ServiceheiCONF / heiCONF-Audimax

The University's web conferencing system for video and audio conferences

heiCONF is a web conferencing system for audio and video conferences based on BigBlueButton. The service is hosted and operated by the University Computing Centre, which means that all data is stored in the university's server rooms.

The service offers the following essential features:

  • Audio and video conferencing
  • Chat
  • Screen sharing
  • Sharing presentations as well as audio and video material
  • Multi-user whiteboards
  • Conference polls
  • Individual configuration of conference rooms

Please note: Recording is currently not available for data protection reasons!

heiCONF

heiCONF is suitable as a collaboration/meeting tool for digital cooperation or for smaller events/teaching formats.

  • For interactive event formats: Meetings, seminars, discussion groups, etc.
  • Up to 50 participants per conference
  • Multiple video feeds can be transmitted simultaneously
  • Communication via video, audio, telephone dial-in and chat

heiCONF-Audimax

heiCONF-Audimax is a special version of heiCONF that is specifically designed for larger, more frontal event formats.

  • For presenter-oriented event formats: Lectures, talks, presentations, etc.
  • Up to 300 participants per conference
  • Only the moderator's video is transmitted
  • Communication via audio and chat
  • Automatic muting of participants upon entry to the meeting

Target group

heiCONF and heiCONF-Audimax are open to:

  • University employees
  • Doctoral candidates
  • Instructors

 

Use

Employees, doctoral candidates, instructors

  • Secure exchange on the University's servers: heiCONF is made available through the University's cloud infrastructure heiCLOUD. Therefore, all data is processed exclusively in the server rooms of the University.
  • Collaboration & digital teaching: heiCONF and heiCONF-Audimax can be used for teaching as well as for collaboration. Even confidential meetings between colleagues and digital office hour meetings with students as well as exams can also be conducted securely and in compliance with data protection regulations.
  • You can easily hold conferences with students or external parties. They can simply be invited to the meeting via a link; with this link, the participants do not require an account to access the meeting.
  • Telephone dial-in: If someone does not have internet access or has a weak connection, they can also dial in to a conference by telephone. To do this, the participant needs the telephone number for heiCONF and a PIN. Both can be shared by the meeting host, or they can be retrieved at the start of the conference if telephone dial-in is activated for the room.
  • Saving participant lists
  • Various options for restricting participant permissions
  • Breakout Rooms (a conference room can be divided into several smaller conference rooms)
  • Saving Shared Notes (Formats: Etherpad, HTML, Word, PDF)

Access and requirements

heiCONF and heiCONF-Audimax are open to all employees, instructors and doctoral candidates of Heidelberg University. heiCONF and its special version heiCONF-Audimax are web applications. The service can be used on different end devices (e.g. PC, laptop, smartphone, tablet) via a browser and the service websites. No special software installation is required to use it. You can log in via Uni ID and immediately create and configure your own meeting rooms.

  • External users can enter these meeting rooms, they only need to be given a link to the room.
  • Participants of a conference generally do not need an account in heiCONF. This is only required for the moderator/room owner.

Technical information

heiCONF is a web conferencing system for audio and video conferences based on BigBlueButton. The combination of this open-source software, the infrastructure (heiCLOUD) and the configuration (e.g. encryption of data transmission from all users to the server) enables audio and video conferences to be conducted securely. This service is hosted and operated by the URZ in our own IaaS environment/ heiCLOUD and all data transmission is encrypted both to and from the servers. This means that all University employees are not solely dependent upon external video conferencing platforms. The participants also do not need to download any software.

  • The heiCAST service is available for streaming video recordings for teaching purposes. Instructors can use the new Moodle platform to manage their own teaching videos.

Frequently Asked Questions

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On which browser does heiCONF function best?

Recommended for use with the latest version of heiCONF

  • Mozilla Firefox: fully compatible with heiCONF on  Windows, MacOS, Linux
     
  • Google Chrome / Chromium: fully compatible with heiCONF on Windows, MacOS, Linux
     
  • Microsoft Edge (new, from Version 80, Chromium-based: fully compatible with heiCONF on Windows

Only limited suitability for the use with heiCONF:

  • Safari: only limited compatibility with heiCONF (Screen sharing does not work, as Apple has not implemented the requisite WebRTC standards)
     
  • Microsoft Edge (old, up to Version 44) / Internet Explorer: only limited compatibility with heiCONF
Can heiCONF be used on mobile devices?

Tests with various browsers are currently be conducted for mobile devices. In general, heiCONF can be used on newer iPhones und Android devices as long as the device's CPU performance is sufficient.

How do I use the video conferencing system heiCONF with Moodle?

As an instructor, you can create a room in the heiCONF web interface and share the link to the room with the course participants or post it in a prominent location in your Moodle course. It is also possible to generate an access to further protect the room. The How-to for heiCONF describes how to do this in detail. A deeper integration of heiCONF and Moodle is under development.

Can conferences be recorded?

No, due to data protection concerns, recording conferences is not possible at this time.

Who can use heiCONF?

Those with authorized access (i.e. login, create and moderate rooms, etc.) via Uni ID are currently: employees, instructors and doctoral candidates of Heidelberg University.
External members can join meeting rooms. They simply need to be sent, a link to the room.
In general, conference participants do not need an account for heiCONF. Accounts are only needed for moderators who will send invitation links to their meeting rooms.

How do I access heiCONF?

heiCONF is a web application. The service is accessible on multiple devices (e.g. PCs, laptops, smartphones, tablets) via a browser. No special installation required.

Can lecturers, who do not have their own Uni ID. also create and/or moderate rooms?

Yes, external participants without an (authorized) Uni ID can also be made moderators of a conference, which they can then start on their own. You can find further information about this in the How-to.

We operate our own service, which allows for integration with heiCONF / BigBlueButton - is such an integration possible?

No, since such an integration would essentially allow full admin access via API. As soon as we find a solution for this, such integrations will be possible.

Are there limitations regarding the maximal number of participants?

Yes, with heiCONF a maximum of 50 participants per conference is allowed.

With heiCONF-Audimax, a variant of heiCONF specially designed for lectures and talks, 300 participants can attend a conference.

Do I need certain firewall settings to access heiCONF and heiCONF-Audimax?

For  direct access, the following connections to the heiCONF servers should be enabled:

  • UDP: Ports 16384-32768
     
  • TCP: Port 443

For indirect access via TURN, the following connections should be enabled:

  • UDP: Port 3478

  • TCP: Port 443

Since heiCONF is operated on instances in heiCLOUD, all IP addresses are in the heiCLOUD address range 129.206.4.0/22

What is the maximum size of presentations that can be uploaded?

The size limit for uploaded presentations is currently 30 MB per file.

Which file types can be uploaded?

At the moment, the following file types are supported:

  • .pdf

  • .doc

  • .docx

  • .xls

  • .xlsx

  • .ppt

  • .pptx

  • .txt

  • .rtf

  • .odt

  • .ods

  • .odp

  • .odg

  • .odc

  • .odi

  • .jpg

  • .png

What is the maximum number of pages a presentation can have?

Currently, the page limit for presentation is 200 pages.

Which format do you recommend for presentations?
You will receive the best results with the PDF format. Should you experience problems, please make sure that the PDF has been saved in the PDF/A-1b standard. These PDF can be converted without any problems.
Is it possible to embed videos from heiCAST or heiBOX?

Yes. You can find more information about how to do this in the How-to “heiCONF/ heiCONF-Audimax: Introduction” under the section “Playing a heiCAST video in heiCONF”.