Network-Based Conferencing

Network-based Conferencing, also called videoconferencing or videoteleconferencing, facilitates collaboration with colleagues who may be far from your location. This technology also presents an opportunity to reduce travel costs when conducting University research and business.

Conferencing tools may include the sharing of audio, video, computer desktops, electronic whiteboards and other electronic media. Your collaboration may range from a small group of people using desktop tools to larger groups in specially-equipped rooms with advanced audiovisual equipment.

There is no single piece of hardware or software which serves all videoconferencing needs. If you are working with a smaller group, you might use desktop software such as Skype or iChat with inexpensive cameras and microphones. Larger groups with more demanding sharing needs may opt for a commercial service such as WebEx or GoToMeeting. These services require accounts to be set up with usage fees. You or your department may also have more advanced equipment set up in a special room, or use one of the scheduled campus teleconferencing facilities such as those operated by the Teaching, Learning, and Technology Center .

NACS provides some general information on this technology, including resources distributed around campus.   We’ve also collected specific comments on desktop hardware and software options .  UCOP Strategic Sourcing is developing RFPs for different types of conferencing as a cost-saving alternative to face-to-face meetings.  (An RFP – Request for Proposal – is a method for choosing from which vendor to purchase products or services.)  Technologies being examined include telephone conferencing with sharing of the computer screen of the conference leader, as well as videoconferencing.

We suggest you begin exploring this technology before an actual business need arises, so that you are familiar with it and have been able to confirm the quality of your audio and video. Please contact NACS if we can be of any assistance in this area.