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Buyer's Guide to Distance Conferencing Systems

Videoconferencing has reduced corporate travel by 24 percent, according to research by the Aberdeen Group. Nearly 31 million business IP phones, which help drive audio conferencing, are expected to s 3/11/2009 7:39 AM Eastern

Buyer's Guide to Distance Conferencing Systems

Videoconferencing has reduced corporate travel by 24 percent, according to research by the Aberdeen Group. Nearly 31 million business IP phones, which help drive audio conferencing, are expected to ship by 2012. Using VoIP for audio conferencing not only reduces travel, but also the amount of copper run through a building.

Videoconferencing has reduced corporate travel by 24 percent, according to research by the Aberdeen Group. Nearly 31 million business IP phones, which help drive audio conferencing, are expected to ship by 2012. Clearly, distance conferencing (audio and video) is booming. "Perhaps it will never quite replace the impact of being face to face, but some of the advances will make it easier to facilitate group meetings," says John Scarborough, co-founder of IP5280, which specializes in IP voice/data services. Using VoIP for audio conferencing not only reduces travel, but also the amount of copper run through a building.

When it comes to videoconferencing, HD makes systems more attractive. "While HDTV is an improvement over television, HD videoconferencing is a huge improvement over standard videoconferencing," says Andrew Davis of Wainhouse Research. Simplicity is key to reducing user awareness of the technology. Expect more multi-codec systems with multiple and varying screens. "The use of 1080p is going to be limited for a long time, but today's systems give users a much higher-quality AV experience," he says. "They also, coincidently, don't really cost more than the older systems; sometimes they're even less."

Avaya
www.avaya.com

System: Avaya Video Telephony Solution (AVTS)
Pricing: Configuration- and platform-dependent
Included Components: Avaya one-X Communicator works on Windows and Vista PCs and supports several Web cameras; also works with Polycom video products
Resolution: one-X Communicator offers VGA quality video; systems leveraging Polycom endpoints offer HD quality
Number of displays/monitors: Not applicable
Screen class sizes: Not applicable
Video condecs supported: H.261, H.263, H.264
Network Support: H.323 and ISDN video endpoints
Built-in HD audio: Yes
Security features: None
Integrates the video capability of Avaya's Communication Manager IP Telephony system with Avaya's video-enabled soft clients (Avaya one-X Communicator and IP Softphone), and Avaya Meeting Exchange Video (MCU) as well as gatekeepers, gateways, MCUs, and group video communications systems offered by Polycom and Tandberg. Communication Manager provides point-to-point and multipoint video capability on an IP network. AVTS leverages the presence capabilities of Avaya's video-enabled soft clients to enable collaboration using a single IP network for voice and video applications.

Biamp Systems
www.biamp.com

System: AudiaFLEX with AEC-2HD Card, VoIP-2 Card, and/or TI-2 Card
Pricing: Configuration-dependent
Voice network: PSTN, VoIP, HD/wideband
Frequency response: 20 Hz to 20 kHz @ +4 dBu, +0/-0.4 dB
Dynamic range: 20 Hz to 20 kHz, 0 dB>107 dB
Maximum gain: Input channels = 66 dB
Crosstalk: Channel-to-channel @ 1 kHz = line level,
<-80 dB; mic level, <-75 dB
Administrative controls: None
Video Support: Allows audio connections to video codec
Security features: None
AudiaFLEX can be configured with the number of inputs and outputs you need. The AEC-2HD Card allows the addition of the Biamp TrueSound Algorithm that delivers audio with 20 Hz to 20 kHz wideband AEC, even during multiple participant conversations, without draining core DSP resources. AudiaFLEX connects directly to a landline with the TI-2 Card or with the VoIP-2 Card, and allows conferencing over VoIP telephone system directly from AudiaFLEX.



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Buyer's Guide to Distance Conferencing Systems

Videoconferencing has reduced corporate travel by 24 percent, according to research by the Aberdeen Group. Nearly 31 million business IP phones, which help drive audio conferencing, are expected to ship by 2012. Using VoIP for audio conferencing not only reduces travel, but also the amount of copper run through a building.

