Video Conferencing Options
Version 2 (August 2019) of LRAT's guide to choosing a video-conferencing solution.
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.
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.
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.
We no longer subscribe to vScene from Ajenta. Please use Starleaf instead.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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. For other locations choose the preferred venue and book the item: Portable Video-Conferencing Kit.
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.
Book a Logitech Group video-conferencing Kit for better quality Starleaf, Skype for Business and Skype connections.
The charge - excluding additional technical support but including basic setup and testing - will be just £50 per session for University bookers or £100+VAT (£120) for external bookers. Internal University bookers requesting the portable kit will be charged a further £50 for delivery, setup, derig and collection. External bookers can only use our video-conference room.
How to pay
- University users: please see our booking information
- External users: you can pay by Paypal or Mastercard and Visa debit or credit card at our online shop