What do You Need?
First ---- before you even think of equipment you need to think about the people factor! Having a trained GENESIS facilitator has been shown to be a critical need to be able to have GENESIS effectively serve your base or ministry.
The GENESIS Centre offers seminars and the GENESIS school to effectively prepare your key staff for utilising the GENESIS concept in your ministry. If you concentrate on equipment before leadership then it is likely your high investment will remain stored in a cupboard and hardly get used....(bad stewardship!).
There are a variety of videoconference systems that can be used - both 'hardware' and software (on your PC or Mac for smaller scenarios)
For a normal classroom setup you will need a videoconference system, Television monitor, soundboard and speakers and microphones as well as a projector.
Does it Matter What Brand Sony/Tandberg/Polycom) Etc?
Not really. All equipment should communicate as a minimum using the H.323 standard (that means 'videoconference/voice over internet) Newer systems have more advanced sound and video standards (these things get better all the time) and they are designed to be able to 'talk' to each other. Most of the systems installed in the GENESIS network are SONY systems. We also have Polycom and Tandberg systems. One key point to consider is the GENESIS centre people are mostly experience with SONY gear and are most likely to be able to help you troubleshoot SONY issues.
What About Buying Second Hand to Save Money?
The usual disclaimer applies - second hand equipment (and sometimes even new) comes with little or no warranty and may need prayerful consideration before committing ministry money. NOT for the fainthearted!
- Sony PCS-G50 or Sony PCS-1 Videoconference unit
- Tandberg 990MXP Video Conferencing Unit
- Sony EVI-D70 Video Conferencing camera
- or Tandberg
- and good microphones like:
Audio Technica AT871R Unidirectional Boundary Mic or Sony PCS-A1 Table Microphone
What About the Cost?
It depends. If you start from scratch you need a bigger budget to cover a projector, a soundsystem etc. Also the videoconference systems on the market are 'scalable' systems - that is, you can buy a 'basic' configuration and add features later as you need them. Consider also that most commercial videoconference systems are 'high end' products that are not cheap to buy - but on the other hand are generally designed for a 5-7 year supported lifecycle.
What About Software Solutions?
You can run H.323 videoconferencing from PC (Win or Linux) and from Mac computers. The quality will depend on your camera quality, speed of computer and other programmes running at the same time. Some solutions to consider are:
Polycom PVX (Commercial product)
Mirial (Commercial product)
Ekiga (freeware for Linux)
Xmeeting (freeware for Mac OS X)
The GENESIS Centre and anyone from the GENESIS team are happy to give advice and help bases get established with training and also with equipment advice.
and so on.....