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Where Videoconferencing and Streaming Technologies Intersect - Part 1

Different in so many ways
As simple as it sounds to connect one IP video platform to another, converting media produced in real time by a videoconferencing system to appeal to streaming audiences accustomed to broadcast television is challenging. The proposed article will offer a set of practical suggestions, tailored to appeal to an audience of streaming media professionals, as well as a table of product/service selection criteria and a table of vendors identified to date at the intersection of conferencing and streaming.

This article is sufficiently broad in scope to encompass the circumstances in which a large company chooses to implement and manage technologies internally as well as the "totally outsourced" scenario (where one or more service providers hosts both the videoconferencing and the streaming "downstream" delivery of content), and all the intermediate options available to companies.

Videoconferencing is designed for real-time communications so interactivity between users is inherent in the way the technology is normally applied. In contrast, streaming is usually a "one-way" experience; there is the communicator, a message and the audience who can experience a message in "real time" (as it is created) or on-demand (after the fact).

Interactivity is just one of the many ways that videoconferencing and streaming differ. This series of articles begins by comparing the two technologies then focuses on how they can be merged to offer an alternative to having streaming video capture performed in studios. Our final installment is a guide to selecting products for the task.

As a corollary to the first contrast offered above, one can make the case that videoconferencing applications are "peer to peer" and when ISDN is used to connect two end points, the two are peers. In an IP environment, connectivity between conferencing end points frequently (but not always) involves a network device. Today, videoconferencing is as natural on an IP network as over ISDN. It just depends on the interface a buyer selects at the time of purchase.

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