Video Conferences

Virtual Meetings – easier than walking across campus

real presenceYou are probably already sold on the benefits of virtual meetings:
  • No travel, no Flying,
  • MUCH cheaper and easier
  • No wasted days traveling to meetings or being away from home.
And you may think that Skype or Facetime are your best/only options and that you just have to put up with their limitations.

But you should consider RealPresence.  It’s the same concept but a more professional version that’s:

  • better quality
  • less limiting (in terms of equipment/location)
  • lets you have more attendees
  • and lets you record
It’s easier than going on a business trip or even walking across campus.

How to get this going:

Contact Rich Searles at or 205-934-7662 today and he will walk you through everything.



Why RealPresence is superior

   RealPresence Skype FaceTime
What preparation is needed before the first use of this: Install the software
Time it takes: 15 minutes
Cost: Free
 ?  ?
Cost Free, except for Rich’s effort. 
(See cost for Rich’s effort detailed below)
Only the very basics are free.  
How’s the quality? Best Okay  ?
Only 2 people that’s not being recorded
(This is also called “Point to Point”)
Fine Fine Fine
3-4 attendees (or groups of attendees) Fine (reserve ahead of time*)
Only for the paid version  ?
5-10 attendees (or groups of attendees) Fine (reserve ahead of time*)
(If lots of “attendees” then the quieter ones seamlessly drop out to the background to keep the screen uncluttered.)
NO  ?
You need it recorded (regardless of the number of people) Fine (reserve ahead of time*) Only for the paid version  ?
Can share screen to the video conference.
-- meaning, by default it will be people looking at each other, but if you have a document or Powerpoint or whatever on your computer that you need everyone to see (full screen) you can switch to that as needed.
Fine NO NO
You want to do it from a conference room that is set up to accommodate dozens of people with a big screen TV monitor style computer screen.

Located in Medical Towers at UAB: MT-634 or MT-605
Fine (reserve ahead of time*)  ?  ?
You want to do it from:
  • your own desktop computer
  • or laptop webcam
  • your I-phone
  • or from your droid
Fine Fine Only if you have a Mac product
Some people are Mac users, but not everyone. Fine Fine NO.  Only works for Mac users

* = just reserve the time period ahead of time with Rich (because can have no more than 2 going on at a time).


More details…

Why is it free
The equipment is paid for and the indirects are already going to pay for the use of “the bridge” that makes it possible.  
The only cost is Rich’s effort, see next table down for that.
What other services See below under "Other Services"
"I’m sold…."
What’s the first thing I have to do??

At least 36 hours before your first meeting/event

If you are a DOPM person, contact Rich and he will take care of everything.

Other attendees (outside of DOPM) will need to set up acct on Polycom at IITS.

Which consists of:
  1. Getting Software
    Click here:
    Install the software takes: 15 minutes (free)
  2. Fill out registration form/license/
    Click here:
    This form tend to be not-user friendly, contact Rich for assistance including what to put for the Confirmation Number
About the software Before the first use…
There’s an application to be installed and tested.
This is done (by Rich) with IITS, which is Campus Telecommunications Bridge (that is part of the UA System, statewide).
Installation takes about 15 minutes.  No cost. 
Who makes it? Polycom
For only 2 people (without recording), how do I connect? Call the other person using their IP address.
(You do NOT have to reserve.)  You can do this anytime.
(This is also called “Point to Point”)
Free.  Rich does not have to be involved at all.
For 3+ people
if you want to record
You type in a code that Rich will give you when you reserve the time period.
(And all the other people will also type in this same code.)
Examples that have happened
  • Done in many states
  • Between here and India
  • Between here and Brazil
  • Between here and other buildings on campus
  • William’s part of the Faculty meeting on Oct 16, 2013
Who can use it?

Basically anyone with desktop computer or laptop webcam, I-phone or droid.
Don’t have to be a UAB person to use it.
Other Services…
Live Stream In addition to participants, up to 100 people (maybe more) can view it like they are watching a TV show.  
They cannot participate.  No chat room.  (40 second delay)
(reserve ahead of time*)
Phone Call dial in
Just like a “Conference call”
1 to dozens of people can use a phone number to call in.
Those people will be able to hear the VideoConference as it’s going on and ask questions.
(reserve ahead of time*)


Cost for Rich’s part of it

Video Conferencing requires a certain amount of effort for A/V support.
The suggested contribution (if your grant has the ability to pay) is 2% of Rich’s Effort.  Love it if you could pay that.

We hope you have the ability to contribute a 2% monthly Effort on a grant which allows for this type of expense to defray the equipment/personnel costs.  Otherwise, it comes out of State Funds.     
  Time Approx cost
2% of Rich’s Effort each month    $113 per month
1.       Record      0.75 hour  $25
2.       Basic Editing
3.       Put on a Sharepoint website
 3.00 hours  $100
1, 2 and 3 above  3.75 hours  $125
Turning on Conference room  MT-605 or MT-634  0.75 hour  $25
Set up acct on Polycom at IITS.

Which consists of:
  1. Getting Software
  2. fill out registration form.
Intermediate Editing, adding Titles subtitles, etc  varies  $32.50 per hour
NOTE: The above costs are for 2013.  Costs are subject to change each year.  



Anne Hubbell The Process is simple on the part of the user; I spoke with Rich a few times.  Otherwise, I just showed up at my scheduled times and conducted the training sessions.

Trainee and her PI offered positive feedback-better option than training via phone with electronic resources for the type of training I needed to offer which required more face-to-face interaction than presentation of information.

I had no issues with the quality.

One session was recorded.  This will enable my team to review and offer feedback.  Segments may also be used for future training.
Ann Smith We have been using Polycom Video Conferencing, and now Polycom RealPresence, for several years in our training programs. With it, we’ve connected to faculty and staff at universities across the U.S.

It is an excellent way to hold a meeting with people in different locations, while saving time and money by eliminating the drive, or flight, to meet in person. It is “almost like” meeting in person, since you can both see and hear your colleagues.

With a bit of advance planning – reserving the rooms, reserving the dates and times with IITS and DOPM IT, and notifying your attendees, you are set for the connection. It is easy and the quality is good. Occasionally there are technical glitches, or the call may drop due to network traffic, but the technical staff are on it immediately to correct any issues.

We also use the recording service, and appreciate that we are able to post the video on a shared Web site, for our trainees to view later, if they were not able to attend.

I highly recommend the Video Conferencing services to others. I am very pleased with the functionality, and love the capability to bring people together, almost face to face, without the time and cost of travel.

It is efficient and effective. I give this service the highest rating, a 5 out of 5, where 5 is excellent.