New systems unveiled at ITCA '96

Videoconferencing products introduced at last week's International Teleconferencing Association '96 show in Washington, D.C., ran the gamut from low-end, low-cost desktop systems to high-end multipoint bridges.

Cinecom Corp. introduced CineVideo/Direct, a low-cost, low-end Microsoft Corp. Windows-based desktop videoconferencing system that works over analog telephone lines, the Internet, Integrated Services Digital Network, local-area networks and wide-area networks. It allows PC-to-PC video, full-duplex audio and text communication without the need for a server.

Cinecom, which has users in the Army, the Internal Revenue Service and many state governments, has recently signed an agreement with Bell Atlantic Federal Systems, which will resell the product through its Telecommunications Modernization Program (Tempo) contract with the Defense Department. The product also will also be added to the General Services Administration schedule. CineVideo/Direct lists at $149.95 with a black-and-white camera and microphone.

On the other end of the spectrum, Sony Electronics Inc. announced the TriniCom 4000 Roll-about room system, which comes with an on-screen icon menu and wireless remote control for ease of use. At a list price of $16,000, the product includes a video/audio processor with full-duplex audio, a high-resolution camera and a 27-inch Trinitron monitor.

The point-to-point 4000 system can also be upgraded to Sony's TriniCom 5000 multipoint system, which allows users to tie in up to four locations on a single split-screen monitor without the need for an external multipoint control unit (MCU). Both the 4000 and 5000 will be added to the GSA schedule.

MultiLink Inc. announced the System 80, a Windows-based MCU that can support any combination of phones and videoconferencing systems on the fly. It can accommodate up to 48 interactive video ports, up to 96 audio ports or a combination of the two. The product will run at transfer speeds up to 336/384 kilobit/sec, and it accepts ISDN-PRI and T-1 network connections for video participation and standard telephone lines for audio only.

System 80 is the only software-based MCU, according to Charles McCarthy Jr., vice president of customer support at MultiLink. It also supports interactive video and audio-only participants within the same conference, allows for subconferencing—in which a few people can be pulled out to conference separately from the main conference—and has a single-number dialing feature that permits users to call the same phone number every time to dial into different conferences.

MultiLink has users in the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Veterans Affairs. The Navy and the Bureau of Labor Statistics have been beta testing System 80, which is now available.

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