The lowdown on IP

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Eye to eye on IP

What's new? Internet Protocol, as in voice over IP or video over IP, is hot these days, and vi- deoconferencing gear is hot, too. When buying a system'for the desktop or a large conference room'be sure it can handle IP video.

What about small systems? When it comes to desktop systems, your present Web cam might'just might'be enough for regular videoconferencing. If not, a small setup plus some software will likely do the trick. Make sure your desktop package will let you share, well, your computer desktop: Sharing data collaboratively is at least half the usefulness of a videoconference.

What about security? Along with the advantages of the Internet come its vulnerabilities. Almost all the systems in this guide include Advanced Encryption Standard, and many also support other standards.

What about price? Prices for all sorts of videoconference gear are falling, sometimes by as much as 50 percent to 80 percent of what systems cost a few years ago. Now's a good time to consider expanding your in-organization video capabilities, especially with coming mandates and opportunities for telecommuting. Just be sure to change out of that fuzzy pink bathrobe before the executive-level conference call.

Must-know info? Nothing exists in a vacuum anymore, industry experts say: Room-size systems, desktop units, even a cell phone might come into play. Make sure you can integrate a variety of technologies into your network to keep pace with present'and future'demands.

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