Video Conferencing Facilities
- Booking information
- The JANET Video Conference service homepage
- The JANET Video Conference Advisory Service
IT Services and Learning Services have established two video conferencing studios within the University - one in the Colville building on the John Anderson campus , and one in the Stow building at Jordanhill.
The 12 seater suite at the Anderson Campus and the 11 seater studio at Jordanhill have been designed in aesthetic terms to give the best possible image of the University of Strathclyde for those viewing down the line, and in technical terms to make the technology almost transparent to the user, leaving participants free to concentrate on the meeting. Audio and video mixing are automatic - as each participant speaks, a camera locks on to them so that those viewing at the remote site can see who is speaking. There is also provision for showing, pictures, diagrams or 3-D objects from a visualiser, and for showing video clips or computer images.
The system makes use of the high bandwidth capabilities of the Scottish academic data networks to provide high quality video and audio links between any two sites.
Multipoint Control Units (MCUs) allow conferences involving many sites to be set up.
The studio is connected to the network via a Tandberg 8000 codec (COder-DECoder). The codec is the device which takes the audio and video signals from the studio and converts them to a format which can be transported over a communications link to a remote site. We can make connections to other sites via two different routes:
- Via IP using H.323.
This allows us to run conferences over the Internet, at speeds up to 3Mb/s. This can deliver higher quality than ISDN in many cases, and of course there are no call charges. However, there is often no guaranteed bandwidth, and call quality can depend greatly on the quality of the network between the two endpoints. However the lack of calkl charges means that H.323 is generally the preferred method of conferencing. Video over IP using H.323 is still a less mature standard than video over ISDN. Until fairly recently, many sites dif not have the equipment or network infrastructure to support it. However, the required equipment is becoming much more common; in the UK sites which cannot support H.323 are now the exception rather than the rule. Within Scotland, virtually all HE sites, and some FE sites, have installed similar IP conferencing equipment, and high quality conferences can be arranged between these sites with no call charges.
- Via ISDN.
This was once the most popular method, as it is a well established standard. In particular, the guaranteed bandwidth of an isdn link makes this method attractive, albeit expensive, for many international links. We have carried out conferences with sites all over the world. Two levels of service are available: ISDN-6 - 384k - a higher quality mode or ISDN-2 - 128k - a lower quality mode, suitable for "talking-head" meetings, but not appropriate if there are lots of participants or if higher resolution images are needed. ISDN conferences will incur call charges at one end of the link - approximately 2x or 6x the cost of an equivalent phone call, depending on the required quality.
The service has been fully operational since mid 1997. It is also hoped to expand the service so that lectures can be delivered to or from a remote location using major lecture theatres at each campus. The first phases of this expansion include the SUPA initiative within Physics, and a teaching room in the David Stow building which is fully equipped for video lectures, and which is regularly used for two-way and three-way conferences as part of the Glasgow School of Social Work.
Further details may be obtained by e-mail to email@example.com. All bookings should be made by email to this address. You should NOT contact the national management centre directly.