One could say that the ability to communicate is a key to success. Merriam Webster’s defines communication as a verbal or written message and also the technology of the transmission of information (as by print or telecommunication) (http://aolsvc. merriam-webster. aol. com). There are various ways people communicate today, face-to-face, on the phone, the Internet, radios, television to name a few. This paper will focus on one mode of communication called Video Conferencing.
This paper will provide a detailed description of Video Conferencing, discuss the technology involved, future trends, companies involved, imposed regulations and global implications.
Detailed Description Many companies are joining the bandwagon and getting onboard with the technology of video conferencing for their businesses. Video Conferencing is the use of technology where people can communicate with each other with voice and video from one location to another. Recently, desktop systems and even IP-phone are being introduced into the market to also be used.
The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) creates the H.
323 protocol standards or video conferencing standards. “The H. 323 is the international standard for multimedia communication over packet switched networks, including LANs, WANS, and the Internet. It was first defined by the ITU in 1996 and has been updated regularly” (Techabulary. com). The H. 323 includes other standards like H. 225. 0, H. 245, H. 450, H. 460, and allows use of T. 120 for data transfer. T. 120 provides real-time connection or communication between two or more personnel.
This includes: application sharing, white boarding, file exchange, and chat. Video conferencing was first originally developed for at house networks.
The demand for further reaching became a must and want for many of the businesses. There are three types of conferences. The first is a person to person. This is used mainly with two computers talking to each other. The second is a group conference. This is usually a larger group of people in a videoconference room conducting presentations and holding meetings. The third is called broadcast.
Broadcast is mainly just a one-way presentation out to other people. NASA TV is an example of Broadcast conference. Many videoconferences use either ISDN or IP-based videoconferencing and streaming media. ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network) are the preferred use for video conferencing due to being able to use around 128-384 Kbps (kilobits per second). ISDN is a high quality service that gives a normal phone line the ability to transmit voice and data simultaneously. IP based video systems can use bandwidth of 384-768Kbps.
There are five network problems that could be encountered with video conferencing. The first is bandwidth. There must be enough bandwidth so the all the packets can get from one side to the other unimpeded and must be symmetric. “The audio/video information within a videoconference is segmented into chunks by the application, encoded and compressed, put into series of data packets and send over the network to the remote end at basically constant intervals” (www. videnet. gatech. edu). The second problem is packet loss. Packet loss can be due to not enough bandwidth or even just errors in the transmission.
The third is latency or time delay. This is the time delay from which one user will say something and it will have a pause period before the end use will receive the transmission. The fourth is called jitter. Jitter is the variation in latency because many processes are running at the same time on the same terminal. The fifth and final is Policies. Policies are firewalls and network address translation devices used to protect from the Internet. These can cause many problems with the video conferencing. Video Conferencing Technology(Pat) Future Trends(Pat)
Companies involved (Accenture) Today, when teams of engineers, designers or scientists collaborate on a development project, they either have to fly to a single location, or cope with collaboration technologies that are too limiting. “Video conferencing permits people in different locations to interact, but it doesn’t enable the sharing of work objects. On the other hand, various kinds of visualization software allow distributed teams to view and share work objects, however these applications don’t support personal interaction either. ” (www. accenture. om)
The Virtual Collaborative Design prototype from Accenture Technology Labs combines these technologies into a powerful-shared solution. Participants have face-to-face contact as if they were looking at each other through a window. One person can touch and control an object and, if other participants need to make a point, they can just take hold of it, as they could do with a real physical object. Participants have access to onscreen menus that can bring up documents and other reference information. When they point to things onscreen, they do so just like they would in person.
The result is a very human boundary, and using Virtual Collaborative Design is extremely intuitive. Participants can rely on basic social conventions to determine how they work together. Virtual Collaborative Design is a high-tech solution that supports very low-tech “natural” interactions. The result is a much more productive collaboration solution. Virtual Collaborative Design can be a valuable solution for the aerospace industry, pharmaceutical companies, or any industry that requires people in multiple locations to work together using complex data.
It enables collaboration in ways that were simply not possible before. Teamwork, as the American industrialist Andrew Carnegie said, “is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results. ” Today, when teams work across time zones and key information may be buried in databases, teamwork can be a major challenge. Networking, shared databases and instant messaging have all helped to improve collaboration. Yet, challenges persist because collaborative tools remain largely marginal to—rather than fully integrated into—daily work activities. Imagine being e-mailed with an urgent research request.
