One of my pet peeves this summer has been the absolute confusion around videoconferencing definitions. Even I am struggling with the right terms to use to explain what I mean!
Comments I heard at the ISTE 2010 conference
We use Skype because it’s IP.
Huh?! People using “standards-based videoconferencing” use “IP” to mean “H.323” as opposed to “H.320”. (Remember that, H.320/ISDN?)
But Skype doesn’t connect to “IP/H.323” or at least not without herculean efforts that aren’t easily replicable.
What is IVC?
I got this question at ISTE due to the SIG name – SIG IVC. We’re not doing a very good job if people don’t know what “IVC” stands for.
By the way, it’s interactive videoconferencing. (IVC)
Desktop videoconferencing doesn’t connect to zoos and museums with room systems (content providers).
That’s not true! There are now a whole slew of H.323 compatible desktop videoconferencing solutions. What this person probably meant was that Skype doesn’t connect to those content providers. But “desktop videoconferencing” doesn’t mean “Skype”.
“Desktop videoconferencing” no longer means “not H.323”. But some people are still using it that way!
I use Adobe Connect for videoconferencing.
Adobe Connect! It’s a webinar platform that has videoconferencing added on. Most webinars I’ve seen may show video one way – from the presenter to the audience, but it is rarely both ways.
Elluminate, a webinar platform, has added videoconferencing, even H323 support, with their new Elluminate VCS product.
That sure blurs the lines!
How do you explain the difference between videoconferencing and web conferencing? It used to be you could say web conferencing was on your computer. But now we have desktop videoconferencing too….
Remember the days…
Do you remember these terms?
- electronic education
- virtual field trips
- two way interactive videoconferencing
These terms are not consistently used, so it seemed simpler to use the term business and industry were using… videoconferencing. But that term has been muddied. It’s not clear anymore! How do I write descriptions for workshops? How do I differentiate between my Skype workshops and H323 workshops? I would like to call it “real videoconferencing”. Hear my bias?! But that’s not really fair! Standards based videoconferencing? It seems to be the most accurate, but isn’t a very teacher friendly term. How do we keep the communication clear?
What about “telepresence”?
Telepresence only a few years ago meant videoconferencing at very high bandwidth, with very high end cameras, with rooms designed identically so that it feels you’re in the same room: paint, walls, windows, furniture… the whole works!
Recently, Bob Dixon made this comment on the Megaconference listserv:
My only suggestion is to recognize that there is no real line between “telepresence” and “video conferencing”, and we now have vendors
using the telepresence term to mean almost anything. There will be interconnections among all levels of system sophistication. So whatever new protocols are developed for signalling and negotiation among disparate systems should be applicable even to the most basic systems, and not just to those which call themselves “telepresence”. This would allow interoperation throughout the complete continuum of video products, and might even improve interoperation among systems which do NOT call themselves “telepresence”. Of course all the vendors at all levels would have to incorporate these protocols to make that happen.
What do you think?
How are you navigating the ever changing world of videoconferencing terms? How do you explain it clearly to teachers you serve? What words do you use to compare H323 to Skype in a clear way?