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  1. 1. Scheduling and Streaming Videoconferences Megan Troyer The Ohio State University Internet2 Site Coordinator Training March 2005 Atlanta, GA
  2. 2. Scheduling Videoconferences A review of what is available and what Internet2 is doing
  3. 3. Scheduling Software Vendor Products <ul><li>Magicsoft VCWizard </li></ul><ul><li>Forgent ALLIANCE MULTIMEDIA </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Purchased TODD and GSS (Global Scheduling System) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Radvision iVIEW VCS </li></ul><ul><li>Polycom Conference Suite (PCS) </li></ul><ul><li>Tandberg Management Suite (TMS) </li></ul>
  4. 4. Scheduling: Write Your Own <ul><li>You can write your own site-specific software using the vendor’s API </li></ul><ul><li>Northwestern University has one for their campus using Radvision MCU </li></ul>
  5. 5. Scheduling Considerations <ul><li>Are you aware of all the endpoints that you conference with? </li></ul><ul><li>Do you use Gatekeepers for dialling? </li></ul><ul><li>Do you plan to use GDS? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The preceding 00 can be a problem for some vendors </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Do you prefer dial-in or dial-out? </li></ul><ul><li>Do you want Ad-Hoc ability? </li></ul>
  6. 6. Scheduling Considerations <ul><li>Is your network all one brand? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Makes sense to use brand-specific scheduler </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Do you have a mixed-standard environment? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>IP, ATM, and/or ISDN </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Do you need to closely track usage? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Billing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reports </li></ul></ul><ul><li>How familiar are your end users with the equipment? </li></ul>
  7. 7. What the Commons Is Using <ul><li>Manually scheduled from a web form http://commons.internet2.edu/vcrequest/ </li></ul><ul><li>We tried Magicsoft VCWizard </li></ul><ul><ul><li>They could not keep up with our upgrades </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The Commons tries to always have the latest and greatest software and hardware </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Who Can Request Use of the Commons? <ul><li>Only subscribers can schedule conferences on the Commons MCUs </li></ul><ul><ul><li>We do still have one MCU available on a first come, first served, ad hoc only basis </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>This MCU will only have 384 kbps Voice Switched conferencing </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Right now requests are handled either by the submission of the form or over the telephone </li></ul>
  9. 9. How do I request? <ul><li>Web form </li></ul><ul><ul><li>http://commons.internet2.edu/vcrequest/ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>This form is password protected </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Password will be sent upon subscription completion </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Form is transmitted to the Internet2 Commons Support Center at OARnet </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>You will receive a confirming email with proper instructions </li></ul></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Layouts available
  11. 11. Email the request <ul><ul><li>To ensure a prompt response send it to: support@oar.net but you must be a subscriber </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Be sure to include the following information: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Date, Time (including time zone), and duration </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Your contact information </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Data rate </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Number of sites </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>If continuous presence, specify a format </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Do you want the conference streamed? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>If so, provide evidence of an audience and a title for the stream </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  12. 12. So I scheduled my conference, now what? <ul><li>TEST, TEST, TEST </li></ul><ul><li>Have your endpoint turned on and registered to a GDS gatekeeper. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Know your own IP and GDS number </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Have your test site turn their endpoint on and registered to a GDS gatekeeper. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>If either of you need to borrow space, see http://commons.internet2.edu/reggate </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Meet together in one of our test conferences: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>001189 700 1234 for a 384 kbps test call </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>001189 720 1234 for a 768 kbps test call </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. So I scheduled my conference, now what? <ul><li>Do audio and video testing by talking back and forth and waving or making other movement to test the video. </li></ul><ul><li>If you would like to test with the same conference that you will be using for your event, call the Commons Help Desk and they will enable the conference for you. </li></ul>
