Whilst ARCS eResearch Collaborative Service supports two video collaboration tools, Access Grid and EVO, there may be opportunities when these (plus other video collaboration/conferencing technologies) are required to interoperate to allow broader collaboration. ARCS eResearch Collaborative Service provides Video Collaboration Bridging that provides the capacity to interoperate with a number of video collaboration/conferencing technologies. These facilities not only provide Access Grid and EVO users with the ability to participate in the same meeting, but additionally provide interoperability with Telephone bridging, Skype audio and H.323/SIP software clients and devices.
These bridging facilities provide convenient collaboration and enable a much wider interoperability between communication technologies; this provides broader collaboration and thus allows users to utilise available facilities (which they may have at hand already or which may be the only ones available in certain circumstances). An example user case might include a meeting involving a research lab group at a university using an H.323 meeting room (Tandberg/Polycom), a colleague using EVO from a hotel lobby whilst attending a conference and a researcher who is gathering data in the field and is connecting via the phone bridge. All these people are participating in the same video collaboration session by utilising the interoperability afforded by EVO.
EVO has a number of bridging options which allows it to act as the "glue" to bind several communication technologies together. These can be used singly, as listed below, or together to enable a single meeting which makes use of multiple communication technologies.
Telephone to EVO
One may use a phone (landline or mobile) to connect to an EVO meeting by audio only; see here for more details.
Skype to EVO
Skype users may join EVO meetings by audio only (as at July 2011); see here for more details.
EVO to H.323
Users of Polycom, Tandberg and other H.323-based systems may take part in EVO meetings by the use of EVO's H.323 Call (where it is EVO that makes the call to the H.323 system and not vice versa); see here for more information.
Access Grid to EVO (same as EVO to Access Grid)
A bridging service between EVO and Access Grid (AG) traffic is provided. A number of bridged meeting venues (Emu, Kangaroo and Platypus) are visible to users of both AG and EVO; all that is required is for an AG or EVO user to enter the same venue as the other users have entered, and users of both applications will see and hear all meeting particpants, whether they be on AG or EVO; see here for more details.
Telephone to Access Grid
Some Access Grid nodes can accept telephone calls as an input to the audio traffic for that node. In this case, there will be a specific phone number for that node that a participant will need to call. This feature is not implemented at all AG nodes, so a prospective user will need to make enquiries before a meeting to see if any of the involved AG nodes offers such a service.
(However, note that an alternative is to use an AG-EVO bridged virtual venue with EVO's phone bridge- this will allow someone to dial-in on phone to the EVO phone bridge, with that audio then being passed on to an Access Grid node via the AG-EVO bridge).
It is possible to combine two or more of these bridging services to provide a non-direct link between technologies. Some possible scenarios are listed below.
- using the phone bridge to join an EVO meeting (by audio) when one is travelling and without Internet access
- using the phone bridge to join an EVO meeting in one of the AG-EVO bridged venues, thus essentially providing a convenient phone bridge (via EVO) to Access Grid
- using EVO's H.323 Call within an AG-EVO bridged venue to bring the H.323 facility into a meeting with an Access Grid node
Please contact the ARCS Help Desk if you need assistance with video collaboration bridging.
Also, ARCS offers "live help" on EVO. In the EVO@AU Community, if you see "EVO@AU Support (Jason)" or "EVO@AU Support (Paddy)" online during business hours, feel free to send an EVO text message if you have a question which may benefit from direct online help. We may not be available absolutely at all times, but we will help when we can.