Types of Videoconference Systems

The four common types of videoconferencing systems in use today are Telepresence conferencing systems, Integrated video conference rooms, Set-Top video conferencing systems and Desktop conferencing systems.

Telepresence Videoconferencing Systems

Telepresence systems give the appearance of being present (tele-present) in an actual meeting even though the participants are geographically dispersed. Telepresence systems can either be portable (roll-about) or Immersion (room based). This type of group meeting system usually consists of a high definition codec coupled with several very large flat panel display devices and integrated hi fidelity audio. Telepresence systems generally range from $60,000 to $300,000 each, depending on the size and capabilities of the equipment.

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Integrated Videoconferencing Rooms

Integrated room conferencing systems are group conferencing systems most often used in conference rooms, board rooms, or classrooms with multiple participants. This type of system usually consists of a centralized location for the codec and associated hardware. The main camera, displays and peripheral video sources are usually permanently mounted in the main conferencing area. These customized configurations are normally equipped with multiple features and also allow for the videoconferencing room to be used for various other functions as well. Room integrated visual communication systems generally range from $10,000 to $100,000 each, depending on the size and capabilities of the equipment.

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Set-top or appliance Videoconferencing Systems

Set-tops are complete videoconferencing systems designed to sit on a monitor. They are useful in small conference rooms and other small group venues. Set-top video communication systems are often maintained on a cart, making it possible to roll them around for use in different rooms (roll-about). Set-top systems are typically priced between $3,000 and $20,000 each depending on the capabilities of the equipment.

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Desktop Videoconferencing Systems

Desktop videoconferencing systems bring video communications into your personal workspace. This technology can deliver full-motion videoconferencing from your PC. Desktop systems have been engineered to accommodate the industry's requirements for standards-based videoconferencing. Today, there are systems available that deliver good quality at a low cost. These systems provide H.323 voice and video, as well as applications sharing. Desktop systems are typically composed of a software package and USB or FireWire camera. Desktop systems normally are priced between $250 and $400.

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