Princeton makes available to its faculty, staff and students a number of video and audio conference facilities that can be used to facilitate research collaboration, make meetings with distant colleagues more cost-effective, and support collaboration with outside groups.
To use these facilities effectively, you will want to understand a few basic facts about videoconferencing. The first and foremost of these is that videoconference facilities can be classified into a number of different types, each type differing in the kinds of interactions which it most effectively supports. The three types available at Princeton are:
- Desktop videoconferencing supports one-to-one or one-to-many interactions. iLinc and Skype are good examples of this type of facility, in which computer users communicate with each other using software installed on their computers. A headset is preferable for audio communication. A camera is required for to be able to see other conference participants. Desktop conferencing does not require a dedicated room or unit and lends itself to ad hoc meetings. It is also useful for online meetings that require sharing applications or trouble shooting computer problems remotely.
- Videoconference rooms support interaction with a remote group (or multiple groups). Unlike a desktop videoconference, this involves going to a videoconference "room" which has been set up with specialized equipment.
- Portable videoconferencing is a variation on the videoconference room type, where the specialized equipment is brought to your office or classroom, as opposed to your going to the videoconferencing room. This service is available for when you want to communicate with a group of people, but need to do so from your own location.
- Mobile videoconferencing
Princeton currently has 10 videoconference rooms, and two portable videoconferencing units. Desktop videoconferencing is available on any properly configured computer. To learn more about each of these facilities, including how to go about scheduling the videoconferencing rooms or the portable units, please click on the links above.