Facilities for Remote Participation and Collaboration
|The SMART room, showing the SMART board.|
unit is also kept here but is portable.
Videoconferencing and Remote Participation in Fields Events
We have video conferencing hardware
which can be booked either for individual video conferences or for linking a
Fields event to a similar videoconferencing unit at a remote location so
that a group of people there can participate in the event.
This works well if there is similar equipment at the remote site,
but does not yet work with Skype or other software-based systems, and
requires advance preparation and testing of the remote equipment.
Under development is infrastracture to allow remote partipication
from sites that do not have any special equipment; we hope to
have this in place by late 2011.
Remote Collaboration with Researchers at Fields
- Our SMART board (described below), located in
the "SMART room" pictured above, can be used
as a collaboration tool between someone at Fields and someone outside, as if
both were standing at the same chalk board.
Details of Equipment
1. "LifeSize Room" model of videoconference unit
Fields can set up video conferences with other LifeSize units,
and with most other video video conferencing hardware (supports the
SIP and H.323 protocols and the H.261 and H.264 video codecs). Works
extremely well in these contexts. Note, though, that connecting to
Skype is not currently supported, nor to most other software-only
videoconferencing software due to subtle compatibility issues.
Supports up to 6 participating locations (4 visible at one time).
Can show both a video camera feed (e.g. presenter) and data (e.g.
Portable - can be used in the other classrooms and lecture rooms
too, in conjunction with either one of our portable projectors or
a fixed projector.
To arrange to use the unit, or to inquire about the possibility
of using it to connect to a particular remote site's equipment, contact
the computing staff: sysadmin(at)fields.utoronto.ca.
2. SMART Technologies interactive whiteboard (77",
The SMART Board can be used to display one's entire computer desktop,
or a specific document or program, on a whiteboard which is permanently
set up in our SMART room.
Can be used to annotate by touch on a presentation one is giving
to an audience in that room, or to record into a document the writing
one does on the board. This can be done either with the built-in "SMART
Notebook" software (which can interpret different pen touches
in different ways or for different colours) or in any standard software
program (which merely interprets any touch as mouse movement).
Can also be used for remote collaboration, in conjunction with either
a phone call or video conference, so that users at another locationcan
see what you write on the board and can write on it themselves. This
can be done either with a remote end that has a similar board or by
a remote end using a regular mouse and computer screen, either by
using desktop-sharing software (freely downloadable for Linux, Windows,
and Macintosh) or by using a program that runs in a standard web browser.
To book time in the SMART room, please contact the Fields computing