Just when you thought videoconferencing couldn't get any easier, or better--it has.
A new transmission standard, known as H.264, will soon be ratified by the worldwide industry governing body, International Telecommunication Union (ITU). This will allow significantly improved video and audio quality without gobbling huge amounts of bandwidth. The improvement rate is tipped to be 25 to 30 percent. For the technically minded, at 256 kilobits per second (kbps) of bandwidth you'll receive the sort of quality that was previously available at 384kbps. The new H.264 standard offers dramatic improvements in video quality at 384kbps and 512kbps bandwidth. For you and me, it all adds up to a better frame rate (less jerky pictures) and a sharper image.
The world's leading VC system builders, including Tandberg and Polycom, have already geared up for the new standard.
Even under the existing H.323 standard which helped enable videoconferencing over the internet, there have been major gains in the acceptance of VC technology. It is now viewed as a much more reliable and easier method of communicating and collaborating over long distances than previously. It is also widely accepted that installing a VC system is a sure-fire way of cutting back travel and accommodation costs normally associated with getting executives and employees to important meetings.