Cisco
www.cisco.com

System: Cisco TelePresence System 3200
Pricing: $340,000
Included Components: HD plasma displays, three HD cameras, nine microphones, three loudspeakers, Cisco Unified IP Phone 7975G
Resolution: 1920x1080 native
Number of displays/monitors: Three
Screen class size: 65 inches
Video condecs supported: H.264 at 1080p and 720p or CIF
Network Support: Runs as an application over an Ethernet network
Built-in HD audio: Yes
Security features: X.509v3 digital certificates (MIC/LSC), Certificate Trust List (CTL), Signed Firmware Loads, Signed/Encrypted Configuration Files, SIP over TLS, Secure Real-Time Transport Protocol (sRTP), S-Description Key Exchange in Session Description Protocol (SDP), DTLS Key Exchange (TLS over UDP)
Cisco TelePresence provides an alternative to travel by recreating face-to-face meetings in a virtual environment. The technology has proven to reduce travel expenses and carbon emissions across organizations, according to the company, helping to increase productivity, speed decision making, and improve collaboration.

ClearOne
www.clearone.com

System: Converge Pro
Pricing: $1,195-$5,695
Voice network: PSTN, HD/wideband
Frequency response: 20 Hz to 22 kHz, ± 1 dB
Dynamic range: 100 dB (non A-weighted)
Maximum gain: +20 dB per I/O
Crosstalk: <-91 dB re 20 dBu @ 20 kHz channel to channel
Administrative controls: Not applicable
Video Support: Yes, via third-party video systems
Security features: None
The Converge Pro 880T provides a complete audio conferencing system for collaboration, presentation, distance communications, and any other multi-media audio requirements. It combines ClearOne's proprietary Distributed Echo Cancellation and the company's adaptive algorithms with audio digital signal processing for automatic microphone mixing, signal routing, equalization, automatic level control, compression, and other audio processing functions. The 880T uses a rapid-configuration user interface for system setup. It also facilitates local and remote PC setup, control, and diagnostics plus compatibility with the ClearOne Tabletop controller or integration with other popular control systems.

Digital Video Enterprises (DVE)
www.dvetelepresence.com

System Model: Huddle Room 70
Pricing: $84,800 (base model, bundled version)
Included Components: Turnkey solution, works with any codec/camera of choice; lighting package and boardroom quality table included
Resolutions: Codec-dependent: 720i, 720p, 1080i, or 1080p
Number of displays/monitors: One LifeSize display
Screen class size: 65-inch HD LCD
Video codec supported: H.264
Network Support: H.323, ISDN option
Built-in HD audio: Yes
Security features: AES-256 encryption
The Huddle Room 70 is an immersive conferencing system that provides a camera hidden behind the display for telepresence between two life-sized participants (four in wide view). According to the company, its minimal footprint permits easy placement in small meeting rooms. The Huddle's high-quality image has deep rich black levels and a zero-bezel LCD image. Two 21-inch data tablets on the table improve data conferencing by providing easy-to-read text and document sharing.



Buyer's Guide to Distance Conferencing Systems

Videoconferencing has reduced corporate travel by 24 percent, according to research by the Aberdeen Group. Nearly 31 million business IP phones, which help drive audio conferencing, are expected to ship by 2012. Using VoIP for audio conferencing not only reduces travel, but also the amount of copper run through a building.

Hewlett-Packard
www.hp.com/halo

System: Halo Collaboration Center
Pricing: Four-Seater, $135,000, plus $9,900/month for HP Halo Managed Service; Two-Seater, $120,000, plus $9,900/month for HP Halo Managed Service
Included Components: Broadcast-quality camera; 65-inch plasma people screen monitor; 42-inch HD collaboration screen; dedicated collaboration-channel VGA connection for sharing content via laptop; two executive conference chairs; executive table with integrated VGA cable; tabletop microphone solution/fully-duplexed; custom-designed HP proprietary software and GUI
Resolutions: 1280x960 or 720p
Number of displays/monitors: Two
Screen class sizes: 65-inch plasma people screen monitor, 42-inch HD collaboration screen
Network Support: H.323
Built-in HD audio: Yes
Security features: AES-256 encryption
The Halo Collaboration Center is for executives and small teams. It comes in two-seater or four- seater models that have a small footprint and require minimal site preparation. The Collaboration Center can be placed in multiple locations, including an executive office or a conference room. Both models include Halo Multipoint collaboration with other locations worldwide, and both deliver an immersive telepresence experience, according to HP.

