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A typical conference room will allow 5 - 10 people to participate in a meeting at any one site. There are several versions of these rooms in the participants' premises with differing levels of sophistication. They normally include at least two remotely controllable cameras (one for the participants and one for documents), a workstation (for camera control and for shared workspace activity), a number of microphones, several TV monitors or a TV projector, some small TVs for previewing, a control box (to control all the peripherals, though this could be done from the workstation). There is usually some device for packetising data from the cameras - though again this can be done in the workstation. For attachment to the outside world, there is usually a router; it is possible to attach the workstation directly to a LAN, and have the router function shared with other LAN workstations. To match the video data rates to those available to this project, there is normally also a hardware codec.
A diagram of a typical CR is given in Figure 2. Here, switching between cameras and displays is done by a video switch. This allows other multimedia information to be introduced into the conference, such as information from a video store. We show the multimedia information as coming in from a network via a router on a LAN. It is shown coming into the CR workstation, which acts also to strip the packet framing, pass the video to the codec and the audio to the speaker, controls the video switch, and multiplexes and packetises in the other direction. This type of installation is reasonably expensive, so that its usage is normally shared between different functions.
The MICE partners are using their existing conference rooms. In addition, GMD has the responsibility of providing a reference installation which could be copied by organisations which do not have existing facilities but wish to join the programme.