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Making Video Accessible to All

The BrainYard - Where collaborative minds congregate.
In a comment on one of my recent posts, mikeb noted that video conferencing will be best served when anyone who wants to can place a video call to anyone else, just as we do with telephone calls today. Of course, this hits on the idea of interoperability we've all been talking about lately. But it also raises the issue of two applications that can make video conferencing more accessible right now.Desktop video (on a PC, not an executive desktop screen) allows anyone at any level of an organization to participate in a video conference. Most vendors sell MCUs today that integrate desktop video with room-based systems--and that's important in this increasingly mobile and virtual workplace, when there's no guarantee that a key team member will be anywhere near a room-based system when a conference occure.Meanwhile, there's also a need for drop-in video stations, as offered by places like FedEx Kinko's, which allow anyone to participate in a high-quality video experience from their home towns or on the road.Neither alternative gets at the idea of federation, but even as companies start looking for ways to extend video conferencing beyond their corporate walls, they must also support ways for all their own employees to participate in such events--regardless of where they are in fact located.