I have been spending some time in the last week exploring the use of Desktop Video conferencing as opposed to using the integrated Polycom VC unit. My reasons for this are:
- to have a VC system in schools that is more flexible & portable & therefore more accessible out in the classrooms
- as a standby/alternative if our existing Polycom gear fails – we could have something up & running straight away
- also potentially as a second unit in case of timetable clashes which looks more likely as our VC classes & timetables get fuller & fuller.
My findings so far are that you need a quality webcam and possibly also microphone & headset to improve audio quality & eliminate feedback. Also needed is an up-to-date computer. When i started trialling this on a dedicated laptop that happened to be 5 years old (it took me all day just to get this laptop updated & ready to install webcam & PVX) – my audio & sound quality were terrible. I then decided to move to my own laptop (although this meant temporarily reconfiguring all my IP settings) – the quality was markedly improved.
a) This will have to be on a dedicated VC PC at the school, as this PC will have to be configured with the SchoolZone (VC) IP configuration, in order to work. No other Network.
b) PVX will be registered to the Ministry’s VC Infrastructure just like the VC End point’s are currently, meaning for every re-connection (after the initial) there will be a cost involved
c) PVX software will only be supported by us as far as the connection to- or from the bridge is concerned.
d) The PVX software installation/configuration on the actual Operating System (PC) will NOT be supported by us.
I have created a Help File to show how this works. I won’t publish it here as it has all our IP numbers of schools & global address book etc. But will be up on Moodle for our schools & available on request for other VLN staff.