It used to be in the “old days” with videoconferencing that educational organizations, consortia, states, etc. put in videoconferencing islands for shared classes. The main use of videoconferencing then was sharing high school and college level classes and usually an organization just shared classes within their network.
We’ve made great progress in moving away from these VC islands and doing more collaborative, creative activities with videoconferencing. Now we participate in events like Megaconference, Megaconference Jr., connect to content providers, and create collaborative videoconferences.
But with these new activities, we’re running into VC Islands 2.0: The next generation of videoconferencing islands, if you will. These new islands are created by special dialing schemes and the never-ending challenges with firewalls.
Lately I’ve been working on test calls for Read Across America, along with our wonderful Verification Partners. I also just began serious work on the implementation of the 2005 USDA RUS DLT Grant we were awarded last week.
It’s amazing to me that many vendors still don’t get it! We really do want to connect easily to ANYONE! And that generally just means a plain old simple IP address or ISDN number. None of this alias stuff or dialing extensions (which I’ve seen for both IP & ISDN connections). Very annoying! Not all units can connect. Not all bridges can connect to these extensions. Why they even recommend this type of dialing scheme to K12 education is beyond me!
Admittedly I’m not a network technician, though I’ve learned more about the network than I ever thought I could. So I don’t know everything about how these things could work. I just know that I want to connect to my VC colleagues around the world as easily as possible! No extensions!