  14. 14. What should I tell the attendees in my conferences? <ul><li>Always join a videoconference with your endpoint muted. If a conversation is going on or the meeting has already started in the videoconference, you will not interrupt when you join. Just like walking into an actual meeting room full of people, wait for a lull in the conversation to unmute and say something. This is especially important if you are on the telephone with tech support when you join. </li></ul>
  15. 15. What should I tell the attendees in my conferences? <ul><li>Always MUTE your microphone when you are not speaking. This means that you have to remember to UNMUTE when you do want to speak to the group, but that is better than having your phone ringing or someone or something in your hall disrupting the whole group. </li></ul>
  16. 16. What should I tell the attendees in my conferences? <ul><li>Make sure to have the camera frame up your image well before joining the call. This way you will not make the other sites in the call sea sick as you move your camera about the room. It is a good idea to make use of presets if your endpoint has that feature. Also, have a location banner in the background so everyone can tell where you are. I like to have a preset zoomed in on one so I can be off camera, but people will still know from what site I am. </li></ul>
  17. 17. What should I tell the attendees in my conferences? <ul><li>If you have food, be prepared to share with everyone. There’s nothing worse than having a videoconference during a meal time and seeing someone else eat. If it is to be “brown bag” be sure all know so they don’t have to watch you eat. Presets are handy here also; you can go to your banner while you take a bite. </li></ul>
  18. 18. What should I tell the attendees in my conferences? <ul><li>Try to remove as much extraneous noise sources as possible. Don’t place the microphone near a computer or other device with a fan. If you can turn your ringer off on your telephone, that’s great too. </li></ul>
  19. 19. Streaming Videoconferences A review of what is available and what The Commons is doing
  20. 20. Streaming <ul><li>Streaming is the one-way delivery of digital content from a streaming server to a streaming client in a continuous, paced, and controlled flow </li></ul><ul><li>Streaming alleviates the need to download an entire media clip as a file </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Live events don’t exist as a file yet </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Allows playing to start before download is completed </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Protects copyright </li></ul></ul>
  21. 21. Streaming a Videoconference <ul><li>Streaming a videoconference makes it possible for any number of people to view a conference – either live or recorded for on-demand access </li></ul><ul><li>Viewers use desktop computers with standard media players such as Real, Windows Media, or QuickTime </li></ul><ul><li>Participants in a live, streaming event can participate interactively by: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>E-mail to a conference facilitator </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>On-line chat </li></ul></ul>
  22. 22. What Kinds of Things Can You Do? <ul><li>Key individuals participate interactively by videoconference; a larger audience views the live stream. </li></ul><ul><li>Save the proceedings of a meeting. </li></ul><ul><li>Make a class or lecture available on-demand for student review. </li></ul><ul><li>In fact, maybe all you want to do is stream an event – you don’t need to videoconference. You have a videoconferencing appliance in the room, and… </li></ul>
  23. 23. Four Methods to Stream a Videoconference <ul><li>All-in-one solutions </li></ul><ul><li>Combination of videoconferencing terminal and standard streaming encoder </li></ul><ul><li>Videoconferencing endpoints with built-in H.26x/G.7xx multicast streaming </li></ul><ul><li>Application service providers </li></ul>
  24. 24. All-In-One Streamers <ul><li>As either an </li></ul><ul><ul><li>H.323 terminal and a streaming server, or </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>H.323 MCU and streaming server </li></ul></ul><ul><li>These devices </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Take the H.26x video and G.7xx audio out of an H.323 envelope and stuff into the envelope of a common streaming format such as Real, Windows Media, or QuickTime, and </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Serve the unicast and/or multicast stream </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Can store the stream for VOD </li></ul></ul>
  25. 25. All-In-One Box <ul><li>Examples: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>STARBAK Torrent VCG </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>FVC Conference Server with Streaming Support </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Virtual Rooms Videoconference Service (VRVS) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Codian MCU </li></ul></ul>
