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How to Set Up Video Conferencing

In this Whiteboard Friday video Marcus Schmidt, Senior Director of Product with West Unified Communications, goes over the basics of setting up a simple video conferencing system that you can build on in the future.

Most organizations look to set up simple video conferencing systems because the organization is dispersed in a variety of different locations - they want to start having people meet face-to-face, even though they're not in the same facility.

Setting Up Video Conferencing in a Conference Room

A good way to get started is with a laptop in a conference room connected to a big flat screen screen. All you need to get started is a laptop, a screen, and a video conferencing sevice like WebEx from Cisco. Start hosting WebEx meetings, but instead of having everybody looking at their individual laptops in a conference room, project it on a large screen.

Adding CRM to Your Video Conference

To take the video conference to the next level, you can take advantage of Cisco CMR (Collaboration Meeting Room) offerings. Instead of having the PC hosting the video conference, you can get something with a camera on it and go to a CMR environment. With CMR, you enable that flat screen TV in the conference room to be more than just a TV - more than just a screen. It can now actually host the video conferencing itself with the connection of a camera and some other devices.

You could do that with any kind of flat screen you could buy, but Cisco also has products that are even higher end that includes a flat screen and the cameras. If you want to get even more sophisticated, they have cameras that are SpeakerTrack cameras that can actually zoom in on whoever's speaking in the room.

When you start with WebEx and go to CMR, you can still use those WebEx participants. People that are remote don't have to have a big sophisticated room system. They can have that laptop with that camera and still be participating with someone who may be sitting in a conference room that's enabled by CMR.

So, the best way to get started is just to get people to turn on those webcams on those laptops and on their desktops. And then over time, maybe graduate up into a more sophisticated room system.

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