I visited my brother recently. He’s a distance education teacher, teaching a variety of high school classes in several different high schools. Here’s his set-up, all arranged on his desk:
The most expensive component of the system, by far, is the Tandberg video-conferencing unit. However, adding everything up, the total cost of the set-up is under $10,000:
- Dell: $2,000
- Tandberg: $6,500
- Lumens: $700
The prices above are estimates as some of these models are no longer made. Still, it’s pretty impressive to me that the total package is under $10K. Another Tandberg or similar device is required at the other end, of course. In this age of Skype, it’s not clear to me how long the pricing of the Tandberg unit can be sustained.
Of course, the unit integrates video switching, the H.323 codec, a display and a camera, so it’s not surprising that the cost is high. If one were to do without the Tandberg unit, things get more complicated.
Here’s a history of videoconferencing. See the link at the bottom that includes a video from Chris Pirillo that mentions oovoo.com. Then there’s issue of sharing screens with one another. This is well handled by GoToMeeting and, more recently, by Yugma.