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Buyer's Guide to Distance Conferencing Systems

Videoconferencing has reduced corporate travel by 24 percent, according to research by the Aberdeen Group. Nearly 31 million business IP phones, which help drive audio conferencing, are expected to ship by 2012. Using VoIP for audio conferencing not only reduces travel, but also the amount of copper run through a building.

Videoconferencing has reduced corporate travel by 24 percent, according to research by the Aberdeen Group. Nearly 31 million business IP phones, which help drive audio conferencing, are expected to ship by 2012. Clearly, distance conferencing (audio and video) is booming. "Perhaps it will never quite replace the impact of being face to face, but some of the advances will make it easier to facilitate group meetings," says John Scarborough, co-founder of IP5280, which specializes in IP voice/data services. Using VoIP for audio conferencing not only reduces travel, but also the amount of copper run through a building.

When it comes to videoconferencing, HD makes systems more attractive. "While HDTV is an improvement over television, HD videoconferencing is a huge improvement over standard videoconferencing," says Andrew Davis of Wainhouse Research. Simplicity is key to reducing user awareness of the technology. Expect more multi-codec systems with multiple and varying screens. "The use of 1080p is going to be limited for a long time, but today's systems give users a much higher-quality AV experience," he says. "They also, coincidently, don't really cost more than the older systems; sometimes they're even less."

Avaya
www.avaya.com

System: Avaya Video Telephony Solution (AVTS)
Pricing: Configuration- and platform-dependent
Included Components: Avaya one-X Communicator works on Windows and Vista PCs and supports several Web cameras; also works with Polycom video products
Resolution: one-X Communicator offers VGA quality video; systems leveraging Polycom endpoints offer HD quality
Number of displays/monitors: Not applicable
Screen class sizes: Not applicable
Video condecs supported: H.261, H.263, H.264
Network Support: H.323 and ISDN video endpoints
Built-in HD audio: Yes
Security features: None
Integrates the video capability of Avaya's Communication Manager IP Telephony system with Avaya's video-enabled soft clients (Avaya one-X Communicator and IP Softphone), and Avaya Meeting Exchange Video (MCU) as well as gatekeepers, gateways, MCUs, and group video communications systems offered by Polycom and Tandberg. Communication Manager provides point-to-point and multipoint video capability on an IP network. AVTS leverages the presence capabilities of Avaya's video-enabled soft clients to enable collaboration using a single IP network for voice and video applications.

Biamp Systems
www.biamp.com

System: AudiaFLEX with AEC-2HD Card, VoIP-2 Card, and/or TI-2 Card
Pricing: Configuration-dependent
Voice network: PSTN, VoIP, HD/wideband
Frequency response: 20 Hz to 20 kHz @ +4 dBu, +0/-0.4 dB
Dynamic range: 20 Hz to 20 kHz, 0 dB>107 dB
Maximum gain: Input channels = 66 dB
Crosstalk: Channel-to-channel @ 1 kHz = line level,
<-80 dB; mic level, <-75 dB
Administrative controls: None
Video Support: Allows audio connections to video codec
Security features: None
AudiaFLEX can be configured with the number of inputs and outputs you need. The AEC-2HD Card allows the addition of the Biamp TrueSound Algorithm that delivers audio with 20 Hz to 20 kHz wideband AEC, even during multiple participant conversations, without draining core DSP resources. AudiaFLEX connects directly to a landline with the TI-2 Card or with the VoIP-2 Card, and allows conferencing over VoIP telephone system directly from AudiaFLEX.



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