With support for scalable video coding (SVC), the Vidyo equipment can scale down to work well over very poor connections by using a smaller display window, lower resolution or fewer frames per second.
The equipment supports devices running Windows, iOS, Linux and Android. In a pinch participants could use smartphones and they have, but that's a last resort as when a conference participant has to catch a plane and the only option is to conference in from the airport, Smith says. Support for iOS devices was something the proprietary system lacked, he says.
By using Vidyo, CERN is able to bring video conferencing under the direct control of CERN's collaboration group rather than using a service as provided by the participating institution, he says. This allows the service to scale and to standardize support for the system. Smith says individual users barely notice the switch has been made to Vidyo.
CERN still hasn't gone entirely over to Vidyo even though it supplies the basic infrastructure. CERN had created a video management tool called Indico that acts as a central hub for scheduling audio and video conferences, booking rooms and enlisting other conferencing infrastructure such as video room systems. Indico remains in use because it works so well to meet CERN's needs and is familiar to users.
Meanwhile CERN continues its never-ending search for better equipment. For example right now it is standardized on Tandberg gear for room systems, but as part of its constant review of other options, is considering other vendors. "At the moment we're just doing the market assessment for the next round," Smith says. "In IT that's what we do."
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