Section 1: Project Overview

1,041 views
882 views

Published on

0 Comments
0 Likes
Statistics
Notes
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Views
Total views
1,041
On SlideShare
0
From Embeds
0
Number of Embeds
1
Actions
Shares
0
Downloads
16
Comments
0
Likes
0
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Section 1: Project Overview

  1. 1. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey Final Report December 2000 133 Front Street Vestal, NY 13850 TEL 607 754-5037 FAX 607 754-6975 www.myersgroup.com info@myersgroup.com
  2. 2. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey TABLE OF CONTENTS Section 1: Project Overview.................................................................................................. 1 A. Study Background ........................................................................................................ 1 B. The Digital Divide ......................................................................................................... 2 C. The ARC ...................................................................................................................... 3 D. Videoconferencing Basics ............................................................................................ 3 Section 2: Project Summary and Methodology ..................................................................... 7 A. Phase I: Discovery Period ............................................................................................ 7 B. Phase II: Development Period ...................................................................................... 9 1. Local Development District Surveys.......................................................................... 9 2. Public Videoconferencing Site Survey....................................................................... 9 C. Phase III: Data Collection and Mapping ..................................................................... 11 D. Phase IV: Analysis ..................................................................................................... 12 E. Phase V: Plan, Recommendations and Documentation.............................................. 13 Section 3: Findings ............................................................................................................. 14 A. Public Videoconferencing Sites .................................................................................. 14 1. Introduction ............................................................................................................. 14 2. Technology ............................................................................................................. 19 3. General and Facility Information ............................................................................. 42 4. Key Observations Regarding Public Site Information .............................................. 51 B. Local Development Districts ....................................................................................... 52 1. Introduction ............................................................................................................. 52 2. Local Development District Information................................................................... 53 3. LDDs with In-House Videoconferencing Systems ................................................... 55 4. LDDs that use Videoconferencing Elsewhere ......................................................... 57 5. LDDs that do not use Videoconferencing ................................................................ 58 6. Key Observations.................................................................................................... 60 Section 4 - Analysis ............................................................................................................ 62 A. Appalachia, Videoconferencing and the Digital Divide ................................................ 62 B. Access to Videoconferencing in Distressed Counties ................................................. 64 2. Square Mileage Analysis........................................................................................ 68 C. Access to Videoconferencing by Population............................................................... 73 D. Organization Types .................................................................................................... 75 E. Areas Where Videoconferencing Does Not Exist........................................................ 77 F. Local Development Districts ....................................................................................... 79 Section 5 - Recommendations............................................................................................ 82 A. Organization and Communication Among LDDs and the ARC ................................... 84 B. Capitalizing on Competition and New Developments ................................................. 86 C. Promotion of H.320 Equipment as a Standard for Interconnection ............................. 90 D. Targeting Videoconferencing Development................................................................ 93 © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com
  3. 3. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey TABLE OF FIGURES Figure 1 - Percentage of Total Sites in each ARC State ......................................................................15 Figure 2 - Concentration of Sites within each State..............................................................................16 Figure 3 – Map of Videoconferencing Sites in the ARC Region by Zip Code ......................................17 Figure 4 – Map of Videoconferencing Sites in the ARC Region by County..........................................18 Figure 5 - Public Videoconferencing Site System Types......................................................................20 Figure 6 – Map of Videoconferencing System Types by Zip Code ......................................................21 Figure 7 - Public Videoconferencing Site Equipment Manufacturers ...................................................22 Figure 8 - Switched Network Connection for Videoconferencing .........................................................23 Figure 9 - Dedicated Network Connection for Videoconferencing........................................................23 Figure 10 - Hybrid Switched/Dedicated Connection for Videoconferencing.........................................24 Figure 11 - Public Videoconferencing Site Connection Capabilities.....................................................25 Figure 12 - Technical Standards: System Interoperability ....................................................................26 Figure 13 – Map of H.320 Capability of Videoconferencing Sites in the ARC Region by Zip Code.....27 Figure 14 - Summary of Videoconferencing Transmission Technologies ............................................28 Figure 15 - Network Capabilities of Public Videoconferencing Sites in the Appalachian Region ........29 Figure 16 - Public Videoconferencing Site Bridging Capabilities..........................................................31 Figure 17 - Public Videoconferencing Site Bridging Methods ..............................................................32 Figure 18 – Map of Videoconferencing Sites with Bridging Capabilities by Zip Code..........................33 Figure 19 - Public Videoconferencing Site Media.................................................................................34 Figure 20 - Public Videoconferencing Site Transmission Speeds........................................................37 Figure 21 – Map of Videoconferencing Site Transmission Speeds by Zip Code .................................38 Figure 22 – Map of Videoconferencing Site Transmission Speeds (T-1).............................................39 Figure 23 – Map of Videoconferencing Site Transmission Speeds (Broadband Fiber) .......................40 Figure 24 – Map of Videoconferencing Site Transmission Speeds (ISDN)..........................................41 Figure 25 - Public Videoconferencing Site Organization Types ...........................................................43 Figure 26 – Map of Videoconferencing Sites by Organization Type by Zip Code................................45 Figure 27 – Map of Health Videoconferencing Sites by Zip Code........................................................46 Figure 28 – Map of Government/Public/Non-Profit Videoconferencing Sites in the ARC Region by Zip Code .............................................................................................................................................47 Figure 29 – Map of Education Videoconferencing Sites in the ARC Region by Zip Code ...................48 Figure 30 – Map of Business Videoconferencing Sites in the ARC Region by Zip Code.....................49 Figure 31 - LDD Videoconferencing Capabilities..................................................................................53 Figure 32 – Map of LDD Videoconferencing Use in the ARC Region by County.................................54 Figure 33 - LDD In-House Frequency of Use .......................................................................................55 Figure 34 - LDD In-House Primary System Uses .................................................................................56 Figure 35 - LDD In-House Equipment Manufacturers ..........................................................................57 Figure 36 - LDD Use of Videoconferencing Systems Elsewhere .........................................................57 Figure 37 - LDD Frequency of Use of Videoconferencing Systems Elsewhere ...................................58 Figure 38 - LDD Reasons for Not Using Videoconferencing ................................................................59 Figure 39 - LDD (non-using) Knowledge Level of Videoconferencing..................................................59 Figure 40 - LDD (non-using) Potential of Using Videoconferencing.....................................................60 Figure 41- Comparison of Sites per County and Distressed Counties .................................................65 Figure 42 - Site Distribution Among Populations of Distressed and Non-Distressed Counties ...........68 Figure 43 - Square Mileage per Videoconferencing Site......................................................................71 © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com
