But how does it work? In plain English, Videoconferencing is a camera at point A and a camera at point B with a connection in the middle that allows two parties to see, hear, and interact with one another.
With the advent of videoconferencing many companies sprang up and began promoting their software and equipment. Early on several institutions saw the potential and hopped on board almost over night. Companies are saving travel and training expenses. Schools are getting their students in for a closer ‘hands-on’ view. The military uses videoconferencing so extensively that a specific career field was developed for it. And broadcast news uses it frequently as well. But with so many different makes, models, shapes, sizes and standards out there a great potential for failure rears its ugly head. Many different companies think their way is the best way so the proprietary approach actually subverts the forward progress all together. A small group of universities saw a great need for standardization, education, and continued development in the videoconferencing environment.
So what is a videoconferencing cookbook? In 1998, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina State University, The Georgia Institute of Technology, and The University of Tennessee, Knoxville formed the Video Development Initiative or ViDe. In an attempt to catalog expertise, research and development, studies in the videoconferencing field the ViDe videoconferencing cookbook was born. The idea was to combat the problems such as fluctuating standards, poor interoperability, and unregulated costs. The demand for the ViDe videoconferencing cookbook was so great that in 1999, nine more institutions were asked to join and The University of Alabama at Birmingham, George Washington University, NYSERNet (New York State, Educational, and Research Network), CANARIE, Ohio State University, the University of Hawaii, The College of William and Mary, The University of South Carolina and the Vanderbilt University became the extended partners of the Video Development Initiative.
Other organizations are knocking at ViDe’s doors interested in contributing to the cause. Many precedents have spun off of the ViDe videoconferencing cookbook concept. Southwest Universities Research Association (SURA) hosts an annual videoconference workshop in which teaching and information sharing takes place within the community. ViDeNet is the largest known interoperable network and boasts worldwide interconnectivity with over 200 professional networking communities. Internet2 is a consortium of over 200 universities that work with federal and private organizations for collaboration on network application and technology development. The Research Channel is dedicated to hosting video programming from leading research institutions. Several targeted committees are continually striving to improve specified fields such as data collaboration, video streaming, videoconferencing and asset management.
Videoconferencing has become a perpetually expanding field with infinite application potential. The ViDe videoconferencing cookbook maximizes information sharing opportunities for several organizations on a continuously growing list. The ViDe is on the forefront of a new and exciting field of technology. Forget Science Fiction, make way for Science Reality.