LRAT and TAMU support two video-conferencing platforms - Zoom and Starleaf. Zoom is the popular choice. Starleaf is a more niche tool featuring higher framerates and European storage of recordings (thus complying with GDPR). The University's site license for Starleaf also includes a streaming licence. Streaming is direct with no need for a third-party service such as YouTube Live.
Zoom authentication now uses your University email address and your Active Directory password. More details are available in a knowledgebase article. For support email email@example.com.
Starleaf will allow anyone with a bham.ac.uk address to make video conference connection with room-based systems (codecs), other Starleaf desktop and mobile users, and other video connection platforms such as Skype for Business and Bluejeans. Anybody with a bham.ac.uk email address can use Starleaf - the only condition is that you must be able to install software on your device. Your device can be PC, Mac, iOS or Android phone or tablet. Streaming a meeting to up to 500 viewers is possible.
Once installed you can connect with others in many ways, even people with no video-calling software, by requesting the app send them a mail with the correct download link.
Join Starleaf online. Click on the 'Download the App' button and enter your bham.ac.uk email address when prompted.
The Starleaf client is now avilable from the ITS Software Centre if you have a managed PC.
Usage instructions are now available. For support email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The University will be making Microsoft Teams available soon; over time this will become the default video-conferencing platform. Our Starleaf site licence ends on May 31st 2021 and our Zoom site licence in June 2021.
Portable hardware for video-conference sessions
Book a Logitech Group video-conferencing Kit for better quality Starleaf, Skype for Business, Zoom and Skype connections.
For smaller huddle groups the Meeting Owl is a great option - featuring smart recognition of participants
Rooms with fixed video-conferencing
- LRAT Meeting Room (bookable from LRAT)
- Frankland Computer Cluster (a CAL room)
Crestron UC-SB1-CAM - for use with web serrvices such as Zoom, Starleaf Web, Teams or Skype for Business
- Law 302 (capacity 10)
- ERI 224 (capacity 12) and 144 (capacity 14)
- Arts 237 (capacity 12) and 105 (capacity 16)
Desktop Video Conferencing
This only requires a web camera and microphone (and - ideally - headphones). Software such as Skype or Skype for Busines is free and easy to use. It is ideal for non-critical one-to-one meetings. Do note that generally Skype and Skype for Business are not interoperable.
Skype is a home-consumer product for making video calls to other Skype users. A standard, free Skype account is suitable for camera plus audio communication on a one to one or multiway basis, where quality and assurance is not important..
Users are responsible for creating their own Skype user account which is essential for using the software.
LRAT does not support the Skype part of the meeting at all but we can hire out USB cameras and microphones configured for the platform. LRAT staff will only set up the equipment and cannot offer any assistance in case the link breaks down. LRAT lecterns feature Skype but are not equpped with webcams.
Skype for Business
Skype for Business is available to certain users on campus and is authenticated using Active Directory, not Skype credentials. Curfrently it is the only approved video connection method to our Dubai campus.
As Skype for Business displays notification and alerts of incoming calls, it does not form part of our standard lectern PC desktop. Neither is it installed on LRAT laptops as they are not ADF-authenticated.
Room-based Video Conferencing
Room-based systems provide higher quality audio and video, the potential for multi-connections and screen-sharing. Connections are usually more stable as JANET prioritises this type of network traffic. A better camera and microphone allows for meaningful participation by groups.
Currently neither desktop services such as Starleaf or Skype, nor room-based systems are allowed in Dubai. Once the University has its own network on the Phase 1 campus connections that stay entirely within our network, such as Skype for Business or unbridged room-to-room (codec-to-codec) video conferencing will be available.
IT Services have issued this authoritative advice.
LRAT provide high quality room-based video-conferencing facilities at any campus location equipped with a campus network point. Our portable equipment offers very high quality sound and video.
We provide a fixed 6-seater video-conference suite in our Great Hall block location. This comfortable room has been equipped with large monitors and offers a good sound ambience. Tea and coffee for clients is provided as part of the session charge. Up to 4 remote venues can be connected to simultaneously.
How to book
Bookings by external customers should be made by email to email@example.com.
Bookings by internal customers should be made using our online booking system. For the LRAT video-conference room choose the location Aston Webb Building - Great Hall Block: LRAT Video Conference Room and book the item: Video Conference Room and Equipment - Aston Webb.
Booking for the portable video-conference kit should be made at least one week in advance (to allow time for network registration). Booking of a room should allow an hour of setup time before the conference, and 30 minutes de-rig time after the conference.