Digital Versatile Disk (DVD) which can hold 8GB per side (Taylor, 1998). Several
hours can be recorded on one side of a DVD drive to provide an exceptional archive
for VTC. Businesses can pull up prior sessions on demand, with the capability to
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stop, play, fast forward and rewind certain areas. This is a convenient way to archive
sessions for later use.
VTC can be extremely useful for many different types of applications. This
paper has focused mainly on the business side of VTC, however, there are many other
uses. The entertainment industry can benefit from the use of VTC. Major
broadcasting stations in the United States can use this technology to provide a faster
news gathering service. Some examples include: remote video editing, collaboration
on projects done in the field and at headquarters, and review of future stories. Cable
News Network (CNN), for example, is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia. With local
affiliates across the United States, CNN has a diverse networked system. It is
possible for CNN affiliates to gather news stories and send them to the headquarters
for review. This would provide the managers with up-to-date information from field
Another use for VTC comes in the form of advertising. Businesses rely
heavily on advertising to help gain consumers. Users that have a VTC system
installed can see "commercials" over video. One possible placement for this would be
in a library. A large corporation, such as Oracle, could install VTC systems into
public libraries. The libraries would not be charged for the equipment as long as
Oracle could provide server business commercials at the beginning of every video
This could be both a benefit and a detriment. There are ethical issues parents
or community members might have with digital advertising in this manner. Parents
and community members might also appreciate the benefits of the system. In this
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scenario, everyone is considered a winner. The library gains free equipment for
public use, which draws more people in. The public gains access to free video
telephone conferencing equipment that otherwise might not be attainable. Oracle
stands to gain advertising dollars and name recognition by placing the equipment into
the library. Corporate sponsorship of new technology benefits many people. The
advertising produced is a necessary by-product.
The medical field could also benefit greatly from videoconferencing. Doctors
can make remote observations of high risk patients with VTC cameras installed in the
room. In this case, a VTC camera is installed to monitor a patient’s behavior. The
video can be monitored from a doctor’s desktop computer connected to a network. A
doctor may have several rooms that he or she works daily. The patient can be
monitored from any desktop computer on the network in these rooms. It is also
possible for doctors to take a quick emergency call at home using this type of
Corporate training is gaining popularity in large businesses. This system is
designed to educate many employees at the desktop. For example, a business might
hire 20 employees at one time. These employees would probably all need training at
the same time. A business that uses high speed networks could train new employees
by installing VTC equipment on each user’s desktop. Each employee would be
lectured at the desktop with the other employees training at the same time. This
would establish employees at their workstation with their new working environment.
Training via computers is a form of Distance Education (DE). This is one
field that shows the greatest potential for expansion. One of the greatest advantages
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that DE has is that it can tie schools and students together without physical
boundaries. For example, the community of North Slope and the school district in
Alaska has a sparse population. The school districts are many miles apart and the
schools have a very small student body. A problem for the community was that there
was not enough specialized teachers for every school. The district decided to link 8
schools together to bring a vast area into one classroom. Through VTC, students
across Alaska now have access to special classes not previously available. Harrison
One way to think of distance education is a way of providing equal access to
the highest level of interactive education possible. According to this
definition, more and more opportunities are arising for distance education in
situations that have never before been considered (1999).
Current business communication tools have included phone, fax and e-mail.
Computer and computer accessory prices have fallen sharply. This has provided an
increase in new communication devices, one of which is a virtual, in-person
communication link through the desktop computer. Competitive advantage is a major
driving force for leading businesses. Finding faster and cheaper ways to
communicate is the main push for VTC technology. Since the internet has gained in
popularity, communication systems via computer have dramatically increased.
The early stages of VTC can be broken down into four distinct eras. Each new
era has brought a decrease in price with an increase in functionality. The hardware
and software for VTC systems has greatly improved. Prices have fallen for
businesses to build networked infrastructures. From fiber optic lines to portable
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camera systems, VTC is expanding in business. Since this is a new form of
communication, several etiquette guidelines have been established. These are
important in creating uniformity in video conferencing. From proper lighting to
rehearsals conferences, many areas have been reviewed.
As with any new technology, there are positive and negative attributes. Some
of the problems that VTC had to overcome were high prices, complicated equipment
and standardization. Today, most of these problems have been addressed. In most
cases, computers and networks in an organization are now integrating into one
Not only are businesses benefiting from lower transaction costs with VTC, but
many other users are also affected. Schools, students and the community can all
benefit from access to a public VTC system. A case study from the St. Louis area has
shown that everyone can benefit. Every business must review their strategic goals
and decide whether VTC will become part of their business system.
Several factors for businesses to consider include: the existing communication
infrastructure, quality of presentation needed, return on investment and budgeting.
Information technology managers need to look at the networked infrastructure and
decide which broadcasting system to use. Is the Unicast system the right system for a
large business? What will be the acceptable quality of video? Will 10 to 20 FPS
work or will 30 FPS be needed? Will this VTC system need to be portable for use on
the road? Is a $11,999 system in the budget for a communication device? All of
these questions need to be address before businesses commit to buy and install a VTC
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Many businesses are now using VTC and are proving that it is effective. From
the entertainment industry to the medical field, VTC systems are used everyday in
real world applications. Distance Education is an area that is ready for expansion.
On-line schools connect students from around the world and allow them to
communicate and learn from their local computer.
Video Telephone Conferencing (VTC) tools are gaining a market as a business
communication tool. Organizations that use video conferencing as a communication
tool in today's market will gain a competitive advantage over businesses that do not.
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