Video has traditionally been viewed as complicated with a wide range of phrases that many don’t understand. It seems as though every day there are new terms and buzzwords being used in the video industry that make keeping up and mastering the technology very difficult at times.

With the rise of video conferencing popularity understanding some of these terms is imperative in choosing the right solution.

Here are 10 of the most common terms and their definitions:

1. Endpoint: The physical equipment or software used to make a video connection. They can be in the form of a room based system, desktop client, or a mobile device.

2. Content Sharing: Showing your desktop or specific content such as power point presentation, word or excel documents, pictures etc.

3. Point to point call: Communication between two endpoints. This is in contrast to a multipoint call where there are three or more connections on the call.

4. Multipoint Call: Communication between 3 or more connections. Multipoint calls connect using either a hardware or a cloud based bridge.

5. Firewall Traversal: Technology that creates a secure path through the firewall. This enables traffic from an organizations internal network to internet at large.

6. Interoperability: The ability for systems to work together. With video this means different endpoints being able to connect together for a video call.

7. Room based systems: Portable or non-portable dedicated systems with all the required components for a video call. This usually includes a camera, codec, control computer and all electrical interfaces. Typically, microphones and a display will connect to the system as well.

8. Streaming: A Method of relaying data (video) over a computer network as a steady continuous stream, and allowing playback to proceed while subsequent data is being received.

9. H.323: A standard video protocol that manufacturers use that allow their systems to speak the same language. It controls audio and video signals, bandwidth, and call control.

10. SIP: A video protocol designed to enable the communication and connection of devices across networks. This is an older protocol that was designed more for closed systems that would ultimately connect via gateways to other closed systems.

As visual collaboration announcements about new products continue to hit the news it can be somewhat challenging to discern the technical jargon from the user benefit. Nearly all of these announcements refer back to some set of technical terms that may be lauded in the announcement but aren’t fully explained. Below are some key terms and meanings that you might have seen recently.

SVC – Scalable Video Coding:
Up until now most major video conferencing manufacturers have built their solutions around AVC (Advanced Video Coding). Essentially AVC and SVC are formats of compression technology that allow high definition video to be sent across networks in an efficient manner. AVC essentially sends video at a one resolution, one frame rate with one level of quality across a network. The weakness with this approach is when there are network issues; quality suffers because the stream is unable to adapt down to different resolutions or frame rates.

Conversely, SVC sends multiple layers and resolutions, while monitoring the network. When problems arise, SVC can essentially peel back layer by layer, adapting to the network environment. The result is smoother video that provides a superior user experience.

1080p30 vs. 1080p60
720 and 1080 refer to the lines of resolution of a high definition video single. If you own a HDTV at home you are generally watching 720 or 1080 content on your screen, usually at 30 frames per second. Essentially the human eye is interpreting 30 images a second to create the motion of the content on TV. Now video conferencing systems are starting to use 60 frames a second; the result is a more lifelike, fluid motion. As these frame rates go up, along with the resolution, the image becomes closer to reality.

B2B
The “holy grail” of video conferencing has been the ability to easily connect to and communicate with vendors, partners, and suppliers. Many of the roadblocks for this type of communication have been technological; either due to interoperability or network issues. The term B2B in the visual collaboration world refers to this type of cross organization connections.

H.323
Delivering video conferencing signals across networks requires a number of elements to be successful. The H.323 protocol is design to be a standard that video conferencing manufacturers use which allows their systems to speak the same language. H.323 controls the audio and video signals, the bandwidth, and call control (alerting you to incoming calls, providing alerts, etc). Major manufacturers such as Polycom, Cisco, and Lifesize offer H.323 systems that can easily communicate with each other.

SIP
Like H.323, SIP is a protocol design to enable the communication and connection of devices across networks. SIP is an older protocol that was designed more for closed systems that would ultimately connect via gateways to other closed systems. Additionally, it is not as robust for adding new features.