The systems that staff use most commonly for video conferencing are Skype and WebEx. We have an echo cancelling conference microphone/telephone, an external webcam (if you need it) and Windows / Macintosh laptops. This facility is best suited to small scale conferences of no more than four people at this end. We do not have the ability to host multi-site conferences, though we can join a multi-site conference hosted elsewhere.
Our conference phone can also be used for a conference call on a standard telephone line if needed.
To book the equipment (or to schedule a WebEx videoconference) you should contact IT Support. Bear in mind that it takes around 20 minutes to set things up, so be sure to book any chosen room for at least half an hour before your scheduled conference start time. It is recommended that you check for IT staff availability on 13308 as well.
Ensuring a successful conference
Past experience has shown that while we have now resolved most local issues already, and thus have little need of troubleshooting, the same cannot always be said for the sites being connected to. Consequently, you are strongly advised to arrange a test session with any new conference contacts, preferably at least two days beforehand to give time to resolve any issues that arise.
The most common problem with remote sites is lack of echo cancellation. While our mic/speaker setup has echo cancellation, if the other site does not, speech from this end is echoed back to us. Possible solutions include:
- Request that the other site uses headphones. This cuts the echo, but limits them to one participant
- As a fallback, the audio can be carried via telephone instead. Our mic/speaker can act as an echo-cancelling speaker-phone if need be.
- Windows or Macintosh Laptop
- Logitech Quickcam Pro 5000 webcam
- Phoenix DUET Executive echo cancelling USB speakerphone