Audio-visual conferencing (meetinghouse) requirements
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Any audio conference requires some service to provide the connection point which is called a bridge. Most large telephone service providers around the world provide this bridge service. You will need an account with the service to set up meetings. Most services have a cost associated although there are a few consumer services that use Voice over Internet (VOIP) to make the calls using computers that do not charge a fee. Where many are gathered together in a single location, a speaker phone is needed so that all can participate in the conference.
- Telephone service
- Audio conference service account
- Optional speaker phone
A web conference requires software that creates the Web location that everyone connects to for participating in the conference. Free consumer services are available as well as business services provided by telecommunications providers. These Web locations require an Internet connection where broadband provides the best experience, but dial up can also be acceptable. Most require a computer although some can provide the web conference to a smart phone or Internet enabled cell phone. Most provide an audio service for the audio portion of the meeting, often using the audio on the computer. You may also need an audio conferencing service to use telephones instead of the computer.
- Internet connection
- Web conference service account
- Web conference software
- Computer or similar device
- Optional headset or USB speakerphone
- Optional audio conference
Personal video conferencing
Personal video conferencing uses a computer with a Web camera to share live video and audio of the meeting participants. For more than two participants, some sort of virtual meeting room or video bridge service is required.
- Personal computer capable of showing video
- Web camera
- Personal video conferencing software
- Optional audio equipment such as headset or USB speakerphone
- Broadband Internet with minimum 128K upload speed
Hardware based video conferencing requires specific hardware to hold the meeting. It also requires some sort of display device, usually a television set. This displays the picture and provides the speakers for the meeting. The hardware device will include some sort of built in microphone.
- Broadband Internet with minimum of 256K upload speed
- Meetinghouse Internet
- Approved hardware device (Polycom VSX series, HDX series, V500 or V700)
- Display device