  4. 4. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey Figure 44 - Percentage Increase in Distressed Counties over Non-Distressed Counties (Square Mileage and Population)...............................................................................................................72 Figure 45 - Comparison of the average number of people per videoconferencing site based on county population categories ...................................................................................................................73 Figure 46 - Comparison of the average square mileage per videoconferencing site based on county population categories ...................................................................................................................74 Figure 47 - Organization Types of Videoconferencing Sites within Distressed Counties.....................76 Figure 48 - Organization Types of Videoconferencing Sites within Non-Distressed Counties.............76 Figure 49 - Percentage of Counties with No Videoconferencing Sites.................................................77 Figure 50 - Percentage of Total Counties without Videoconferencing .................................................78 Figure 51 - Percentage of Population without Videoconferencing Facilities in their County ................79 Figure 52 – Patterns of Videoconferencing Use in Among LDDs by Availability of Videoconferencing in the LDD Territory ......................................................................................................................80 Figure 53 – Average Sites per County vs. Patterns of Use ..................................................................81 © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com
  5. 5. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey Section 1: Project Overview A. Study Background In August of 1998 the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) agreed to support a proposal from the Development District Association of Appalachia (DDAA) to fund a number of activities to assist the Association’s 71 component Local Development Districts (LDD's). The activities were designed to help the LDDs in the development of enhanced telecommunication applications/technologies, become more capable in the use of these technologies and assist in the provision of technical services in telecommunications. The DDAA proposal included the provision of comprehensive technical assistance on the use of various types of telecommunication services, the use of the Internet and development of individual Web sites. The proposal also included the support of a demonstration program by some of the LDDs in the use of their existing videoconferencing equipment to address regional information gathering, receiving and transmitting training programs, and other collaborative efforts between LDDs, State ARC offices, and the ARC headquarters in Washington, DC. The purpose in conducting this study is to further the DDAA’s overall project by identifying publicly accessible, interactive video teleconferencing sites in the region that would permit the 71 LDDs, State ARC personnel, and the ARC headquarters facility to jointly participate in regional videoconferencing using modern telecommunications technologies and facilitated videoconferencing techniques. The rationale for this survey is to identify facilities in the region that can be used by the region's 71 LDDs, as well as citizens groups, and organizations to originate, and participate in videoconferencing opportunities of all types. The ARC and the DDAA are cognizant of the fact that the government, business, education, and medical sectors are all in need of using videoconferencing that is both economically and practically feasible to use. The DDAA and ARC are interested in answering four central research questions: 1. Are there adequate numbers of geographically dispersed videoconferencing sites in the region to permit easy access to routine "point-to-point" videoconferencing? 2. Is there adequate "Bridging" equipment - equipment that permits more than 2 sites to be able to participate in simultaneously in joint videoconferencing? 3. Are there significant gaps in the dispersion of videoconferencing sites? © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 1
  6. 6. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey 4. Are there significant issues of interoperability between systems that exist throughout the region that will render a number of sites unusable for major regional videoconferencing purposes? 5. Is it practical for all 71 LDDs to be able to communicate with each other on a routine basis using videoconferencing equipment? 6. Are there significant challenges that need to be overcome in order to set up such a network? Challenges could include problems of interoperability between existing systems, practices, equipment standards, and lack of telecommunication infrastructure. 7. Is it economically practical to set up such a network? B. The Digital Divide The availability of videoconferencing in the most rural reaches of the United States has been brought to the forefront in recent years as the deployment of technology in well-to-do urban and suburban areas has out-paced technology growth in rural regions. This concept has been addressed more formally as a social and economic issue in the federal government’s recent report on the “Digital Divide”, which has brought into light inequities in regard to access to the Internet and other information technologies that are crucial to the economic growth and personal advancement of geographic regions. The Clinton Administration has defined the Digital Divide in this way: "In just about every country, a certain percentage of people has the best information technology that society has to offer. These people have the most powerful computers, the best telephone service and fastest Internet service, as well as a wealth of content and training relevant to their lives.” Another percentage of people exist who “…don't have access to the newest or best computers, the most reliable telephone service or the fastest or most convenient Internet services. The difference between these two groups of people is what we call the Digital Divide."1 To live in the rural hills and mountains of Appalachia is to be on the less fortunate side of the divide. This means that there is less opportunity to take part in the new information-based economy, and to take part in the education, training, and communications opportunities that are available through modern telecommunications facilities. Videoconferencing is one technology that could help bridge this gap. 1 http://www.digitaldivide.gov. Published on the World Wide Web. © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 2
  7. 7. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey The full implications of the Digital Divide in Appalachia and other rural regions throughout the United States is unknown. Information is spotty, at best, and difficult to collect on a wide scale basis. The Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey is an effort on the part of the ARC to examine this one component of the issue, assess the impact and significance in Appalachia and implement a strategy for regional videoconferencing throughout the 13-state region. C. The ARC The Appalachian Regional Commission is a federal/state partnership established by the Appalachian Regional Development Act to promote economic and social development of the Appalachian Region. The Act defines the Region as 406 counties comprising all of West Virginia and parts of Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia - an area of 195,000 square miles and about 21 million people. To promote local planning and implementation of ARC initiatives, the Commission supports 71 Local Development Districts (LDDs) comprised of groups of counties within each of the 13 states. The Commission has 14 members: the 13 Governors of the 13 Appalachian states and a Federal Co-chairman, who is appointed by the President. For over 35 years, the Commission has assisted a wide range of programs in the Region, including highway corridors; community water and sewer facilities and other physical infrastructure; health, education, and human resource development; economic development programs, local capacity building and leadership development. Recent analysis of the 406 counties within the ARC region, based on the Commission's 1998 definitions of economic development levels, indicate that 108 counties were designated distressed because of high rates of poverty and unemployment and low rates of per capita market income compared to national averages; 264 counties were designated transitional, with higher than average rates of poverty and unemployment rates and lower per capita market income; 24 counties have nearly achieved parity with national socioeconomic norms and are now designated as competitive, and 10 counties have reached or exceeded national norms and are now designated as attainment counties. In keeping with changing regional conditions, the Commission periodically alters its specific program policies to address current development priorities. ARC also continuously evaluates its programs and policies to assure that its constituents needs are satisfied in the most optimum way possible. D. Videoconferencing Basics For the purposes of this study, videoconferencing is defined as the commonly accepted methods of communication via two-way, interactive video in which a participant at one geographically distinct location can view a video image of, and speak with, at least one other participant at a different geographic location (and visa versa). While the quality of video and audio may vary widely from one type of videoconferencing session to another, when © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 3
