Designing the Perfect Video Conference Room with the End Users in Mind

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Videoconferencing has long had a bad reputation as an ineffective means of communication, including distance learning in the education field. We break those barriers by introducing the design elements and ideas that were implemented at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) to design and construct a videoconferencing room that simulates a telepresence environment. The heart of the design incorporates certain elements to make the far-end participants feel as life-like as possible for the local participants, and in the process making communication more effective. There are several telepresence systems and full-fledged room installations on the market that are extremely expensive and essentially out of reach for many schools, universities, businesses, and other organizations. Our solution eliminates the need for hiring expensive consultants and audio-visual specialists and instead focuses on very simple design elements that will simulate a high-end telepresence experience for users, all at a fraction of the cost of a traditional video conference room. Since the design and construction of this room at UTEP, students, faculty, staff, and other community members have experienced a much richer experience for meetings, distance classes, interviews, and other similar events.