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Both GMD and UCL have been involved in limited pilots using conference rooms. The GMD work has been undertaken in the context of tying together the locations of the GMD; it has so far involved mainly installing such rooms in four GMD sites, connecting them together with the high-speed VBN network, and integrating in also some workstations with multimedia facilities.
UCL has been involved in a number of relevant projects. For the last five years, it has been one of the nodes in an analogue video conferencing network (LIVEnet ), covering London University. This currently has ten nodes, and provides multi-way video conferencing in which all sites can participate simultaneously. It is based on circuit switching, with integrated data facilities. It has a relatively sophisticated switching hierarchy, which allows the introduction of other networks and data sources. Thus it is linked also into a Broadcast Satellite network for beaming out educational television, into the US DARPA system described below, and other research systems.
UCL has also been participating in the SIMNET developed under DARPA auspices for multimedia conferencing over the Internet - particularly in the context of distributed simulation. That system currently operates with Codecs at about 256 Kbps over the Internet, but requires resource reservation at the routers. There are some 15 sites currently in that system. Multi-way conferencing is achieved by a hublet approach. The different streams come into Codecs at a central hub, where they are decoded into the analogue domain; there they are combined in analogue, and then recoded and sent out in a multicast manner to the participating sites. At present these service use in-band audio, since these functions are provided in the Codecs, with the audio mixed in the hublet.
Several of the MICE partners have been participating in the workstation-based systems mentioned in Section 5.2. Clearly, these can also be piped to Conference Rooms.