  8. 8. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey engaged in a videoconferencing session, all participants must be experiencing an equivalent level of communication which includes live interactive video and real-time interactive audio communication (with no more than a few seconds of delay from the time of the origination of the signals to the time of the receipt of the signals at the far end). Several types of video communication were considered to be outside the scope of this analysis. For example, some forms of satellite video communication or broadcast video, it can be argued, can be interactive if persons viewing the program can interact via some other means (such as a telephone or fax machine). For the purposes of this study, these types of conferencing arrangements were not considered. Videoconferencing, in this report, is a collection of technologies that form the foundation for a wide variety of applications. The term videoconferencing refers to these applications and, to a lesser degree, the technologies that support them.2 In a videoconference, the picture and sound travel from place to place as computer data or as analog video signals. Analog Videoconferencing Analog videoconferencing technology is typically associated with an “older” form of interactive video, however, many analog videoconferencing networks still exist and provide extremely good quality video and audio. An analog video typically operates on a closed- circuit basis among several sites. In other words, a site employing analog interactive video technology can not “dial-up” another location unless it is one of the sites on the “closed- circuit” network. An analog videoconferencing network provides full-motion video signals using the standard for broadcast television originally developed in 1948 (NTSC). This is the standard that all standard (non-HDTV) televisions in the United States use. Because NTSC video signals consume so much bandwidth, analog interactive video is typically provided via dedicated coaxial or fiber optic cable. Generally these type of connections are costly. Each individual video signal and audio signal at the point of origination is modulated onto the cable and then demodulated at the other end to be viewed on a television monitor. Digital Videoconferencing In digital videoconferencing systems, captured video and audio signals are converted to computer data, processed by computer circuits (or coded), routed through phone lines made for computer data, and finally converted back (decoded) into video and audio. Since video contains too much information to be sent through traditional types of dial-up telephone lines, video signals must be converted into computer data and converted back into a video signal again at the other end. © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 4
  9. 9. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey The flood of raw data generated by live video and audio could fill hundreds of digital phone lines to capacity. Therefore, digital videoconferencing relies on compression to fit all that data onto a single telecommunications circuit. The device that performs the compression (and decompression) is called a CODEC (which is a concatenation of the words COder and DECoder). Video, audio and data all connect into the codec, which transmits a single, digital signal over the network to the remote location(s). The network consists of digital lines that are similar to, but different from, regular telephone lines. The growing worldwide network of dial-up digital phone lines provides this compressed audio and video a way to move from place to place. The two most common kinds of dial-up digital services are called ISDN BRI (Integrated Services Digital Network, Basic Rate Interface) and switched-56. ISDN BRI provides two data channels, each with a capacity of 64kbps (for a total of 128Kbs). Switched-56 has a pair of 56-kpbs data channels instead. Higher capacity is also available in a different kind of line, such as ISDN PRI (Primary Rate Interface). This offers up to twenty-three (23) 64kbps channels (plus one 64Kbs channel for signaling) that can be used to gain greater capacities. Often, a single codec can accept multiple ISDN BRI lines or multiple switched 56 lines which improves the overall bandwidth that is used (i.e. three (3) BRI lines @ 128Kbs = 384Kbs) and thus improves the quality of the video and audio. Many systems use a common set of standard techniques, so they can communicate with systems made by other manufacturers. The standards include H.320, H.323, H.261, T.120 and many others. The most common standard is H.320, which covers a suite of standards for videoconferencing over ISDN, switched-56, and other kinds of digital phone lines. It deals with data rates between 56 kbps and 2048 kbps. T.120 is a standard that compliments the H.320 standard allowing for computer-based meeting tools - such as computerized slide displays, WindowsTM application sharing, and digital whiteboards. These tools work by sending and receiving data through the same line that carries the H.320 video and audio signals. Another standard gaining in significance is H.323, which covers video communication via IP (Internet Protocol). The H.323 suite of standards allows for interactive video communication over any variety of data network that communicates via IP and, of course, the internet. Several proprietary standards also exist in which only devices of the same manufacturer (and in some cases model) can communicate with one another. One example includes 2 Trowt-Bayard, Toby and Wilcox, Jim. "Videoconferencing and Interactive Multimedia: The Whole Picture," Flatiron Publishing. 1997. © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 5
  10. 10. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey Tektronix J-Series equipment that operates using a protocol called Motion JPEG. Using this equipment, all sites must be equipped with J-Series codecs to communicate with one another. Multi-point videoconferences (3 or more videoconferencing systems participating together in a session) are possible with the use of a videoconferencing bridge. A bridge works by either switching the video and audio from one site to another or by dividing the participants’ television screens into four quadrants and placing the video image of each participant in one of the quadrants of the screen. Television monitors are used for viewing the distant site(s) as well as any documents or video being exchanged. Other devices, such as a document camera, can be used to share graphics, and other peripherals such as laptop computers can be connected to the system as well. The local and distant participants view these simultaneously on the monitors. Videoconferencing systems are available in a variety of formats. A set-top system allows a camera to mount directly on top of a television monitor. A roll-about system is the same as a set-top system, except that the television monitor is integrated with the entire system on a moveable cart - allowing for its use in different locations. A desktop system integrated with a personal computer relies on the hardware and software of the PC for videoconferencing. Finally, some locations maintain dedicated videoconferencing rooms specifically for videoconferencing and contain permanently mounted equipment. These system types are further discussed in Section 3 of this document. Videoconferencing systems usually have one or a combination of the following three connection capabilities. A switched connection can dial-up any other compatible videoconferencing system and uses the public network via ISDN, switched 56, an internet connection, or other method. A dedicated connection can only interact with other sites on a particular network and connects using one of a host of various connections (i.e. dedicated 56Kbs, broadband fiber, T-1, DS-3, coaxial cable, Virtual Private Network, ATM, frame relay, or a private IP network). A broadcast-type system, such as a satellite-based, broadcast, or cable television system only has the capability to receive (or send) video signals from the outside and to interact requires the use of a telephone, fax machine or other device. As stated earlier, these types of systems were excluded from this study. © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 6
  11. 11. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey Section 2: Project Summary and Methodology This section provides a detailed summary of the work completed on this project. A five- phase plan was developed and carried out to collect, document and analyze information related to videoconferencing in the Appalachian Region. Throughout the entire project, a regular reporting schedule was followed to report the study's progress. Feedback was sought from the ARC during these interactions regarding the quality and completeness of the information obtained. The videoconferencing facilities located in the Myers Group offices were used to regularly communicate with the ARC and project partners. Written "Status Reports" were submitted to the ARC in August, September, December, and March, and additional regular updates were provided through e-mails, faxes, phone calls, and videoconferences. Circumstances arising during the data collection and mapping phases pushed the project off of the original proposed schedule. However, the additional time used to verify data and emphasize thoroughness and quality have resulted in a more complete and accurate study. The information presented below details the process and resulting action steps that were taken in the videoconferencing analysis. A. Phase I: Discovery Period The goal of this phase was to gather the essential information that formed the platform for the study. This research helped to define the information collected in the survey instruments (created in the Development Phase) and helped generate important leads (pursued in the Data Collection Phase). Finally, the information gathered helped to further define the study and thus helped to ensure that the information collected was relevant and valuable to the ARC. The following steps were completed in gathering information during the Discovery Period: • Review of Myers Group Relevant Files and Reports − The Myers Group has conducted numerous videoconferencing and distance learning research studies in the Appalachian Region. A review of existing archives was completed which produced some initial investigative information. • Review ARC Project Files − The Myers Group received information from the ARC concerning relevant initiatives in the region. © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 7
