Video Conferencing Alternatives
In fall 2012 it was announced that the EVO video conferencing service would be transitioning into a private service requiring a subscription. (Previously, use of the system was free.) We contacted the new service provider SeeVough and they estimated that the cost for one year based on the previous year's usage for GlueX would be $5k.
This page collects some alternatives so we can decide how to proceed with video conferencing within GlueX in the future.
The ESnet system is in use by a large fraction of the collaboration already. It works well with the Polycom video systems used at JLab and several Universities within GlueX. It uses the H.323 protocol for communications so it is possible to connect to this via PC clients.
- We will need to rely more heavily on the ReadyTalk link that we have available for simple phone in to meetings. Both CMU and UCONN have PolyCom phone bridges that can be used to call into ready talk so the audio is a direct part of the ESNET sound stream.
Tablet and Smart Phone Clients
- Polycom RealPresence Mobile App for Android or iOS.
- The limited testing that we have done with this application shows that it does not seem to introduce a echo in the system. The echo cancellation seems quite good.
- XMeeting :Mac OS X: is a product that has been around for a while, but has not been updated since 2009 (website says 2007, but the actual download is a little more recent.)
- YateClient :Linux/Windows/Mac OS X: is product that supports multiple protocols including H.323
- Ekiga :Linux/Windows:is the product formerly known as Gnome Meeting.
- Lifesize Softphone is a commercial product that has a free one-month download, but ultimately costs 169 Euros.
Testing and Testimonials
Polycom RealPresence Mobile App
- From Matt S. (iOS)
- ... there is a Polycom iPad app that is available from the app store (for free!) that turns your iPad into a Polycom unit. I downloaded this and called: firstname.lastname@example.org (the IP is the ESNET gatekeeper) and it just worked, perfectly, no account setup, no configuration, no headset, nothing. The software does echo cancellation and you have nice video and audio....
- From Curtis M. (iOS)
- ... Matt and I have installed Polycom RealPresence on our iPads and it works very well. You do not need to register the device and it is free. When you start it, enter your email then "skip login". On the connection page enter email@example.com which I believe is gk1.es.net ...
- From Curtis M. (iOS)
- ... we did some limited tests during the PID upgrade meeting and this application seemed to interface reasonably well with the conference. No echo was heard on the main units....
- From Beni Z. (Android)
- there is an app for the android phone too (search for "polycom"). I installed it and it works like a charm from home using wifi as Matt reports. Of course it does not work at jlab because some ports are probably blocked. There is also a version for tablets. I could not install it on my nook color as it is not compatible with it but may be with others.
- From Curtis M.
- We have noticed that when people connect in using XMeeting, that we very often get an echo. People may need to purchase head phone/microphone sets for this with some echo cancellation on it.
- From Paul E.
- ...I starting playing around with XMeeting for OSX. There is some outdated information for setting up XMeeting to use with ESnet. With that and some other information I cobbled together, I have managed to get XMeeting working. There is a slight problem with echo suppression for which lowering the built in mic gain reduces the problem. It was not clear to me, but unlike the polycom, I had to connect to "firstname.lastname@example.org" rather than just the number. I include my XMeeting preferences settings below. Note: you can select the tools via the little hammer button. From the tools, you can access the mic gain settings and also a keypad (good for entering the "#" to start an ESnet session).
- From Paul E.
- ... I used XMeeting on my mac to participate in Wednesday meeting. It worked fine on my end. I manually lowered the gain of my mic, but later heard that my volume was a bit low. Turning up the mic should not cause problems....
- Will B. was able to successfully use this to connect to and participate in a Calorimetry meeting