Even though the video conferencing room was finished since quite some time ago, I only got to use it last week for the first time. This is a complete Cisco (of course) solution from the equipment all the way to the desks and lightning. It looks something like this:
The system itself is quite impressive, I have to admit. The three 65″ plasma displays show a crystal-clear picture and there is no noticeable delay in video or sound. The version we have installed in this room is the somewhat expensive one, Telepresence CTS 3000, with three displays (each one which its own high definition camera) capable of providing smooth high-definition 720p or 1080p video. The system comes with 9 microphones and 3 speakers which allows it to provide directional sound, so you can actually hear the sound from the direction of the person currently speaking.
At the moment we have two such rooms in the two cities where the company’s main offices are and I imagine they save quite a lot in travel expenses. Of course, a system like this is far from cheap. I don’t know exact prices but if I am not mistaken the complete system is around $300.000. Unlike other video conferencing vendors, Cisco decided to stick with quality which means the network requirements are much stricter. For example for the CTS 3000 version (the big system) the maximum bandwidth requirements are somewhere between 11 and 15Mbps. Bandwidth is not that cheap so you have to add that too.
The network has to be well designed as well. If you want everything to run smooth you need a low-latency, low-jitter (variation in latency) network where quality of service must be deployed end-to-end in order to ensure that.
Bottom line: you pay a lot but in the end I would say you get what you pay for.