  26. 26. Combo Endpoint and Encoder <ul><li>Two standard devices… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>H.323 videoconference endpoint </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Streaming encoder </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Are interconnected </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A/V out of H.323 endpoint into A/V input of encoder </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Encoder can be just about anything </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Real, Windows Media, QuickTime; or MPEG-1,-2,-4; unicast or multicast </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Video can be recorded and stored for VOD </li></ul>
  27. 27. Terminals with Built-In <ul><li>Some high-end terminals such as </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Polycom FX </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Tandberg 880 </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Can multicast the H.26x/G.7xx audio and video in standard streaming envelopes (QT, etc.) </li></ul><ul><li>No ability to record for VOD </li></ul><ul><li>May not capture the “near” video </li></ul>
  28. 28. Application Service Providers <ul><li>Many videoconference bridging service providers also provide a streaming option </li></ul><ul><li>The technology that an ASP will employ will either be an All-In-One Box or a Combination Terminal and Encoder </li></ul>
  29. 29. Pros and Cons <ul><li>Video and audio quality </li></ul><ul><ul><li>PRO: Solution Combo Endpoint and Encoder uses optimised-for-streaming encoding formats </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>H.26x & G.7xx from the videoconference are decoded to base band video and audio and re-encoded in an optimised-for-streaming format </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>CON: Both All-In-One Box and Endpoints with Built-In repackage H.26x and G.7xx video and audio </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>H.26x & G.7xx are not optimised for streaming </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>H.26x doesn’t provide dynamic bandwidth adjusting capability </li></ul></ul></ul>
  30. 30. Pros and Cons <ul><li>Operations and Management </li></ul><ul><ul><li>CON: Combo Endpoint and Encoder can be complex to manage </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Have to schedule and manage the encoder. Videoconference scheduling systems don’t support viewing the pair of devices as a single logical device </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Features </li></ul><ul><ul><li>CON: Endpoints with Built-In don’t have the ability to record a videoconference </li></ul></ul>
  31. 31. Pros and Cons <ul><li>Networking </li></ul><ul><ul><li>PRO: All-in-One Box and Combo Terminals and Encoders support IP unicast and multicast transmissions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>CON: Endpoints with Built-In streaming require IP multicast </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Multicast is sparsely supported in the commercial Internet </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Multicast support in university and commercial intranets is varied and typically not robust </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Endpoints with Built-In streaming are only feasible if your audience is on multicast-enabled networks </li></ul></ul></ul>
  32. 32. Just because… <ul><li>You’re getting a Real, QT, or WM stream out of an All-in-One Box, doesn’t mean optimized-for-streaming encoders are being used! </li></ul><ul><li>All-In-One Box and Endpoints with Built-In DO NOT use the Real or WM encoders. They stuff H.26x and G.7xx encoded video and audio into Real, WM, or QT envelopes. </li></ul>
  33. 33. Internet2 Commons VC Streaming Service <ul><li>Utilizes STARBAK Torrent VCG all-in-one box </li></ul><ul><li>Available to any Internet2 Commons Subscriber who requests a conference </li></ul>
  34. 34. Internet2 Commons VC Streaming Service <ul><li>Simple web interface </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Video uses QuickTime, Windows Media Player, or Real </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Can add slides and chat, if you want them </li></ul><ul><li>Stream has about a 7 to 10 second delay over the actual videoconference </li></ul>
  35. 35. Internet2 Commons VC Streaming Service <ul><li>If you request that the Commons record your conference, you will need to store the stream on your own server </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Can be exported as Quicktime .mov or Windows .asf </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>We store streams for a max of 3 weeks </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Can be played back in QuickTime, Windows Media or Real </li></ul><ul><li>When filling out the conference request form, select streaming </li></ul><ul><li>You will need to describe the anticipated audience and give us a title for your stream </li></ul>
  36. 36. Commons VCG
  37. 37. Special Thanks to… <ul><li>Gabe Moulton, The Ohio State University </li></ul><ul><li>Doug Pearson, Indiana University </li></ul><ul><li>For providing me with many of these slides to use </li></ul>
  38. 38. More Info ... <ul><li>Gabe Moulton </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>or </li></ul><ul><li>Megan Troyer </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>(614) 292-8443 </li></ul><ul><li>The Ohio State University </li></ul>