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Desktop Video Conferencing Works Just Like a Phone Call

Desktop video calls and video conferencing is here and works well. This is High Quality and High Definition video calls from desktop to desktop with the convenience of a phone call. Video calls can be made to people inside and outside the organization without concern, and calls are completed by either dialing a 10 digit number or entering an email address. There are some different options and capabilities, and the Cisco desktop video devices provide a good way to illustrate.

By knowing the options and making an informed choice, using HD video calls in place of some face to face meetings can give many people much more time in a day. In order to be able to conduct video calls with the most people, the device has to be able to use multiple standards. This allows for calls between different vendor’s equipment. The standards are not that complicated, but it is important the devices support SIP and H.323. The image size is important also, because although right now most devices support 720p, just like HD television, as time goes on more video calls will be at 1080p. One thing to look out for is the actual screen size and quantity of frames per second that are supported by the device. The four most common are:

  • w448p – 768 x 448 at 30 frames per second.
  • 720p30 – 1280 x 720 at 30 frames per second.
  • 720p60 – 1280×720 at 60 frames per second.
  • 1080p30 – 1920 x 1080 at 30 frames per second

The higher the resolution and the higher the quantity of frames per second, the better the pictures looks. As long as the devices have compatible modes, they will negotiate to the best resolution. The downside of a higher resolution video call is that it uses more network bandwidth, so in some cases system are limited when they make calls over the Internet or wide area network to remote offices.As an example, the Cisco E20 video phone is an inexpensively priced video phone, and it’s highest resolution is w448p. The call looks good, but it is not near the quality of the higher end Cisco desktop video devices like the EX-60 or EX-90. The EX devices normally come with the option to conference at 720p30, and require an additional capabilities license to use the higher definition 720p60 and 1080p30 video resolutions. Other manufacturers have similar limitations and licensing options, so always ask about additional options that are available and ask about the video modes before making a purchase.

There is a big difference between video calls and video conferences. Video calls involve two endpoints and are straightforward point to point calls. Video conferences involve mixing video and audio streams using a codec, which gets more complicated. The location that has the codec ends up having two-way video streams from each of the other endpoints. There has to be enough capability to mix the streams and enough network bandwidth for a good quality video conference. Some video devices have a built-in codec. For example, the Cisco EX-90 can be licensed to conduct four party video conferences at High Definition with its built-in codec. The Cisco EX-60 does not have this capability. External codecs can be used either from a hosted service like Cisco Callway or a video infrastructure system like the Cisco Video Infrastructure.

In addition to dedicated desktop devices, a PC or Mac can be used as a High Definition video device. The video quality of a call using the Cisco Movi client at 720p30 is completely different than the jerky, low resolution calls made with Skype of Google Talk. The Cisco Movi client is a great client, and it does not operate independently, so it has to part of a larger system that the user logs into. Most of the workstation clients are like this, so the systems should either be deployed as part of a hosted system like Cisco Callway or as part of a video infrastructure deployment.

The desktop HD video conference devices that are making their way into the organizations are fully capable of having calls with room size High Definition and Standard Definition systems as well. Many businesses have video conference rooms built out with larger cameras and screens, and now that HD video calls are more common these rooms will be used more often. In order to ensure the video calls and conferences both inside and outside the organization work well, part of the budget planning may involve purchasing more network bandwidth.

Desktop High Definition Video calls and conferences are growing in importance as more and more of these systems are installed. When budgeting and planning the use of these systems, work with an expert that has experience and knows the details of the systems so your organization can realize the full potential of these new systems.