Compatibility Issues with Newer VC systems

There are some issues that have been arising of late, that some of the newer VC systems (Polycom, Cisco; in particular), don’t properly transmit/recieve video/audio. The only resolution I can add at this time, is to contact me, and I will bridge the call. This resolves all compatibility issues and creates a better experience overall. (other than our bridge cannot do “HD”).
I am looking into creating a dial in setup on our bridge, and *any* system/party could dial in and join a conference. I’m still looking into the security side of things to make this happen as easily as possible.

4G/LTE Videoconferencing

I’ve successfully tested videoconferencing over 4G/LTE Cellular, and it works! Quite well actually. This capability would give us the ability to run a videoconference from a school that has very low bandwidth at the moment, BUT has good cellular capability. I won’t be going to each site in SD73 to test this, but it is a possibility in the future if need arises. Currently, PLNet/Telus upgrades to our bandwidth limited schools is on a very long time frame, with SD73 footing the bill.

More VC Systems for Elementary

I have received 3 more VC systems for “loan-out” use with SD73 Elementary schools, bringing the total to 11 systems available. Along with this, I’ve almost completed testing of the entire SD73 Videoconferencing capability.

Basic Private/Public Networking

In many ways, IP based videoconferencing is similar to telephone systems. Both systems use a number to “dial” the other user. Both can have complex strings of numbers indicating many different things (Country code for example with telephone). To get an understanding, here is a basic analogy of Private/Public networking; which is vital to make/receive calls with IP videoconferencing.

On a network, such as a schools, each device generally has a private IP address. This address is only accessible from the internal network. For example, if I wanted to dial a VC system within my same building I could call a number like this:

– (Call would go through within the local network, and never goes outside of internal building network)
– (Call would go through within the local network, and the “#001” denotes an “extension”, meaning there are more than one system on that particular IP Address)

The above 2 scenarios will most likely never happen within our school district, as most schools/locations only have 1 VC system.

Normal call scenarios are like this:

– (Call goes through internet, to a public IP address available from anywhere. This is commonly used in VC)
– (Call goes through internet, to a public IP address, and then to an extension of “001”. This is used more and more as organizations adopt gatekeepers and adopt a dialing strategy)

The only real difficult part of the last 2 scenarios, is making sure that the endpoint you are calling from, has public internet access in/out. Calling a public address from a private address, the call will connect, but quite likely no video/audio will pass through the firewall on your end.

Elementary VC Loan Outs

We have a total of 8 videoconferencing systems available to loan out to our elementary schools! With prices being driven down by companies like Aver, it’s getting easier to supply videoconferencing opportunities to our elementary schools. Please contact Travis Ray for loan out. A process does need to take place before a system can be sent to a school; and a full test and network setup has to be done before a conference can be booked with a content provider or other SD73 VC school.

A list of schools showing VC capability is available here: Elementary VC Status

Aver Videoconference System

I’ve been testing out a new VC system lately, and am quite surprised to find that a manufacturer has come out with a box like this.

– 720p video via hdmi output

– recording via usb

– simple setup/remote

It is almost like, they knew what we in education need/want; and created it. Amazing little box for our elementary schools. Somewhat lacking for our high schools though; more inputs/outputs needed.

– But the cost is nearly 1/2 of what we currently use!

DWIT conference Nov. 20/21

This is a call out to anyone that would be interested in doing a short talk over VC technology with a large group of kids; ranging in the 8-10 grade level. This conference focuses on technology as a possible career. The speaker(s) I am looking for, have to be interesting to this age group, and need to focus on this form of technology. More info can be found:


New Aver systems are in!

2 new HD Aver videoconferencing systems have arrived in our district pool of reserves. This equipment is slated for use in Elementary schools only for the time being. While they are great little machines, they wouldn’t be able to accept all the video/audio connections we use in our daily classes. That said, they are ideal for loan out’s for content/collaboration projects.

Forensic Autopsy at NKSS on May 22

I’ve been in this industry for quite some time, and was surprised to find a topic being broadcast to NKSS that was…. different! A “live” forensic autopsy of a cadaver from St. Louis University was broadcast to a group of Biology 12 students. The presenter was very engaging and made the entire session interesting for all of us in the room. This is great use of this technology and kudos to the staff at NKSS for diving in to a content provider like this.

New VC Systems for Rural Secondary Schools

img_07253 new Sony Videoconferencing systems are delivered and ready to go at the rural secondary schools. These units are on mobile carts, and can be effectively used anywhere in the building where a hard wired Ethernet connection is available.

The systems were the last 3 Sony PCS-G70 systems that we will be purchasing within SD73. Sony Japan does not manufacture them anymore; in fact these 3 units were quite likely the last that were made of the model… anywhere.