These days, with everyone looking to cut costs, it’s only natural to be focused on delivering the most cost-effective training, webinar or presentation. This of course raises the question of when to use Internet audio versus a traditional teleconference. Teleconferences are an easy way to get started with web conferencing but usually the cost of this option is greater. Depending upon the goals of your session, the audience you are targeting and your available budget, the answer may differ. If you need some advice in this area, we are always happy to help advise you on what may be the most appropriate option for your web conference activity.
1. Internet Audio – Do’s & Don’ts
Assuming you have chosen to use our iLinc Internet Audio option for your session, here are a couple points to keep in mind:
Always perform a dry-run or practice session with ALL presenters prior to the meeting. This will provide ample time to resolve any issues ahead of time as well as provide your presenter an opportunity to become familiar with the iLinc application. Also whenever possible, make sure they are in the same location and using the same hardware that they will be using for the live presentation. This will help to avoid any surprises on the day of your event.
Make sure your presenters have good quality headsets on their computers. A good headset could be the difference between a fantastic experience for your audience or a poor one. We recommend a number of devices ranging in price that will yield a high quality experience when used with our web conferencing system (see below).
Mute on entry – This is an option iLinc gives you that will mute all participants’ microphones upon joining your iLinc session. This should almost always be considered a ‘must’ for your session as it allows you, as the leader, to control when attendees can speak and also prevents users with poor audio setups from ruining the experience for others. When you are ready to open someone’s mic, simply right-click on their name and choose to un-mute their line.
iLinc also offers an option for a mixed teleconference & internet audio type of session. This option requires that your speakers dial into the teleconference line but participants will receive the option to either “Listen In” via their computer speakers or dial into the teleconference. It is important to note that those users choosing to “Listen In” over their computer speakers/headset will not be able to verbally speak back and forth with presenters on the teleconference line.
If you suspect that your users are not receiving the best experience possible when using iLinc’s Internet Audio option, please contact Technical Support to get help troubleshooting the issue. In most cases, we can readily identify the problem and recommend steps to improve the experience on all sides.
2. What Audio hardware does iLinc recommend?
For Internet Audio, a full duplex, usb headset with background noise reduction and echo cancellation is recommended. USB is recommended for two reasons, first a usb headset, will have a standard audio driver across an operating system, ensuring consistent performance, regardless of the characteristics or drivers of the sound card, which may impact the perceived audio quality of an analog headset. Second, when distributing headsets to a number of people, a usb headset is simply easier to plug in, with less chance of error, due to the jacks being improperly plugged in, compared to an analog headset.
The following list of headsets, have been tested and used by iLinc or come highly recommended by our customers, prices reflect purchase price at that time through commonly found technology vendors on the internet.
Plantronics 645 & above
Sennheiser PC 30, PC 31 & above
Microsoft Lifechat LX-3000 & above
For small conference rooms, or offices needing a VoIP "speakerphone" several of our customers highly recommend the Phoenix Duet: http://www.phnxaudio.com/Default.aspx?tabid=62
3. What Video hardware does iLinc recommend?
When considering a camera, take into consideration how and where it will be used, do you need Pan Tilt Zoom (PTZ) capabilities? Is it designed to mount on a desktop or laptop? Do you need Face Tracking, or Video Effects? The following list of cameras represents a range of both feature functionality and cost. These cameras have been used internally and are recommended both for quality and ease of use / product support. Please note due to the nature and constant evolution of cameras this list updates often, to check for the most current updates, please contact our support team.
Logitech Orbit Series - On the higher end of Web cams, it includes PTZ features with onscreen controls, for lighting, color, zoom adjustments, face tracking, and video effects. This camera also includes two bases, one low, and one high pedestal, allowing for very flexible placement.
Logitech QuickCam Pro For Notebooks - Similar to the orbit series listed above but designed to be more compact and easily portable, it clips onto the top edge of a notebook computer.
Logitech QuickCam Pro 9000 - Very versatile webcam designed to be able to sit on top of a desktop or laptop, it includes PTZ capabilities.
Creative Labs Live Cam Optia - Includes face tracking and automatic quality mgmt.
Creative Labs Live Cam Video IM Pro - Includes video effects
For Macs we recommend the Mac iSight Cameras
Further capabilities certainly exist to use higher quality cameras, for conference rooms, classrooms, and auditoriums, such as the Sony EVI D70 series, for more information on this type of implementation please contact our support team.
If Using Internet Audio or Video during Online Sessions:
• Full duplex sound card
• Headphones with microphone
• Video camera
• For Sending or Receiving Vide
• Minimum Processor Speed suggested: 1.3 GHz
• Recommended: 1.5 GHz or higher
• Minimum Memory suggested: 1 GB
• Recommend 100 kbps if using Internet Audio and/or Video
• Voice and video on either UDP 11730, HTTP 80 or HTTPS 443
Please Contact Us if you have any additional questions or would like to discuss these points with