By Shawna Williams
Though teleportation is still out of reach at SLAC, it’s
easy to do the next best thing—videoconferencing.
"As a face-to-face technique, this really helps," said Art
Bray (SCS), the videoconferencing coordinator. "A voice on the phone can
say a lot, but an expression on the face can say a lot more."
"Videoconferencing is a more direct way to talk to
colleagues across the region, the country or the world than using e-mail
or even telephone conferencing," said Bray. At a cost of three cents per
minute, it is economical, too. Most institutions have video conferencing
capabilities; Bray has the complete list of these institutions.
Researchers use the two videoconferencing rooms in
Building 50 to ‘meet’ with colleagues at other institutions, but the
technology has other uses as well. Visiting professors have used it while
here to teach classes at their home institutions, and a few graduate
students have even given their dissertations via videoconference. During
Take Your Kids to Work Day employees’ offspring used the equipment to
communicate with each other from different rooms.
In addition to being ‘face to face’, users can share
visual aids. The videoconferencing rooms are equipped with document
cameras, and laptops can be connected to the system to display PowerPoint
presentations or other files.
Bray can set up audio conferences, which can connect more
people with better sound quality than an ordinary phone call would. He can
also set up combined audio-video conferences, useful if not all the
participants have access to videoconferencing equipment at their location.
"Theoretically, 10 or more sites could conference using
either technique," Bray said. The SLAC conferencing rooms themselves hold
15 to 20 chairs, but each room’s capacity is flexible.
For more information on videoconferencing at SLAC, see: