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Video Conferencing (aka VTC or Videoteleconferencing) Options at NCEAS


NCEAS offers several VTC options, that also can serve as excellent audio conferencing options if you don't have (or turn off) your Webcam.

We support a “hosted VTC service”

  • GoToMeeting

Please contact vtc@nceas.ucsb.edu to schedule your meeting, ideally 72 hrs in advance of your intended meeting

  • For two-way communication with the meeting participants, you need to have a headset. Otherwise, we will not be able to troubleshoot any audio/feedback issues. If you just need to listen in, please mute your microphone.
  • A wired Internet connection is preferred over Wi-Fi.

In addition, for ad-hoc conferences with smaller numbers of participants, we recommend using either:

  • Google Hangouts
  • Skype

both of which offer free, high-quality audio- and video- conferencing suitable for both personal and professional use. You can use your existing NCEAS Google Apps account, or sign up for free accounts on Skype and Google in a matter of minutes, and easily create your own ad-hoc conferences well-suited to small to medium groups up to 10 (Skype) or 15 (Google Hangouts) users. These two services enable individuals to initiate conference calls whenever they wish, without requiring advance scheduling through NCEAS staff.

We are happy to assist you with any of the above technologies, and recommend that any remote participants test their systems in advance if they are unsure about performance and compatibility. Assistance can be found either by emailing vtc@nceas.ucsb.edu or help@nceas.ucsb.edu or seeing Thomas Hetmank in rm. 333.


GoToMeeting

Features:

  • Supports Windows, OS X, tablets, and phones
  • Group video conferencing with up to 25 participants (6 concurrent HD video users and 19 audio users)
  • Screen sharing
  • Web-based, automatic plugin download for PC/Mac

NCEAS has two single-host (Organizer), 25 user maximum (6 video + 19 audio users) accounts for GoToMeeting.

  • Organizer Seat 1: gotomeeting1@nceas.ucsb.edu - we are typically going to use this account for working groups
  • Organizer Seat 2: gotomeeting2@nceas.ucsb.edu - for everything else
  • Passwords: (ask Computing Support team)

Comments on GoToMeetingSessions

Anyone with the above Organizer Seat/Password has Organizer status by default, and can Host a Meeting, or Log-in and Schedule a Meeting. We typically schedule a meeting in Google Calendar (GC), see below.

Once a meeting is scheduled, a unique ID is provided for that meeting, looking something like: 100-900-700

This ID is both

  • the Access Code for dialing-in to a meeting via toll number and
  • the Meeting ID code to enter when using the Web or a dedicated GoToMeeting app (e.g. for iPad or Android)

Note that an Organizer must be present to initiate, and continue a meeting, but the Organizer role can be passed from a current Organizer to another once it is started, and a meeting can have several participants in the Organizer role. This allows an original Organizer who must leave a meeting early to pass the torch on to another meeting participant for extended discussion.

Scheduling and starting a GoToMeeting session

For Working Groups and residents to use our GoToMeeting service, someone (typically an Organizer) with appropriate authentication can schedule and/or initiate the meeting. This is currently Ginger, the directors and the computing support team.

The preferred method is that an NCEAS' staff person (as above) can schedule and initiate the meeting ⇒

  1. Receive a request from a working group or resident to schedule a meeting. The request should come in through vtc@nceas.ucsb.edu which currently goes to Ginger and help@nceas, thereby creating a ticket in RT.
  2. Use Google Chrome with the GoToMeeting for Google Calendar extension or Mozilla Firefox with the GoToMeeting for Google Calendar Add-On
  3. Log in with the Organizer Seats gotomeeting1@nceas or gotomeeting2@nceas
  4. Create or edit a Google Calendar event
    • Add G2M Resource 1 or G2M Resource2 under Rooms, etc
    • Click the Add button in the GoToMeeting plugin area
      • It will create a new meeting and fill in the information, including Meeting ID, in the Description box
    • Remove (Google Hangout) video call
    • Add the meeting participants: GuestsEnter email addressesAdd
    • Save the event
      • It will ask if you want to Send Invitations to the meeting participants
    • Add clarifying images

  5. Start the meeting as an Organizer at the scheduled time.
  6. Pass on Organizer status to the meeting leader so that the NCEAS person can leave the meeting
  7. If you need to cancel a GoToMeeting session
    • Go back to editing the Google Calendar event
    • Use the Remove button in the GoToMeeting plugin area
      • It will delete the meeting and remove the description
    • Delete the event, if necessary

or if, for example, some group wants to convene a meeting during off-hours (e.g. 8PM, or a Saturday) the following method can also work ⇒

  1. Temporarily change the password*.
  2. Share this with a designated Organizer for the meeting, who would probably be a leader or other designated liaison from a legitimate NCEAS-hosted project (e.g. SNAP, OHI, Arctic Options, etc.).
  3. Have the WG leader schedule and/or host the meeting for the group her/himself.
  4. Whoever (e.g. Ginger, or member of our computing staff) provides the temporary password, is responsible for changing it back soon afterwards, to our default secret account password. The one situation we want to avoid is multiple people (e.g. Working Group leaders) knowing our temporary passwords, so that they might schedule or convene meetings without informing us beforehand, as this could lead to conflicts between scheduled meetings and unscheduled ones.

*Passwords must be 8-32 chars, and include letters and numbers. As the temporary password could be forgotten, and is intended to be temporary (only used for allowing some group to hold one meeting) when communicated to the designated Organizer, using clear-text in email is permissible, and a cc: should be provided to vtc@nceas.ucsb.edu


Google+ Hangouts with Premium Features

Residents with an @nceas.ucsb.edu Google Apps for Education account have Google+ Hangouts integrated into their webmail and calendar. Google+ Hangout meetings support 15 video users if started from an NCEAS Google Calendar account, or 10 video users if started any other way.

Features:

  • Supports Windows, OS X, Linux, tablets, and phones
  • Group video conferencing with up to 15 concurrent HD video users
  • Unlimited meeting rooms
  • Screen sharing
  • Web-based, no download required on PC/Mac/Linux
  • Live stream to thousands with Hangouts on Air

There are several ways to start a meeting:

  • Create a hangout at https://g.co/hangout
  • Schedule a video call in Google Calendar
  • Clicking on a user's name in the Hangouts sidebar in Gmail
  • From the Google+ Hangouts App from your desktop or mobile device

WebEx

NCEAS has a single host account, up to 8 users (7 video + 1 audio).

  • Initiate meeting at: http://www.webex.com
  • Account Name: webex@nceas.ucsb.edu
  • Account Password: (ask Computing Support team; N**c)
  • Web-based
  • Up to 8 users
  • Impressions are that audio is not as consistently clear as GoToMeeting

Skype

  • Supports Windows, OS X, Linux, tablets, and phones
  • Group video conferencing is now supported with a free account
  • Up to 10 concurrent video users

H.263 TCP/IP

NCEAS has a Polycom VSX 7000e video conferencing system available to engage in face-to-face meetings with multiple collaborating sites. Remote sites must have a H.263 compatible device or software, frequently this is another Polycom unit.


Other Services

NCEAS has a variety of laptops, projectors, LCD monitors, microphones, and webcams to support other videoconference software. We can accommodate using other video conferences services if account access is provided (ex. WebEx, GoToMeeting, etc). Please contact help@nceas.ucsb.edu ahead of any meeting so that we can setup hardware for your group.


video_conferencing.txt · Last modified: 2015/03/02 13:52 by brand