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For Immediate Release
24 March 2004

Siemon Helps Education Market Prepare For The Latest Videoconferencing Technologies

Recent advancements in technology have brought video conferencing from its jerky infancy to a viable and mature product and the education sector has been quick to take advantage of the opportunities on offer.

New developments, such as Video on Demand (VOD), digitised video, interactive video, streaming video, real-time audio/video and electronic whiteboards are opening up opportunities for schools, colleges and universities, in ways that were just not possible a year or two ago. In contrast with earlier technology, Video over IP transmissions are scalable, cost effective and very flexible, because they allow video signals to be captured, digitised, streamed and managed over IP networks.

Carrie Higbie, Siemon's Global Network Applications Market Manager, technology leader of network cabling solutions, explains: "In its early days, video conferencing technology had restrictions on usage costs and users had to maintain dedicated equipment in a single location. In contrast, IP-based services allow the conference to be initiated from any PC on the network that has the proper equipment. The signals travel over the network infrastructure and equipment, eliminating the need for dedicated lines and usage charges."

The issue for the education sector is not whether video conferencing is the best route forward, but whether their existing infrastructure can cope with the additional burdens placed upon it by these technologically advanced products.

Higbie comments, "A solid cabling system foundation, with plenty of headroom, bandwidth and capacity will be the single greatest factor in supporting the growing trend of converging IP services. Organisations have placed new applications on their networks, only to realise that the needed bandwidth is not there."

Today's video applications can utilise video compression and video coding technology to reduce bandwidth consumption. Compressed, the feed will consume less resources, but there is a trade-off between compression and video quality. The greater the compression, the greater the chance of pixilation, particularly in congested networks. Compression algorithms were developed to address lack of bandwidth or low speed links. With many of the bandwidth constraints being lifted due to higher speed last mile options, video is more viable and easier to transmit than ever before. Equipment advances are contributing to an increase in IP Video as well. New IP Cameras provide PTZ (pan, tilt and zoom) and in some instances are powered via the data cable using the new IEEE 802.3ak power over Ethernet standard. The ability to store videos on disk provides faster access and easier rewinding and fast forwarding than traditional video tape.

The key to success, according to Higbie, is having a network in excellent working order. "Recent advancements in cabling have been made to answer the growing demand for new IP-based applications at speeds up to 10 Gb/s and higher. The latest technology, good planning and installation are essential. Any network is as good or bad as it's underlying infrastructure The total network investment is only protected when installed on a quality cabling system.

"Siemon's next generation cabling system: 10G ip™ has been developed to handle the added demands of converging applications and provide the quality and security essential for videoconferencing applications. Given the fast pace of technology, a high performance cabling system offers the necessary peace of mind that it can support new and emerging applications such as IP video and video conferencing.

For more detailed information on the latest videoconferencing technology and details of the industry standards relating to videoconferencing, please refer to Siemon's White Paper 'Video over IP'. It is available at


About Siemon
Established in 1903, Siemon is an industry leader specialising in the design and manufacture of high quality, high performance low voltage infrastructure solutions and services for data centres, LANs and intelligent buildings. Headquartered in Connecticut, USA, with global sales, technical and logistics expertise spanning 100 countries, Siemon offers a comprehensive suite of copper and optical fibre cabling systems, cabinets, racks, cable management, data centre power and cooling systems and intelligent infrastructure management solutions.

With more than 400 patents specific to structured cabling, Siemon Labs invests heavily in R&D and the development of industry standards, underlining the company’s long-standing commitment to its customers and the industry. Siemon Interconnect Solutions (SIS) is a Siemon business unit comprised of a team of dedicated technical sales professionals supported by Siemon Labs, mechanical, electrical and signal integrity engineers committed to solving industry and customer driven interconnect challenges. Siemon provides custom network infrastructure solutions to OEMs, leading manufacturers, value-added resellers and system integrators.
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