Tell me about video conferencing equipment and best practices?
May 21, 2013 11:32 AM   Subscribe

Our organization is growing, and we need to improve our video conferencing capabilities. The usual setup is a 'home base' room with 5-10 people in it. That room is about 20' x 20' or so, and it has speakers built into it. The other folks calling into the meeting are usually solo workers, on their own computers, wearing headsets. The people in the 'home base' room can hear the people calling in, with fairly good audio quality. However, the other users have a very hard time hearing the people gathered in the main room. That microphone situation needs to be improved. Right now there is one Jabra USB Speakerphone - this model, I think. We use GoToMeeting and Skype. What are the options for improving the audio quality coming *from* the main room? Can we daisy chain those speakerphones together? Is there a better speakerphone model which can be daisy chained to have multiple bases around the room? Do the connected mics figure out which one to use or does it cause distortion or delay? Is there another model that is significantly better that doesn't have to be hardwired? Any other suggestions?

Though the 'home base' room is a larger, the people in the room are about 10' feet apart from each other. The speakerphone is in the middle of their group. There is a large projector and screen for the video component, and that's not as much of an issue.

The room doesn't have a phone line. We don't own the room - it belongs to our parent organization and we probably can't have a phone line installed. They occasionally video conference from another room, so whatever option we pick should be fairly portable.

To sum up:
- need help with the microphone situation in a medium-sized room, for 5-10 people at a time.
- needs to be fairly portable and not require a phone line
- must work with Macs (some solutions are apparently PC only)
- what else should we consider or know?

Thanks for any help.
posted by barnone to Computers & Internet (3 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Consider looking at this Polycom unit.
posted by jmsta at 11:49 AM on May 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

Polycom is the dernier cri for audio-conferenceing. It's full duplex, which is good because it won't cut out if someone in the room is talking over the remote speaker. I have no idea how that's going to work without a phone line. Talk to someone at Polycom. (they also make the best, easiest to use video equipment.)

Best practices are:

Paint the room blue, this makes everyone look healthier.
Don't wear prints or stripes. Plain colors (good luck with that one.)
Don't move the camera. Don't move around too much at all. (This has to do with how often the picture needs to refresh.)

Personally, I never understood the point of looking at a room full of people. If you're all looking at a presentation, then that's cool. Put seeing postage sized stamp sized heads in a Brady-Bunch array seemed really pointless to me.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 12:16 PM on May 21, 2013

Check out LifeSize ClearSea (stupid name) great product.

LifeSize has been a huge disruptor in the Video Conferencing world. The cost is way less than the big players and the quality is very good.

We run full HD conferences on our cable internet connection with a camera and a base unit in teh conference room and webcams for some remote users.

Audio and video quality are great... easy to set up, good support... mostly sold through resellers (which I hate).

A local rep will come and do a live demo for you.

product is here.
posted by bobdow at 12:26 PM on May 21, 2013

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