  12. 12. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey • Key State-Level Contacts − The Myers Group was provided with listings of critical stakeholders from the ARC that were asked to provide input into the project in the Data Collection Phase. • Internet Searches − Broad WWW internet searches were carried-out as an initial secondary research step to collect background information and identify other sources of information. • Review of Existing Videoconferencing Directories − Another secondary research activity included a review of existing videoconferencing directories available on-line, commercially or through videoconferencing service providers. An attempt to verify the accuracy of all secondary research information was completed via primary research methods (i.e. telephone or written interviews). • Interview ARC Officials, LDD Staff and Key Contacts − The Myers Group completed interviews of appropriate representatives from identified project partner groups to seek input on the type of information to be collected, methods for data collection, other sources of information, etc. • Identification of Potential Public Videoconferencing Facilities (Universities, Commercial Sites, etc.) − Potential public videoconferencing sites including (but not limited to) universities, community colleges, schools, corporate service facilities, government entities, hospitals, technical schools, libraries, etc. were identified and contact information collected for use in data collection. • Survey/Interview of Industry Contacts − Contacts within the videoconferencing industry were mined and contacted to identify potential public videoconferencing facilities and additional leads. This first pass "forecasted" the type of information that would be gathered during the data collection phase. This forecasting provided a preview of the content, style, and amount of related information already available. This information spanned a tremendous range; from a web site simply stating that videoconferencing is available in Pittsburgh, PA to a web page providing numerous technical details and contact information about sites all over the world. This information was later used to create survey instruments in the Phase II: Development Period and helped to form the platform for the study as a whole. This phase also marked the beginning of a "snowball effect" for the Data Collection Phase (Phase III). The Discovery Phase generated many important leads that were used during Data Collection. As these leads were pursued, more were generated. © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 8
  13. 13. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey B. Phase II: Development Period During this phase the critical infrastructure was established that enabled the collection of relevant and valuable information as articulated by the project partners in the Discovery Phase. During this phase, the survey and interview instruments were created to collect data and database structures were established. To capture and manage the collected information, a database was designed using Microsoft Access. Data entry forms were developed with input masks and drop down boxes designed to control error during the data entry process. A relational database design was selected to provide the flexibility needed for data analysis in Phase V. Attachment A provides a sample view of the data entry form. Two sets of survey instruments were created: one set for the Local Development Districts (LDDs) and one set for information collection and verification of public videoconferencing sites. The content and the form of each survey were based on an assessment of the information gathered during Discovery. The goal was to design survey forms that concisely captured the information determined to be most critical to the study. The LDD surveys were designed to assess the current needs and capabilities of each LDD. The Public Site surveys were designed to gather very specific contact, technical, and facility information that would populate the database. 1. Local Development District Surveys The LDD surveys were designed as telephone surveys. Each survey was preceded by a letter to each LDD to introduce the project, introduce The Myers Group and to inform each of the project partners of the goals, process and anticipated results of the project. The introductory letter and LDD Telephone Survey are included as Attachments B and C, respectively. The completion response target was 100% of the Local Development Districts. As with any mass data collection effort, a challenge arose in having all LDDs complete the survey. However, all 71 LDDs were interviewed and the results of the survey are provided in Section 3 of this document. 2. Public Videoconferencing Site Survey Several methods were chosen to administer the Public Site Survey. The goal was to contact as many sites as possible, as quickly as possible to verify existing information and collect additional information as appropriate. Based on an assessment of the data compiled during the Discovery Period, four (4) methods of executing the Public Site Survey were created: © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 9
  14. 14. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey 1. Web Survey − A web site was designed with linked web pages including an online survey form and a description of the project and players. It was determined that web access to the survey was highly desirable for four reasons: 1) it made the survey easily accessible via a public medium (the internet); 2) respondents could access the survey at a time that was convenient for them; 3) it reduced the potential for data entry error (users entered the data themselves); 4) it saved data entry time (data was imported directly into the database). All potential respondents were encouraged to utilize the web page. The URL of this web site was referenced on each of the other survey types described below. 2. E-mail Survey − An email survey was developed that was both text-based − to which a respondent could reply by using the reply feature − and included a hyperlink to the web survey URL. This survey was sent to all contacts with known e-mail addresses. 3. Written Survey − A written survey was designed and mailed to those sites without e-mail addresses but with complete mailing addresses. Each survey referenced the web page URL and encouraged respondents to use the Internet as the mode of response. Separate written surveys were drafted for mass mailings to all higher education institutions and hospitals within the Appalachian Region. 4. Telephone Survey − a survey was designed for the remaining sites which had no other information available except for a phone number. Each survey instrument was pre-tested on a small population of subjects to identify and correct survey flaws and awkward/unclear questions. The instruments were also forwarded to the ARC for review and comment. The instruments were then reworked prior to final data collection. The initial search for sites in the Discovery Period yielded a large amount of information. This data was filtered for regional appropriateness (only those sites within the ARC region), technical appropriateness (only two-way interactive video) and other factors which may have a bearing on the accuracy and relevance of the data. After filtering numerous listings, a total of 1,800 entries were recorded in the database. After further data cleaning throughout the project, the number of entries was reduced further to less than 1,400. Prior to data collection, contact lists were prepared for each survey type. This involved assessing the available contact information, determining the most appropriate survey type to administer, and formatting the data appropriately to distribute each survey. The design of the existing database was altered to manage, record and track contact responses throughout the rest of the project. © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 10
