>>We are a small (70 employees), multi-region non-profit that is starting to see the need for video conferencing due to high travel costs. No one knows anything about the current standards and options in this technology and I would appreciate some pointers. We could pick up a web cam and a microphone from Radio Shack and download some free chatting software for $30 dollars a month, but am wondering if there is anything more substantial. Although we don't know our specific needs, the technology would ideally have capabilities for multi person meetings (more than 2 people in the same room as well as more than two geographical locations represented). Ease of use is also key, and having cameras that can just be set up at a office workstation would also be very helpful. Any and all suggestions of what other non-profits are using would be extremely helpful.>>
Probably the simplest, although not necessarily cheapest up-front
solution would be dedicated video conferencing gear such as D-Link's
i2Eye and similar products (http://www.dlink.com/products/?pid=411).
3Com may have something similar at
Their advantage over a videocam+microphone+PC setup is that you only
need to connect one to the Internet -- no fuss of setting up software on
a PC. Furthermore, if a cam-equipped PC requires a full
wipe-and-reinstall of the OS, you'll have to reinstall the videocon
software as well.
Speaking of standards, both 3Com and D-Link should have some documents
Hope this helps.
Daniel O. Escasa
contributor, Free Software Magazine (http://www.freesoftwaremagazine.com)
personal blog at http://descasa.i.ph
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