With a click of your mouse, you could access the right documents and collaborate with experts to meet a tight deadline. “Dynamic Collaboration understands the task at hand through a context observer that recognizes specific actions you perform on your desktop. Through the use of a pull-down menu, you can also explicitly inform the system about your context. ” (www. accenture. com) It is a context-aware tool that works alongside you, as would a reliable and intelligent assistant. The prototype allows you to work smarter, faster and better. Regulatory issues
Video Conferencing allows its parties involved to communicate over the Internet or networks. Due to this type of communication Video Conferencing manufactures and users must abide by the same rules and regulations that are imposed on the Internet by government and governing bodies. Several regulatory bodies and issues that would affect Video Conferencing are the Federal Communications Commission, World Wide Web Consortium, Copyrights, privacy issues and contracts. The FCC, Federal Communications Commission, is responsible for regulating interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite and cable.
The FCC is an independent United States government agency established by the Communications Act of 1934, who reports to Congress and jurisdiction, covers the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U. S. possessions (http://www. fcc. gov). There are several governing bodies within in the FCC that would oversee this type of communication; The Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau educates and informs consumers about telecommunications goods and services and The Enforcement Bureau enforces the Communications Act, as well as the Commission’s rules, orders and authorizations (http://www. cc. gov).
The FCC is a government body patrolling communications the next paragraph will discuss a non-governmental body who polices the Internet as well. The World Wide Consortium is basically a forum for information, commerce, communication, and collective understanding (http://www. w3. org). In addition, The World Wide Web Consortium was created in October 1994 to lead the World Wide Web to its full potential by developing common protocols that promote its evolution and ensure its interoperability.
W3C has around 350 Member organizations (include vendors of technology products and services, content providers, corporate users, research laboratories, standards bodies, and governments, all of whom work to reach consensus on a direction for the Web) from all over the world and has earned international recognition for its contributions to the growth of the Web. Privacy issues and contracts are factors each user as well as manufacturer of Video Conferencing material should adhere to. It is wise for the user and manufacture to lay out and have a clear understanding of the privacy issues surrounding a particular Video Conferencing product.
Contracts between the user and manufacturer of Video Conferencing software are provided to protect the manufacture and user from fraud or misuse in any way. Global implications The use of videoconferencing is nothing close to being restricted to local communities, let alone the United States of America. In fact, Video conferencing is one of the newest technologies being adopted by businesses, government institutions, and homes across the world. A few examples of the uses of this technology are in the field of travel, law, and medicine.
Doctors across the world are able to keep tabs on their patients, and ensure that their progression to becoming and remaining healthy is maintained. The obvious use of the videoconferencing in the medical field is the ability to see and observe any physical abnormalities, which is being treated. For example, Doctors can see how broken bones are healing and dermatologists can see how and if the medication prescribed is actually effective. This deletes the need for the patient to use up time on both sides to prove to the doctor that the prescription given was correct.
What may not be so obvious is the use of videophones for the simple fact of greater communication between doctors across the world. Videophones give doctors the capability to share best practices amongst each other and conjure up a cure for what may have seemed incurable by the gathering of information from the immediate medical community. Medical studies across the world differ because of the different demands that the different worlds provide. Each community has the possibility of dealing with a certain medical situation a little more than the other.
When that situation arrives in a community, which is not as familiar with it, video conferencing allows doctors to not have to go blind into certain situations. Lawyers across the earth are also utilizing videophones to assist in expanding their professions. An example of the use of videoconferencing is for the immigration lawyers. Lawyers definitely need to present good cases to the counsel to make money and to be an advantage for their clients. Immigrants are checked on a constant basis and video conferencing is the perfect tool for saving time and money from travel to ensure that the immigrant is following the rules.
For example, when an immigrant leaves his/her home country to become a resident in another country through marriage, it is extremely difficult for the counsel to be sure that the marriage was created for the exact intentions of getting married. Since the videophones actually produce a picture at 30 frames a second via an ISDN line, much more like a TV resolution than a PC, the lawyers and pertaining counsels are able to speak one on one with each of the immigrants on a regular basis.
Each one on one session allows the counsel the ability to not only hear that everything may or may not being going as planned, but also allows for the observing body language through videoconferencing. Attorneys are also given the capability to observe how a client reacts to official questioning, and allow them to possibly fix any imperfections in their presentations, to help create a successful hearing. Finally, video conferencing is extremely popular in long distance communications. The H. 320 standard is internationally used which makes it easy for people to communicate with loved ones across the oceans.
Just as how videoconferencing is used locally and nationally, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, cousins, and friends no longer have to spend time and the money it takes to travel overseas to satisfy the need to see each other. PC video conferencing is great but the quality does not compare to that of the 30 frames per second videophones, which can easily be attached to a television to receive the same quality as a football game As indicated earlier Video Conferencing is the use of technology where people can communicate with each other with voice and video from one location to another.
This technology has enabled doctors, attorneys, homes and the government to communicate on a different level and more efficiently. Companies like Accenture Technology Labs prototype The Virtual Collaborative Design has combined this technology into a powerful-shared solution that brings communication onto a new level.