  15. 15. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey The web survey can be viewed at http://www.myersgroup.com/survey. Samples of the written, phone, and e-mail survey are included as Attachment D. The data collected using these surveys is detailed in Phase III: Data Collection. C. Phase III: Data Collection and Mapping The goal of this phase was to collect and compile all of the information specified for the study in an efficient and effective manner. The central objective was two-fold to verify and/or correct information compiled during Discovery and Development and to collect additional information relevant to the project. Many of the sites that passed the filtering processes completed during the Development Phase proved to have outdated or incomplete information. As a result, many initial survey attempts resulted in returned surveys or failed responses. Also, approximately 425 sites were eliminated due to the following reasons: initial contact information was incorrect and actual videoconferencing site fell outside of the ARC region; the site had no public videoconferencing facility available at that location; sites that initial research reported had videoconferencing in fact only had satellite transmission capability; no contact could be reached to verify the initial site listing. Any surveys returned electronically or via US mail were tracked and held for follow-up attempts. Sites that were unreachable after all available avenues for contact (email, us mail phone calls) were exhausted were removed from the list. Surveys were submitted with information in varying levels of completeness. Typically, most sites provided complete contact information. Often, however, the Technical or Facility Information sections were incomplete or questionable in their degree of accuracy. For example, several surveys were submitted by sites mistaking their satellite downlink capability for videoconferencing. Incomplete surveys were set aside for a follow-up phone call or e-mail. Two attempts were made to research any missing information. Consequently, several site listings have incomplete Technical or Facility information. However, the Contact Information, the most crucial piece of information for this project, is complete for nearly all 1,375 remaining records. These were the primary challenges encountered during data collection. As data was reported, it was entered into the database. Once the bulk of the data was recorded, filters were created to highlight remaining inaccurate, incomplete, or unclear information. Most of the inaccuracies fell under the Technical Information Section of the survey. Some sites contacted The Myers Group for help in completing this section. The Myers Group also contacted many sites that submitted inaccurate information and corrected the database. Filtering the data to eliminate errors resulted in a disappointingly low response rate. The Myers Group was dissatisfied with the number of responses received and thought it was necessary to distribute another round of surveys. These surveys were sent to the additional leads and contacts that were generated from the first phase of data collection. © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 11
  16. 16. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey One additional challenge resulted from the timeliness of many responses. A December 1999 deadline was highlighted on each survey, but completed responses continue to arrive at The Myers Group offices through July, 2000. The data that was collected was graphically represented on maps as well as in database form. D. Phase IV: Analysis The goal of the Analysis Phase of the study was to process the raw information, gathered in the Data Collection Phase, and transform it into meaningful information directly addressing the stated goals of the study. Significant emphasis was placed on crafting appropriate database queries and statistical analyses to represent the data in a manner that is meaningful to the project partners and specific to the goals of the study. Queries and analyses were carried out individually for the LDD needs/requirements evaluation and the videoconferencing site surveys and cross- queries were generated so that relationships between LDD needs/requirements could be compared with videoconferencing site availability. Specifically, the following points were examined: • Need/Requirements/Criteria for Videoconferencing in LDD sites − This analysis was based on the survey data collected from the LDDs. A full assessment of each LDD’s current videoconferencing capabilities, their need for videoconferencing, and the suitability of this technology to meet current communication requirements was made. • Identification of Significant Gaps in Videoconferencing Service Availability in the ARC Region − Gaps in videoconferencing services were identified and represented graphically in maps identifying potential users and existing services. • Determine Interoperability Between Existing Videoconferencing Systems − All detailed technical information regarding standards (i.e. H.320 and H.323) and technology (i.e. RF, M-JPEG, MPEG, MPEG-2, ISDN) collected throughout the study was compared. An “Interoperability Map” that graphically demonstrates which sites can presently communicate was prepared. This information was used to formulate a strategy for interconnection in the Plan, Recommendations and Documentation phase of the study. • Determination of the Practicality of Using Existing Videoconferencing Systems for the 71 LDD's − This analysis was a culmination of many components of the study and prepared on a regional and individual basis for the LDDs. • Identification of Challenges for Establishing a Network − Potential barriers and existing challenges for establishing a network were documented. This information © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 12
  17. 17. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey was critical for the Plan, Recommendations and Documentation Phase of the study in which methods for overcoming the challenges identified were proposed. The conclusions drawn from this phase are detailed in Section 3: Data Summary of this report. E. Phase V: Plan, Recommendations and Documentation The goal of this phase was to develop an overall plan for videoconferencing in the Appalachian Region including specific strategies for the LDD organizations. This phase involved reviewing all previous work done on this project, devising a strategy for improving videoconferencing access and generating detailed recommendations. Also provided are details on videoconferencing access and costs for LDD sites and for interconnection of other networks. Results of Phase V are detailed in Section 5 “Recommendations" of this report. © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 13
  18. 18. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey Section 3: Findings A. Public Videoconferencing Sites 1. Introduction As stated earlier, one of the primary goals in conducting this study was to identify publicly accessible, interactive video teleconferencing sites in the region that will permit the LDDs, State ARC personnel, and the ARC headquarters facility to jointly participate in regional videoconferencing. It is expected that videoconferencing facilities can be used by the region's 71 LDDs, as well as citizens groups, and organizations to originate, and participate in videoconferencing. In this section, the information gathered about these publicly accessible is presented. The information gathered on each site is in various levels of completeness. As much information as possible for each site was recorded using the methods described in the previous section. Following these best efforts, some of the sites are extremely well documented, some are moderately documented and still others are incomplete. This resulted from several factors, including the failure of the site to respond to the survey and the follow-up attempts, a lack of knowledge on the part of the respondent concerning the technical aspects of the system, recent changes in technology or services at the site, etc. All information that was available from each site at the time of data collection was recorded and is presented included in this section. The comprehensive survey of public sites examined a wide variety of system types and organizations in all 13 states to ascertain the suitability of the respective site to participate in videoconferencing. Each site was asked to provide the following information applicable to the site participating in regional videoconferencing: • Location of site, to include county, city, ownership of site, and complete mailing address. Name of contact person, with telephone number, fax, email and web page URL • Availability of site to accommodate different types of original signal transmission over various types of high speed and wide band network services. Information includes specific line speed particulars for sites, compression and standards capabilities, access to "Bridge" facilities, network interface flexibility, and potential system upgrade capabilities. • An analysis of what types of videoconferencing equipment components are at each site: including, name of equipment and model type, ancillary supporting services such as computer access, fax, whiteboard, overhead camera, etc. © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 14
  19. 19. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey • Cost of use of site, if available and any special use conditions. The information contains times of day equipment is available, and days of the week, scheduling requirements, seating capacity of facility, etc. A total of 1,375 sites are included in this report. This does not imply that there are not additional sites within the region. The sites included in this survey were found via the research methods described in this report, and the information included herein is based on available survey information. With the cost of videoconferencing falling and the increased availability of ISDN and internet access throughout the US and the ARC region, it is not possible to capture every site that maintains interactive video capabilities. The data represents a best effort to gain a snap shot of a period of time in the 4th quarter of 1999 and 1st quarter of 2000. The information is dynamic as more sites implement videoconferencing technology, some decommission it and still other upgrade existing facilities. 2. Public Videoconferencing Site Information The number of public videoconferencing sites within each state within the ARC region is reflected below. As expected, Pennsylvania has the overwhelming majority of public sites – this mostly due to the concentration of sites in the Pittsburgh area and the fact that Pennsylvania has the greatest number of total counties in the ARC region. Sites by State MS SC 2% PA 1% NC 45% 3% MD 3% OH 3% VA 4% TN 5% WV 5% KY 5% NY AL 10% GA 6% 8% Figure 1 - Percentage of Total Sites in each ARC State Within each state in the ARC region only designated counties fall within the Appalachian Region – this is true for all states except West Virginia. In the case of West Virginia, the entire state (all counties) fall within Appalachia. The distribution of Appalachian counties © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 15