HaiVision Network Video
www.haivision.com

System: hai1000
Pricing: Configuration dependent
Included Components: Codec only
Resolutions: Standard definition and full frame rates up to 1080p HD
Number of displays/monitors: Up to five per system
Screen class size: Not applicable
Video condecs supported: H.264
Network Support: SIP, RTP
Supported conference rates: Up to 10 Mbps
Built-in HD audio: Yes
Security features: Not applicable
According to the company, HaiVision's hai1000 platform offers distance educators a telepresence/continuous presence-style solution delivering high video and audio quality across great distances. Achieving less than 70 milliseconds of end-to-end latency and supporting multi-display, full-screen telepresence-style contact, the hai1000 allows educators to interact with remote locations without fatigue or attention drift. By adopting continuous presence style systems, educators can offer intensive classes to remote locations, eliminating the need for students to relocate or travel great distances.

LifeSize Communications
www.lifesize.com

System: LifeSize Conference 200
Pricing: $49,999
Included Components: Three LifeSize Room 200 codecs, four LifeSize Camera 200s, LifeSize Phone, LifeSize Conference software, wireless remote control, power supplies, cables
Resolutions: 1920x1080p30, 1280x720p60, or 1280x720p30
Number of displays/monitors: Not applicable; support for three full HD video monitors and one full HD data monitor
Screen class sizes: Not applicable; attached video monitors should be 58 to 65 inches; data monitor should be 42 to 50 inches
Video condecs supported: H.264, H.261, H.263, H.263+, and H.239 (HD data sharing)
Network Support: 10/100 Ethernet, IP v4 and IP v6, H.323 and SIP, auto H.323 dialing, NAT/firewall Traversal (H.460/SIP), ISDN via optional LifeSize Networker; H.320 dialing when used with LifeSize Networker
Supported conference rates: 2.5 to 18 Mbps (768 Kbps to 6.0 Mbps per codec)
Built-in HD audio: Yes
Security features: H.235 encryption; secure (SSL/TLS) password-protected Web management tool; admin- and user-level passwords; SNMP security alerts; ability to disable HTTP, SSH, and Telnet services; Kensington Lock LifeSize Conference 200 provides technology for an immersive, mirror-room experience and gives customers the freedom to select furniture, décor, and wall color to suit their taste and budget. According to the company, LifeSize delivers full HD (1080p30/720p60) telepresence for less than the cost of other solutions, with ongoing savings though lower bandwidth requirements. Image clarity drives high system use, enabling companies to increase collaboration while reducing travel costs.

System: LifeSize Express with Focus
Pricing: $49,990
Included Components: LifeSize Express codec, LifeSize Focus HD camera with integrated HD microphone array, wireless remote control, power supply, cables
Resolutions: More than 100 resolutions, including widescreen 16:9 modes (all resolutions progressive scanning), 1280x720 (1 Mbps or higher) HD, 1088x608 (768 Kbps) , 848x480 (512 Kbps) , 768x432 (384 Kbps) , 400x244 (128 Kbps) widescreen FCIF
Number of displays/monitors: Not applicable; supports one display supporting HDMI input
Screen class sizes: Not applicable; supports any HD display supporting HDMI input
Video condecs supported: H.261, H.263, H.263+, H.264, H.239; supports dual-streaming with Video Bandwidth Balance
Network Support: IP (10/100 Ethernet) LAN, IP v4 and IP v6 support, H.323 and SIP protocols supported, auto H.323 dialing, NAT/Firewall Traversal (H.460/SIP), ISDN supported using optional LifeSize Networker, H.320 dialing with LifeSize Networker
Supported conference rates: 128 Kbps to 2 Mbps
Built-in HD audio: Yes
Security features: H.235 encryption support; secure (SSL/TLS) password-protected Web management tool; admin- and user-level passwords; SNMP security alerts; ability to disable HTTP, SSH, and Telnet services; Kensington Lock LifeSize Express delivers HD (720p30) video and HD data sharing in a compact, easy-to-deploy form factor, well suited for executive offices, conference rooms, remote offices, and home offices.



