Monash Uni touts video conferencing to academics

Analyst says planning key to ROI

Tandberg video conferencing suite

Tandberg video conferencing suite

Video conferencing will take centre stage in a demonstration later this month hosted by Monash University to tout the benefits of the technology.

The university will showcase its four Tandberg video conference suites with Victorian universities over the Australian Academic and Research Network (AARNet) to 60 members of education and research communities.

Monash University CIO Alan McMeekin said video conferencing is popular with researchers and academics because it saves time and cuts costs in project collaboration.

“We have built new collaboration suites in response to the demand from our staff for high-quality videoconferencing facilities,” McMeekin said.

AARNet director of applications and services James Sankar said the event is designed to allay concerns in research communities into the reliability of video conferencing.

“Monash University is a prime example of how educational institutions around Australia can implement and gain significant benefit from true, collaborative technologies,” Sankar said.

Most performance problems with fixed video conferencing deployments are due to a lack of planning, according to IBRS analyst Joe Sweeney.

“The number one issue stems from frustration [when] not enough preparation has been done and expectations aren't met,” Sweeney said.

“Traffic prioritisation is important. One of the best deployments I have seen allowed extra capacity to be added to maintain the quality of video calls.”

Sweeney said video conferencing can replace telephone calls as the preferred medium of communications and therefore needs to be allocated sufficient network capacity. At minimum, degrading video calls should have a fail-over to voice only so meetings are not interrupted.

He said document collaboration is important to mimic the benefits of a face to face meeting.

“It's not much good and becomes frustrating if you can only show a document but can't all work on it.”

Businesses can achieve the fastest return on investment by designing solutions that fit closely with its style of meetings, and cut down on inappropriate features or uses.

He said handheld video conferencing would be most popular in the consumer market with teenagers, but noted it has specific uses

The Monash University event will be held on May 25 on the Monash Clayton campus, with a later conference to be held towards year's end at Deakin University.

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