  20. 20. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey varies widely across the states. For example, Pennsylvania contains 52 Appalachian counties, whereas South Carolina contains only 6. In an attempt to gain a more complete picture and gauge the concentration of videoconferencing sites within each state, a ratio of the number of sites vs. the number of Appalachian counties in each state was developed. The three northern-most states (New York, Pennsylvania and Maryland) were shown to have a significantly higher concentration of sites (3 to 4 times the concentration), when compared with the states with the next highest concentration (Georgia and South Carolina). The ratio of public videoconferencing site to Appalachian county (by state) are presented in the chart below. Concentration of sites 14 12 12 12 Ratio = sites/counties 10 10 8 6 4 3 3 2 2 2 2 1 1 1 1 1 0 SC MS WV TN KY OH VA AL SC GA NY MD PA State Figure 2 - Concentration of Sites within each State The distribution of public videoconferencing sites is also plotted on Map 1: Videoconferencing Sites in the ARC Region (by zip code). Due to variances in street names, numbers, and other address features, zip codes were used to plot the sites. Each point on the map represents a unique zip code, and each symbol depicts the number of sites within that zip code. The videoconferencing site data is also represented in Map 2: Videoconferencing Sites in the ARC Region (by County). These maps point out the distribution and approximate geographic location of all 1,375 public videoconferencing sites within the ARC region. Each of these sites are characterized by different system types and manufacturers, interconnection, media, and transmission speeds, and this information is detailed in the following sections. © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 16
  21. 21. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey Figure 3 – Map of Videoconferencing Sites in the ARC Region by Zip Code © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 17
  22. 22. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey Figure 4 – Map of Videoconferencing Sites in the ARC Region by County © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 18
  23. 23. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey 2. Technology 2.1 System Types Videoconferencing systems are available in a variety of formats. A set-top or roll- about system that works with a television set allows a camera to mount directly on top of a television monitor. The monitor may sit on a moveable cart - allowing for its use in different locations. A desktop system integrated with a personal computer relies on the hardware and software of the PC for videoconferencing. A dedicated videoconferencing room is often a custom-designed room with ancillary equipment for specific purposes (tracking cameras for teachers in distance learning environments, document cameras, room control systems, VCRs, etc.). Set-top system Desktop system integrated Dedicated Videoconferencing with a PC Room These system types are found throughout the ARC region. Based on available survey information, of 1,375 public sites, the majority of the sites list an "unknown" videoconferencing type because the contact or individual completing the survey did not know this information or the survey was not completed (or not completed in its entirety). Although the primary system type found was Dedicated Videoconferencing Rooms (16%), it is suspected that the overwhelming majority of the sites listed as unknown are in fact either set-top/roll-about systems or desk-top systems. This can be inferred from other data included for each record – including the equipment manufacturer, videoconferencing standards listed, the seating capacity of the facility, transmission speeds, etc. Most of the sites that reported "Other", in fact, had multiple types of systems, and did not specify their primary system type. © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 19
  24. 24. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey Public Videoconferencing System Types Dedicated Room 16% Desktop System 2% Other unknown 1% 78% Set-Top or Roll- About 3% Figure 5 - Public Videoconferencing Site System Types The distribution of sites is plotted on Map 3: Videoconferencing System Types (by zip code). Using the zip codes of each site proved the most accurate way of plotting the collected data, due to variances in street names, numbers, and other address features. Each point on the map represents a unique zip code, and each symbol indicates that at least one videoconferencing system of that type is located within that zip code. © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 20
  25. 25. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey Figure 6 – Map of Videoconferencing System Types by Zip Code © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 21
  26. 26. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey 2.2 System Manufacturers Many manufacturers produce videoconferencing systems. Some of the most popular equipment manufacturers include Intel, which focuses on desktop computer conferencing; PictureTel and VTEL, which offer a variety of products but concentrate on roll-about and set-top type systems. Tektronix and ADC Communications manufacture broadband fiber and DS3 (high bandwidth) codecs targeted toward high-bandwidth networks. Of the dozens of manufacturers of videoconferencing equipment, 7 primary manufacturers were included in the chart below. Additional manufacturers (primarily with fewer than 10 references) were grouped in the 'other' category of the chart. Equipment Manufacturer PictureTel 27% Sony Intel 1% CLI 2% 2% Tektronix ADC 4% 2% VTEL 15% Other Unknown 2% 45% Figure 7 - Public Videoconferencing Site Equipment Manufacturers 2.3 Interconnectivity Videoconferencing systems usually have one or a combination of the following three connection capabilities. A switched connection provides the videoconferencing system with the capability to dial-up any other compatible system regardless of the location and uses the public switched network via ISDN, switched 56, an internet connection, or other method. The two systems communicating together can literally be located anywhere in the world (Birmingham, Alabama and Sidney, Australia for example), provided the two systems are compatible and operating according to the same technical standards. Because the connections are typically established via the public switched telecommunications network, video compression must be used over narrow bandwidth lines (i.e. ISDN lines at 384Kbs or lower). This degrades the video signal, to some extent, based on the bandwidth available. © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 22
  27. 27. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey Site A Public Site B Telephone Network CODEC CODEC Figure 8 - Switched Network Connection for Videoconferencing Unlike a switched connection, a dedicated connection can only interact with other sites on a particular network and connects using one of a host of different technologies (i.e. dedicated 56Kbs, broadband fiber, T-1, DS-3, coaxial cable, Virtual Private Networks, ATM, frame relay, or a private IP network). Typically, these dedicated networks are dedicated to a particular function (several school districts sharing courses via distance learning, hospitals operating a private video network for telemedical applications). What these dedicated networks give up in their ability to connect only a limited number of sites, they typically make up for in video and audio quality. Generally speaking, these networks employ high bandwidth network connections via fiber optic cable and/or circuits. These networks usually are capable of reproducing very high quality video and audio and often allow for many sites to participate together simultaneously. Site B CODEC Site A CODEC CODEC Site C CODEC Site D Figure 9 - Dedicated Network Connection for Videoconferencing © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 23
  28. 28. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey Some videoconferencing facilities have hybrid systems that operate with both capabilities (switched and dedicated). Often sites connected together on a closed- circuit (dedicated) system share a codec that has dial-out capabilities – in a manner similar to a printer being shared by a number of computers on a local area network. In this way, the dedicated sites can reap the benefits of both types of systems. Site B CODEC Site A CODEC CODEC Site C CODEC Gateway CODEC Site D Public Telephone Network Remote Site CODEC Figure 10 - Hybrid Switched/Dedicated Connection for Videoconferencing © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 24
