Distributed Webcams and Monitoring Software

We are providing our communication staff the ability to work from home.  We have taken care of all the necessary VOIP issues etc.  The one question that remains is this:
1.  We want to distribute webcams for monitoring during working hours.  These cameras would absolutely be turned off after work.  We would also like the employee to activate a privacy mode temporarily for obvious reasons.  Any suggestions on equipment/management software?  We use WildFire with Spark for our IM.  Thanks.
TronGodAsked:
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jimmyd072298Commented:
well as an employee of a company and a manager I have to ask, will these be used to allow the at home employees to monitor something in the main office, or is this to be used by company management to monitor the at home employees? It makes a difference. And just my $.02, if it's to monitor the at home employee by company management, what a waste.  either the employees are worthless and untrustable, in which case the employees should be replaced or the management is worthless and do not how to manage in which case fire the managers and get good management personnel , or both in which case you would be better off firing everyone and getting good competent people that can be trusted.
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TronGodAuthor Commented:
I believe I wasn't clear enough.  When I say monitor I mean "Virtual Video Workplace".  These girls and guys need to be able to monitor each other.  This is because the whole process is somewhat team oriented.  A few girls/guys might me working on a particular customer at the same time.  I still haven't come up with a better work.  After all, they are monitoring each other.  Virtaul Video Workplace might be better term.  Management is from within.  They aren't "hawking" on the employees.  There are internal processes that measure efficiency.  We don't need video for that.  Does that help?
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wally2k7Commented:
Are all the employees connecting into the office via VP or similar?

if so you may be able to configure the office servers to host MSN messenger or similar, obviously this would only be able to be used by your employees and noone else. But this would give the al he msn messenger facilities, ability to use webcams, voice conversations and instant messaging etc.

is this the sort of thing you are looking for??

If this is not appropriate or feasable could you not configure the webcams to send the video to your web server which again would host it, interally and employees can pick up the feeds as required??

am I heading in the rigt direction yet??

If you can point me in the rigt direction I can try to help.
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TronGodAuthor Commented:
I think we are headed in the right direction.  However, doesn't MSN Messenger limit video conferences to two people?  What if 5 peopla wanted to talk or conference?  The employees all run remote via vpn connections to our Pix.

This is tough indeed.  I just wish I knew more but I am just filling in for the old network guy.  Thanks.
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jimmyd072298Commented:
I had almost forgot about this thread, but I tried the video workplace concept for a little while, but at the desktop level it was fairly useless.  I had hoped for much more in that respect but it could never pan out.  Scheduled video calls worked out a little better but even that has dimished greatly and we mainly use conference calls with some scattered video calls for normal meetings and phone calls and a lot of IM traffic for normal day to day business.  I believe that the desktop video didn't work out because it's really different than just walking into someone's office, to be honest you can "peek" in to see if the person is on the phone, appears to be head-down busy whatever and come back later but when the video call comes in it like a phone ringing and you have to interrupt no matter what.
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wally2k7Commented:
I like the idea, and I see what you are saying now.

At least we are heading there.

I know there are sofwares out there, Primarily designed for the security industry. you set up your however many webcams, then set up a computer to monitor them. easy enough.

A lot of these softwares I believe are licensed by
a) how many cameras you intend to use
b) how many people and or terminals you wish to e able to monitor them.

so what does that mean for you? it means a costly solution as you then have to licence the software for each user, to view and be viewed.

I suspect this would be a bad way of doing it.

Aother of my concers would be with bandwidth.

I mean I dont know if you have experience of viewin webcams etc over the internet. It can be frustratig with just one, now imagine doing the same agai with 15odd.

I am not sure if I can think of any way in particular of solving this one I am afraid. I will have to keep thinking and do a little bit of googleing

I will try to research this one and get back to you.
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jimmyd072298Commented:
Well if five wanted to conference it's still a problem.  you're limited on desktop space and bandwith.  a five way videoconference even at the lowest resolution would require a minimum of a 1mbs link and from normal home office cable/DSL service you would be hard pressed to accomplish that.  although I know that the phone companies are deploying a fiber link in some areas if you're in one of those you could accomplish a five-way video link easily.  
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TronGodAuthor Commented:
Yes, this may get published under the "Not Currently Capable" heading.  We use Asterisk and Sparc with Wildfire.  Maybe I can find a way to integrate spark into Asterisk.
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wally2k7Commented:
I think your right.

the problems just arn't at this tme anything you can overcome, and the gains I would say are sufficiently little that they wont benifit you in any real way even if you should succeed.

you can still schedule video conferences with other parties if such is required at any time. otherwise you have your VOIP etc.

Nice idea though
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JstncaseCommented:
Just a question. Public services that are used like video conference meetings(GoTo Meeting), or MS Sharepoint portal, MS Netmeeting (yes the OLD one), allow for video conferences. If you are hosting the equipment and regardless of bandwith you can have an unlimitted video conference that users can enter and drop off at any time to confer with. You have the voip taken care of as well so it does not need to be into 1 integrated solution.

I am trying to remember the vendor who I saw doing something very similar. Another direction to head who uses this sort of webcam solutions are Casinos and Adult Industry. I will look and try to remember the vendor but you may want to try contacting an IT Department for a casino or adult web company.
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TronGodAuthor Commented:
I will certainly take any reason to contact adult companies! :-)  Good idea though.  I will wait for your answer.
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jimmyd072298Commented:
the Adult industry video feeds are a one to many so there's one source and possibly thousands of receivers.  I'm not sure about the casino sites most of the one's I've been to (and I haven't been on many) only use avatars for the players not actual streaming video of the participants.  This is an interesting idea reminds me of that scene in star wars when Darth Vader had the holo projections of the other captians on his deck and the captians could see the projections of each other when the one on the end gets whacked by an astroid and fuzzes out.  I think you'll have to wait for full fiber interconnect for bandwidth, and either have multiple displays of really hugh displays to have sufficient display room for the images.  Ahh, the wonders of reality catching up to fantasy.
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TronGodAuthor Commented:
And the first industry to adopt that will of course be the multi-billion dollar American porn industry.  Ahhhh Capitalism!  This search has almost wore me out!
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