In this age where there are a variety of enterprise and free video conferencing solutions; educational institutions can be faced with providing a reliable video conferencing platform to ensure consistent program delivery. This can result in standardizing on free solutions like FaceTime, Google+ Hangouts and or Skype technologies. The challenge with this approach is there are various pros and cons to each technology so standardizing on a single free video conferencing platform can limit the instructional and participant user experience. The use of free or open source video conference solutions are also greatly dependent the end user technical skills, Internet bandwidth capabilities of each participant and especially the bandwidth of the meeting initiator or instructor of the video conference. As a result free, open source or OS specific video conferencing solutions can provide a great cost effective one to one video solution but very few of these solutions can provide a one to many solution to ensure a reliable standardized user experiences for all OS and mobile platforms. More often than not, educators tend to explore solutions that they can control and implement. Less IT support, ease of use, OS platforms and over all cost can be very important factors that can shape video conferencing delivery models. From another perspective, enterprise solutions like Polycom, Cisco TelePresence, Blackboard, Webex, GoToMeeting, Adobe Connect and Microsoft Lync can provide reliable user experiences when it comes to video and program delivery capabilities. The challenge with this approach are the ongoing license fees, IT support and user platform integration required to allow a diverse participants community to connect in a unified meeting space. Regardless of the free or enterprise approach, instructional design and program evaluation are very important in determining the best approach for meeting or online program delivery using a video conferencing solution.
Hence the market place for enterprise video bridge cloud solutions that allow a variety of free and paid video conferencing solutions to connect and engage in a common user interface regardless of the software communication protocols, video conferencing codecs and proprietary hardware being used in the conference session. This provides a means for educational or business institutions to host online video sessions with very little IT support for hardware, software and bandwidth shaping. Less is more. These services do come at a cost but depending on the need and technical capabilities of the institution, the evolving cloud solutions may provide an opportunity to host video conferencing sessions otherwise not possible. There are a number of solutions evolving but two solid solutions are:
1. Blue Jeans
I would definitely promote the integration of this type of video conferencing cloud bridging technology when institutions lack the technical expertise to maintain the necessary hardware,software and network traffic monitoring required to provide consistent video conferencing services. Everything comes at a cost and educational institutions or businesses will need to decide where to spend their money in order to provide this type of meeting or program delivery service. Program delivery and meeting productivity will improve as participants become less focused on using the technology regardless of their location, OS platform and bandwidth limitations. When companies like Facebook are implementing these types of video conferencing bridging technologies, I would think this would provide a viable proof of concept for such technology.