As part of a lab initiative last year, the IT Division developed a new approach to Video Conferencing Systems that addresses the needs of customers who join via desktop, laptop, or mobile devices. After reviewing industry trends, the results of peer reviews, and our own recent experience, it is clear that we are in a highly dynamic environment in which there is less interest in expensive proprietary room telepresence systems (Lifesize, Polycom) and more interest in solutions that involve cloud based solutions that support a wide variety of devices and operating systems.
Working with our business partners, including the Division Business Council (DBC), we have identified some target conference rooms to test a new approach and are now in the initial stages of deployment.
Hardware and Software
The equipment is a Mac Mini based solution with speakers, conference room camera and TV (40" or 60") mounted on a cart. We pre-load software that provides access to the ESnet Bridge (Jabber), Readytalk, Skype for those who have accounts, Vidyo for possible use by staff interacting with systems that require this client (such as CERN), and FUZE, a new offering we are making available to the Lab.
When one of the conference systems boots up, the page that is displayed is our video conferencing space on commons. Instructions for how to use the equipment and software, along with pages that provide status on the candidate target conference rooms are all within a click away. The information can be accessed by going to go.lbl.gov/vc
As of Jan 2015, we are no longer scheduling classes.
Classes on using the equipment and related software have been piloted and are now being offered through employee self service. We will also be providing training to customers as we deploy systems to each location (for example, JBEI, LSD at Potter Street, CFO at Leapfrog, JGI). Our schedule on the hill through the end of 2013 looks like this.