  29. 29. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey Broadcast-type systems, such as a satellite-based, broadcast, or cable television systems only have the capability to receive (or send) video signals from the outside and to interact requires the use of a telephone, fax machine or other device. Broadcast systems such as this were not included as part of the study. The chart below reflects the distribution of the system types that are known in the Appalachian Region. Connection Capabilities Dedicated and Dial- up Capabilities Dial-Up Only 5% 54% Dedicated 'Closed Circuit Networks' 7% Unknown 34% Figure 11 - Public Videoconferencing Site Connection Capabilities 2.4 Videoconferencing Standards: Interoperability of Systems Most videoconferencing systems subscribe to a common set of standard technical specifications, so they can communicate with systems made by other manufacturers. There are today several major standards that apply to business-quality videoconferencing. Some of the more predominant include H.320, H.323 and H.310. H.320 has been by far the predominant standard to-date; it is used by 90% of the existing business videoconferencing equipment and it is the standard for component- to-component communication in such videoconferencing equipment. Another standard gaining in significance is H.323, which covers video communication via IP (Internet Protocol). The H.323 suite of standards allows for interactive video communication over a variety of data network types that communicate via IP (including ethernet local area and wide area networks and the internet). While widely used in private networks, this standard will more than likely gain in significance for public use as standards for the internet evolve allowing for guaranteed video quality. © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 25
  30. 30. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey Another standard that is beginning to make substantial inroads is H.310. This standard dictates the way in which the MPEG encoding schemes inter-operate together. MPEG and MPEG2 are encoding schemes often used on Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM) networks and is targeted for use for distance learning, telemedicine and other areas where high quality video is required. Several proprietary standards also exist in which only devices of the same manufacturer (and in some cases model) can communicate with one another. One example includes Tektronix J-Series equipment that operates using a protocol called Motion JPEG (M-JPEG). Using this equipment, all sites must be equipped with J- Series codecs connected to a central J-Series switch (DCC45) via a DS-3 circuit to communicate with one another. Technical Standards: System Interoperability MPEG-2 H.323 0% 1% Unknown 33% Analog 2% M-JPEG 4% H.320 60% Figure 12 - Technical Standards: System Interoperability Although there is a large percentage of sites for which the technical standards are not known, it can be inferred from other data that a good portion of these sites are H.320 compliant. While very few (8 out of 1,375 identified sites) were listed as having H.323 compliant videoconferencing equipment (operating via the internet and data networks), this more than likely does not provide an accurate picture of the actual distribution of this equipment. Because much of this gear is deployed in internal corporate networks and used in households for personal videoconferencing applications, it is not available for public use. Information regarding these systems would therefore not have been recorded for this study and quite difficult to obtain. © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 26
  31. 31. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey Figure 13 – Map of H.320 Capability of Videoconferencing Sites in the ARC Region by Zip Code © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 27
  32. 32. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey Each technical standard, circuit type and technology for videoconferencing has its advantages and disadvantages as well as cost differences. The table below describes some of the more common videoconferencing standards, applications and costs. STANDARD TELECOM TYPICAL QUALITY COMPATABILITY ADVANTAGES DISADVANTAGES COST MEDIUM APPLICATION M-JPEG FIBER Distance Learning High Quality & Can only connect to other Extremely reliable and Connections with other Flat rate ~ MPEG 2 DS-3 Reliable sites using the same easy to use sites limited only to those $1,800 to Analog (NTSC) Coaxial Cable Telemedicine technology on the same on the same network. 3,000/mo Broadcast network. Can connect multiple unlimited usage Multi-site Television Quality sites Interactive Typically used for Programs dedicated networks connecting several sites in the same geographic region H.320 ISDN or Videoconference Good Quality Can connect with any Universal connectivity Requires additional Usage sensitive Switched 56 Meetings, H.320 compatible system equipment and services Via Public Training, Virtual worldwide Uses existing public for multi-point Flat rate ~ $60 to Switched Field Trips, Video network with familiar videoconferencing 180/mo based on Telephone Arraignments dialing scheme bandwidth used Network Usage costs can add up quick with frequent, Usage extended calls $20-75/hr H.323 Ethernet/ Personal Quality Can connect with any Can turn almost any Requires significant Uses existing IP Network Videoconferencin determined by H.323 user connected via desktop computer into network management Internal g via internet bandwidth local IP network or via an a videoconferencing oversight to guarantee corporate data available on the Internet connection system bandwidth networks or Internal corporate network for video Internet videoconferencin transmission Can not guarantee quality connection g via data over Internet connections network Figure 14 - Summary of Videoconferencing Transmission Technologies © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 28
  33. 33. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey % of Sites with Both Dedicated (“Closed-circuit”) and Dial-up Capabilities % of Sites Connected to a Dedicated “Closed-circuit” 100 Network Only % of Sites with Dial-up Capabilities 80 60 40 20 0 PA MS WV AL OH TN KY GA SC NC MD NY VA Figure 15 - Network Capabilities of Public Videoconferencing Sites in the Appalachian Region © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 29
  34. 34. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey 2.5 Bridging Bridging allows for three or more videoconferencing sites to communicate simultaneously in a session together. Bridging can be achieved in a variety of ways depending on the type of technology that is being used for videoconferencing. Some of the more popular forms of bridging are described below. Bridging via H.320 and H.323 dial-up type systems is often achieved using a device called a multipoint conferencing unit (MCU). In this scenario, separate videoconferencing units typically “dial-in” to a MCU. MCUs have multiple ports – the number of ports determines how many outside systems can dial in. They also have varying transmission speed capabilities – some can only operate at speeds of 128Kbs, others can operate at higher speeds, such as 384Kbs. Regardless, participants can only interact at the speed of the weakest link. For example, if one site dials the MCU at a speed of 384Kbs (high quality video) and two others dial at a speed of 128Kbs (low quality video), all sites will interact at the lower quality 128Kbs rate. How participants view one another is also a function of the capabilities of the particular model of MCU that is being used. Some MCUs can automatically detect which site is speaking, keying in on audio signals, and will display the video image of that site for the other participants. This image will continue to be displayed until another site begins to speak – at which time the video image will change to that site, allowing that site then to “take the floor”. Other MCUs have the capability to “quad-split” the screen (dividing the participants’ individual television screens into four quadrants) and placing the video image of each participant in one of the quadrants of the screen. The diagram below depicts four video conferencing units bridged in a videoconferencing session via an MCU. Site A Site C MCU CODEC CODEC Site B Site D CODEC CODEC Bridging on a dedicated video conferencing network is typically achieved in a different way – usually via the use of scheduling software that runs on the network. © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 30
  35. 35. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey Through the use of this software, a network administrator can configure the network to establish sessions between particular sites at particular times. The software, when programmed with this information, then communicates with the network equipment at the appropriate time to establish the sessions as programmed. This software can be web-based and accessible from all locations or it may reside on a controlling network switch and accessible only through a hard-wired terminal. The diagram below represents one way in which a dedicated network sites may be bridged and sessions scheduled. SITE SITE TV TV TV TV TV TV SITE TV Network Switch TV TV Scheduling Computer Throughout the ARC region, the various forms of bridging discussed above exist. In the survey, respondents were asked if bridging capabilities existed for their system or associated network. The chart below summarizes the responses. Bridging Capabilities Yes 22% No Don't Know 58% 2% No Response 18% Figure 16 - Public Videoconferencing Site Bridging Capabilities © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 31
  36. 36. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey In addition to indicating whether or not bridging exists, respondents were asked how bridging is achieved. For example, does the facility maintain an MCU on site or do they use an MCU located elsewhere? Typically there are hourly usage charges associated with the use of an MCU located at a remote location. Many telephone companies and private telecommunications businesses maintain MCUs and make them available to organizations that desire multi-point capabilities for scheduled meetings, training sessions, interviews, etc. The companies that offer bridging facilities typically require reservations to be made ahead of time and charge an hourly rate and possibly a set-up charge. It is important to note that unlike switched (dial-up) bridging systems, dedicated videoconferencing networks have bridging capabilities that can not be shared with anyone outside of their “closed-circuit” networks. Methods in which organizations within the Appalachian Region establish bridged, multipoint capabilities are described in the chart below. The chart below only reflects those sites for which information existed (does not include those sites that did not respond to the survey). Bridging Method Own Bridge 20% Dialing-in No Response 42% 2% Network Software 1% Don't Know 4% Scheduling Computer 31% Figure 17 - Public Videoconferencing Site Bridging Methods A full listing of the bridging locations identified in Appalachia is provided in the appendices of this document. © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 32