Buyer's Guide to Distance Conferencing Systems

Videoconferencing has reduced corporate travel by 24 percent, according to research by the Aberdeen Group. Nearly 31 million business IP phones, which help drive audio conferencing, are expected to ship by 2012. Using VoIP for audio conferencing not only reduces travel, but also the amount of copper run through a building.

Sony Electronics
www.sony.com/conferencing

System: PCS-XG80 HD videoconferencing system
Pricing: $8,999
Included Components: HD Camera, HD Codec, two microphones, HDMI cable, A/C adapter, RF Remote Commander
Resolutions: QCIF, CIF, 4CIF, wCIF/w288p, w432p, w4CIF, 720p, 1080i
Number of displays/monitors: User-supplied
Screen class sizes: Not applicable
Video condecs supported: H.261, H.263, H.263+, H.263++, H.264
Network Support: IP, ISDN
Supported conference rates: 128 Kbps to 10 Mbps (ISDN up to 768 Kbps )
Built-in HD audio: Yes
Security features: AES-256 encryption
The Sony PCS-XG80 system is the company's first 1080i HD videoconferencing system. It combines 1080i resolution and a high frame rate of 60 FPS to deliver live video quality and a natural alternative to face-to-face meetings, according to the company. The system's backward compatibility gives users the option of connecting with HD video quality through the growing number of high bandwidth connections or through standard-definition legacy systems, which comply with industry standards, over IP and/or ISDN. The new system also features BrightFace, Video Annotation, and RF Remote functionality. With six-site multipoint conferencing, users can call up to five other remote sites, and the system supports 20 different languages.

Tandberg
www.tandberg.com

System: Profile
Pricing: Starts at $38,900
Included Components: Integrated system with LCD widescreens), 1080p HD camera, audio component, and codec
Resolutions: Optimal definition up to 1080p HD
Number of displays/monitors: Choice of single 42-inch or 52-inch LCD display, or dual 52-inch displays
Screen class sizes: 42-inch, 52-inch, or dual 52-inch widescreen 1080p LCD
Video condecs supported: H.261, H.263, H.263+, H.264
Network Support: IP H.323, SIP
Supported conference rates: 128 Kbps to 6 Mbps, up to 10 Mbps in MultiSite (starting at 64 Kbps audio)
Built-in HD audio: Yes, 20 kHz mono and stereo
Security features: AES-256 encryption, SSH, HTTPS, 802.1x
The Tandberg Profile has an intelligent, user-friendly interface and is flexible for any team room environment, according to the company. Its three widescreen LCD display options coupled with full duplex audio and a strategically placed PrecisionHD 1080p camera allow for better eye contact and more natural communication. The sleek design of the Profile also incorporates recyclable aluminum materials, keeping in line with a company's environmental sustainability goals. Moreover, it is part of a Tandberg Total Solution for complete management and access to intelligent network services. The Tandberg Profile is interoperable with any standards-compliant videoconferencing or telepresence system.

Teliris
www.teliris.com

System: Express2 Telepresence
Pricing: $99,000
Included Components: Displays, cameras, microphones, speakers
Resolution: 720p30 (60 FPS optional)
Number of displays/monitors: Two
Screen class size: 52 inches (optional Teliris InterACT Presentation display)
Video condecs supported: H.264
Network Support: IP
Supported conference rates: 30 FPS (60 FPS optional)
Built-in HD audio: Yes
Security features: H.235 encryption, including AES, optional Teliris Express2
Telepresence is a cost-effective telepresence solution designed for small working groups/teams, regional offices, remote locations, and sites without the real estate or budget to dedicate to a telepresence room. Teliris' two-screen solution is ready-to-use (requires no room build-out), fits into any existing conference room and accommodates four participants on each side. Adding Teliris InterACT TouchTable creates an even more natural experience, while the InterACT Easel interactive flip chart eliminates the need for paper print-outs.



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