FCCN – Fundação para a Computação Científica Nacional (http://www.fccn.pt)
Working Group – Multimédia ( [email protected] )
Videoconference is becoming a key role in educational institutions in order to
make possible, national and international activities more efficient. E-learning and long
distance teaching technologies are important in this kind of institutions. Therefore
FCCN - Foundation for National Scientific Computing, developed project "Estúdios".
The aim of this project is to promote these technologies like videoconference and
streaming of audio and video content, as well as experimentation, by installing several
rooms called "Estúdios" in several Portuguese universities. This presentation will
provide an overview of this project and the technologies involved in those rooms in
Started in the middle of May 2004, the Project “Estúdios” is a undergoing
project. It is (Nov 2004) at the end of the implementation. Although there aren’t many
documents, deliverables or conclusions from this work right now, this project will
start giving results in the first trimester of 2005. All the know-how accumulated in
designing, building, installing and using this new sets of videoconferencing
equipment will be, for sure, very interesting to everyone.
The Project “Estúdios” is based on the objective of multi-function, multi-uses
giving to the room and the equipment the sense of metamorphosis. All the room and
equipment were designed and integrated to change, in less than 30 minutes, from one
set of configurations and presets to the other. These presets can be the room
functionality, the room furniture and the uses of the several pheripherical available.
This project aims to give a full feature videoconference experience (h323 dual
videoconferencing, two robotized cameras, document camera, smart board, audio and
video integration and collaboration) with the minimum effort to the end users.
Each room will integrate the following equipment:
Videoconference Codec H.323 – Aethra 8400AVC capable of up to 3Mbps IP,
dual video, encryption and up to 2Mbps ISDN (for backup purposes only)
PC – System that will provide a test videoconferencing plataform, as well,
as full production platform for: ISABEL, VRVS, AccessGrid,
ConferenceXP and others. It will also provide Windows environment for
H.323 meetings where there isn’t a laptop available on the room. Two
simultaneous video sources are available on each PC.
Multiple Audio Sources – 2 wireless microphones, 2 wired microphones, 2
digital microphones all integrated through a audio mixing table
5.1 Surround Sound – the chosen system was the Bose Acoustic Mass 10
DVD Recorder – it gives the ability to the room to record and play DVD
Echo cancellation device – the GT1524 is able to actively scan and remove
the echo from a videoconference using the PC or H.323 codec in a very
hard environment as the 5.1 surround system will pose. It also can receive
a phone call in order to integrate it with the room or within the
Audio, Video and VGA Matrixes – in order to make the system more user
friendly it was found the need to have this kind of equipment into the
studio. This will provide a touch button room reconfiguration function.
Essential for low knowledgeable users on the room.
Pan Tilt and Zoom Cameras – a pair of these cameras will be available in
each studio. They will provide full coverage of the room.
Document/Object Camera – this will give the ability to the user in a
straight forward way to put information on the screens. This information
will be seemly available locally or remotely via the videoconferencing
Projectors and Screens – a pair of XGA projectors will be placed on the
room. Together they will provide a front display area of 4 meter wide by
1.5 meter height. On some configurations, one of them may be pointed to
the end of the room in order to give the teacher a full view of the local and
remote audience. The other may be used with the smart board.
Everything will be controlled with low cost control system. The main
manufacturers have proposed solutions over 50000€ for each studio. The system
implemented is under 2500€. It is composed by an IR “very smart” remote controller,
an IR/RS232 transcoder and a serial port control system.
A rack with all the equipment is shown here:
Each room was developed with the university staff in order to give the best
comfort to the users in every aspect of videoconferencing. The walls, floors, the
screens, the furniture, lightening, noise, air conditioning were studied and designed.
After (still in construction)
Some room layouts may be viewed here:
Other issues were also previously defined like:
Room Access Points (interface service outlets to the rack)
Services / Protocol to the end users
Procedures that involves the universities
Accessibilities to handicapped persons
Other issues part of the Project “Estudios”:
Portuguese Videoconference Network
Central service: Gatekeeper, MCU, Gateways
Participation on the TF-VVC
Streaming Activities (OperaOberta, Research Channel)
Content Producing (e-learning content)
User Feedback Analysis
As a conclusion, this is an ongoing project that will have many issues useful
for discussion on the NREN context relating to videoconferencing implementation