Videoconferencing solution for international organization
July 11, 2011 7:23 AM   Subscribe

Our office wants to invest in a videoconferencing system for some board members, based in very different parts of the world, and I need some advice.

Initially, we are looking at buying equipment/software/whatever for two board members, one based in the US, using a Mac, and one based in Kenya, using a PC. They would be using the equipment largely for media interviews with major news outlets, but potentially also for occasional calls with our office (in Canada, Mac-based). I don't have a budget in mind, because this is going into a funding proposal we're working on, so something that will be user-friendly and extremely reliable is more important than very inexpensive.

Assume I know virtually nothing about this, so feel free to give any advice along with product suggestions!
posted by sabotagerabbit to Technology (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
google+ hangout; create a circle with only those involved (is that possible in hangouts?) because if it is possible it has the advantage of being free.
posted by adamvasco at 7:30 AM on July 11, 2011

Response by poster: Yes, we definitely want something that is a dedicated service, where there would be some technical support if necessary, etc.
posted by sabotagerabbit at 7:35 AM on July 11, 2011

Honestly, I would ask the US or Canadian Embassy in Kenya what they use. Embassies do a lot of videoconferencing, and sometimes provide their facilities to other organisations. They will have selected equipment that best works with the connectivity there.
posted by wingless_angel at 7:38 AM on July 11, 2011 [1 favorite]

You might want to look into dedicated videoconference hardware. Polycom is one of the big names; we've got a few of their systems at my workplace. Some models plug into a TV or other display, some have a built-in screen. Looks like Cisco's stuff above is pretty similar.

Tandberg is another big videoconference equipment maker, and Sony got into the game a few years ago.

You'll get more reliable performance with fewer hassles if you use a hardware solution rather than webcam + computer + some kind of software streaming service.
posted by echo target at 8:21 AM on July 11, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks, echo target - yes, I think you're definitely right that we need a hardware solution, because at the moment they probably only have webcams built into their computers which will be less than ideal for the high quality that we're looking for.

I had heard of Polycom, so I'll check that out, as well as the others, too.

Please keep the advice coming!
posted by sabotagerabbit at 8:23 AM on July 11, 2011

I've installed and used the Polycom 6000 series and they are great for point to point. Easy setup and excellent quality sound and video,. Relatively inexpensive too.
posted by cmdnc0 at 2:51 PM on July 12, 2011

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