Streaming Audio and Videoconferences
How does it work?
ICS records programs directly from our audio or video bridges. The stream is created during the recording process, and then an archived file is placed on a streaming server. We provide you access to your program via a link to the file. You provide the link to your participants, and they can listen or watch from their computers. You and your participants can then have access to the files wherever and whenever you choose.
When participants click on the link to begin playback, their streaming media players download several seconds worth of audio or video into a part of memory called a buffer. When the buffer is full, it sends data into the player portion of the software and they hear or see your program. At the same time, the software continously downloads data into the buffer. This process allows nearly immediate access. There is no long wait for an entire file to be downloaded.
We can also provide a live streamed link to your conference or meeting and allow participants to listen or watch via their computers as the conference is happening. Live streams can also be archived for later playback.
All you need to be able to listen to streaming media is a PC with an Internet connection, sound card, and speakers or headphones, and a streaming audio player. There are several free streaming media players available for download from the web including RealNetwork's RealAudio (www.realnetworks. com), Microsoft's Windows Media Player (www.microsoft.com/windowsmedia), Apple's QuickTime (www.apple.com/quicktime/), and Nullsoft's streaming MP3 technology, Shoutcast (www.shoutcast.com). ICS records data in RealAudio format. We can record in Windows Media Player or QuickTime formats by request.
What's the benefit?
Streaming's main benefit is its immediacy. Streaming audio begins just seconds after you click on the link. There's no delay in programming and no waiting for long downloads.
Streaming is a great way to provide wider access to your event. Here are some ideas for using streaming video or audio:
- Allow access to conference calls or meetings for those who were unable to attend;
- Use as a marketing tool for conferences by putting audio clips from keynote speakers on conference Web sites;
- Use live streaming to offer virtual conferences;
- Provide access to meeting archives.