  37. 37. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey Figure 18 – Map of Videoconferencing Sites with Bridging Capabilities by Zip Code © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 33
  38. 38. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey 2.5 Videoconferencing Carriers The telecommunications connections that allow the videoconferencing units to intercommunicate can be provisioned by a number of different providers. These may be telephone companies, cable companies, internet providers or private customer wide area or local area networks. The service providers providing interconnectivity throughout the ARC region are listed in the chart below. Videoconferencing Carriers Other 0% Public Telephone Network 22% Private computer network 2% Cable 1% Internet 0% Satellite Unknown 0% 75% Private wireless network 0% Figure 19 - Public Videoconferencing Site Media While a large percentage of this information is unknown, it can be inferred from other data within each record that the vast majority of these sites employ the public telephone network to establish telecommunications connectivity for videoconferencing. 2.6 Transmission Speeds While there are many different carriers that provide interconnectivity, there are even more types of telecommunications lines that are provided by the service providers that are used for videoconferencing. Some of the more common types of circuits are discussed below. ISDN – Perhaps the most common kind of digital telecommunication line is called ISDN BRI (Integrated Services Digital Network, Basic Rate Interface). ISDN BRI is a dial-up (switched) telecommunication service that can be ordered from a local telephone company. While it is widely available in most urban and suburban areas, it may or may not be available in rural locations. The technology provides two data channels, each with a capacity of 64kbps (for a total of 128Kbs). Often, a single codec can accept multiple ISDN BRI lines which improves the overall bandwidth that is used (i.e. three (3) BRI lines @ 128Kbs = 384Kbs) and thus improves the quality © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 34
  39. 39. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey of the video and audio. Generally speaking, modern videoconferencing units that operate on an ISDN line also operate using the H.320 standard. Appalachian Region-wide, 26% of the total identified units employed ISDN connections. It is suspected that the majority of those sites for which the connection type was unknown (52%) use ISDN as well. Switched 56 – Switched 56 is an older technology that also offers dial-up (switched) connections similar to ISDN – but operates at the lesser transmission speed of 56Kbs, instead of 128Kbs. Like ISDN, multiple switched 56 lines can be combined to improve quality and systems using switched 56 typically operate on the H.320 standard. This means that ISDN users can connect to videoconferencing systems using switched 56 and visa versa. As discussed earlier, the quality of the video and audio during a session is determined by the lowest bandwidth user. T-1 – A T-1 line consists of 24 individual channels each of which operates at 64Kbs. These channels can be combined together supporting data rates of roughly 1.5Mbs (24 channels @ 64Kbs = 1536Kbs). Each 64Kbit/second channel can be configured to carry voice or data traffic. Many telephone companies allow purchasing of just some of these individual channels, known as fractional T-1 access. T-1 lines are sometimes referred to as DS1 lines. T-3 – A T-3 line (sometimes referred to as DS3) is a dedicated phone connection supporting data rates of about 43Mbps. A T-3 line actually consists of 672 individual channels, each of which supports 64Kbs. T-3 lines are often used for dedicated videoconferencing and distance learning networks. Frame Relay – Frame Relay is a technology used for connecting devices on a Wide Area Network (WAN). Most telephone companies now provide Frame Relay service for customers who want connections at 56Kbs to T-1 speeds. This bandwidth is shared among many sites so the full bandwidth that the customer subscribes to may be available all the time. In the U.S., Frame Relay is quite popular because it is relatively inexpensive. However, it is being replaced in some areas by faster technologies, such as ATM. ATM – Current implementations of ATM (Asynchronous Transfer Mode) support data transfer rates of from 25 to 622Mbs (megabits per second). This compares to a maximum of 100Mbps for Ethernet, the current technology used for most local area networks (LANs). One of the advantages of ATM technology is that multiple types of communications (voice, data and video) can be carried on an ATM network and that bandwidth can be guaranteed for applications such as video to ensure stable and predictable quality. © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 35
  40. 40. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey The Internet – H.323 compliant videoconferencing systems are designed to work with Internet Protocol (IP). If connecting to the internet, users can benefit from a high speed internet connections – the faster the connection, the better. Unfortunately, no matter how fast a connection a site has, this bandwidth can not be guaranteed as the signals traverse scores of switches and routers that make up the internet connection to the remote site. As is the case with other telecommunications services, you are only as fast as the weakest link in the connection. Depending on the location of the remote end and all of the equipment and services in between, you may have acceptable quality video or poor quality. Standards bodies are currently working in an attempt to solve these problems. Cable Modem – A cable modem is a device designed to operate over cable TV lines and offers speeds, usually to the internet, in the range of 5 to 10Mbs. Because the coaxial cable used by cable TV provides much greater bandwidth than telephone lines, a cable modem can be used to achieve extremely fast access to the internet. The same issues related to the internet apply however. DSL – Like a cable modem, Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) technology offers high speed connectivity, typically to the internet, at speeds in the range of 1 to 6Mbs. Unlike cable modems, however, DSL modems work on standard copper telephone lines. The service is typically offered by internet service providers (ISPs) and telephone companies and often competes with cable modem services offered by cable television companies. The same issues related to the internet apply for DSL access to the internet. Sites within the ARC region reported a wide range of technology types and transmission speeds for videoconferencing. The speeds included in the chart on the following page include 128kbps, 384kbps, ISDN, T-1, and Broadband Fiber. Other reported speeds are included in the 'other' category and the remaining sites reported 'unknown' transmission speeds. © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 36
  41. 41. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey Transmission Speeds ISDN (128Kbps) 2% ISDN (384Kbps) 10% ISDN (Unspecified) Unknown 14% 52% Broadband Fiber 7% T-1 9% Other 6% Figure 20 - Public Videoconferencing Site Transmission Speeds The distribution of transmission speeds are represented on Map 6, 6B, 6C and 6D: Videoconferencing Site Transmission Speeds (by zip code). Using the zip codes of each site proved the most accurate way of plotting the collected data, due to variances in street names, numbers, and other address features. Each point on the map represents a unique zip code, and each symbol indicates that at least one videoconferencing system with that transmission speed is located within the representative zip code. Based on the data collected it is not possible to create a map that demonstrates all of the various types of circuits available across the region. This would require a survey of all companies providing telecommunications services in Appalachia including local exchange carriers, competitive local exchange carriers, cable television companies, etc. With the increase of competition within this market in recent years, this information is often considered to be strategically significant by these companies and they are often reluctant to share such information in detail. © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 37
  42. 42. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey Figure 21 – Map of Videoconferencing Site Transmission Speeds by Zip Code © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 38
  43. 43. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey Figure 22 – Map of Videoconferencing Site Transmission Speeds (T-1) © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 39
  44. 44. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey Figure 23 – Map of Videoconferencing Site Transmission Speeds (Broadband Fiber) © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 40
  45. 45. Appalachian Regional Commission Videoconferencing Survey Figure 24 – Map of Videoconferencing Site Transmission Speeds (ISDN) © 2000 The Myers Group ▪ 607-754-5037 ▪ info@myersgroup.com 41

×