Now that unified communications have become commonplace and popular, many meeting participants prefer to participate in meetings from their desk. In some instances, that might work well, but in-room collaboration offers benefits that completely remote meetings do not. In-room allows participants to experience non-verbal communication and other visual cues that make collaboration more effective. Participants can get up and move around and still participate in the conversation, plus larger displays make it easier to view remote participants and data sources.

Organizations also often need to share and collaborate on complex data. This includes high resolution images where granular detail is necessary, such as blueprints or products designs, as well as the ability to display and control data from multiple sources simultaneously. In these cases, desktop collaboration just doesn’t quite cut it. Much of the detail and interactivity common among complex data can get lost over the desktop, plus users typically have to choose between sharing video or sharing content.

The solution is a collaboration room designed to support telepresence capabilities and complex data equally. A few application and teams that can benefits from these types of rooms include:

Research Teams: Participants need to view multiple images and different types of research data while on a video call.
Crisis Management: War Rooms that need multiple, high resolution video feeds to stay on top of the situation as well as collaborate with remote colleagues and teams.
Product Management & Development: Ability to view large, high-resolution design images along with 360-design previews

Cyviz is a manufacturer of a range of Collaboration Telepresence (CTP) products that support complex data and aims to bring the three essentials of modern meetings into alignment: video conferencing, data, and visualization. What’s also unique and valuable about Cyviz’s products is they’re all part of a cohesive portfolio designed to work together, depending on the end user’s needs. The 7 components are:

  1. Displaywall: 5 models available
  2. User Interface: Cyviz Display Controller central room control
  3. CTP Engine: for data management; 3 models available
  4. Video Codec: for standard C1 set-up
  5. Integration Kit: all the accessories needed to put the system together
  6. Collaboration Platform: enabling multi-room connection capabilities
  7. Furniture Module: ergonomically designed unit for each product

The product range is broad enough for most CTP situations, and their products are very adaptable and user-friendly. If you’re in need of a high-quality data visual data and conference solution get in touch and we will walk you through the options to ensure you’ll collaborate efficiently and not miss a byte of crucial information.

The Milton Hershey School recently announced that it will extend its Hershey Learn to Grow Ghana Distance Learning program, which launched last fall. The program connects students in Hershey, Pennsylvania with students in Assin Fosu, a rural town in central Ghana and allows students to explore each other’s culture; such as important events or special occasions that are celebrated.

David Bruce, a sixth grade social studies teacher at Milton Hershey School, said “we believe this new approach will be more meaningful and provide a deeper understanding for the students of what it’s like to live in each country.”

Additionally, in a touching story, Ed Schermerhorn of Cisco recounts his experience of the first telepresence call between the two countries. After dealing with a power outage that was resolved by a standby generator, he describes how watching the students in Ghana and Hershey interact made it worth it. “All it took was a vision and a team of dedicated people to open doors that these students had never imagined were possible,” Schermerhorn stated.

It’s truly amazing how video conferencing technology can break through previous geographical barriers and connect people around the world. Distance learning programs that facilitate the interactions between students from different countries allow students to gain a better understanding of different cultures and provide them with experiences they otherwise wouldn’t have access to.

Students are able to discuss topics and listen to points of view from a different perspective which helps promote tolerance and acceptance of different cultures. Some of the best ideas come from bringing together people from different backgrounds. That’s an important lesson for students to learn and businesses to remember.

*Photo courtesy of Dan Gleiter. View the entire photo gallery here.

In collaboration environments there is often the need to display different types of content. Selecting the correct display plays an integral role in the effectiveness of a collaboration environment as the wrong type of display can provide a poor user experience. For example, if the display is too small for the room, participants will have a difficult time seeing the content.

The two main types of displays are flat panel displays and projection systems and there are several factors to consider when selecting a display. This includes the size of the room, the application and type of content being displayed, room aesthetics (amount and type of lighting), the budget and overall user expectations.

The size of the room has a direct correlation to the size of the display; larger spaces will need a larger display while smaller spaces can used a smaller display. Flat panel display sizes typically range anywhere from 42” to 90” diagonal but can go to 103” while projector screen sizes typically range from 119″-133″ diagonal and up.

Projection Systems:
Projectors are great for sharing text, spreadsheets or presentations as projectors can provide a larger image at a lower price point. Projection screens can also be hidden in the ceiling when they are not in use. However, projectors require low-lit or dim spaces as room light from bulbs and windows can wash out the image on the screen. Projection systems are either rear project or front projection systems.

In rear projection implementation, a projector is placed in a projection room and the image is bounced off a series of mirrors on the projection screen. This allows the projector to remain hidden, eliminating any projector noise and is also less sensitive to ambient lighting. However, collaboration rooms must be large enough to accommodate a projection room. In front projection implementation, the projector is hung from the ceiling or hidden in a drop down platform and the image is projected directly onto the front of the screen. While this setup eliminates the need for a control room, it is more susceptible to ambient light and does not hide projector noise.

Flat Panel Displays:
Flat panel displays are typically used for video conferencing as well as presentations. Flat screens offer a clear, vivid picture which is ideal for high resolution images. They are not as susceptible to ambient light; however, for an optimal experience organizations may still want to cover windows if there is a substantial amount of direct natural light coming into the room to prevent a glare. There are three types of flat panel displays including plasma, liquid crystal display (LCD) and light emitting diode (LED).

Plasma displays use gas to excite light photons which produce color on the screen. They provide the highest and most accurate representation of color and a consistent brightness to the image which can be important when displaying images or other content. However, plasmas are typically heavier, not as bright and consume more energy than other types of displays.

LCD displays use pixels that contain three colors (red, green and blue) plus a backlight. The liquid crystals, when energized, block certain colors from showing and produce the desired color. LCD displays are lighter and consumer less energy than plasmas and are typically at a lower price point.

LED displays are similar to LCD displays and use a cluster of red, green and blue diodes that are driven together for form a full color pixel. LED displays are the lightest and most energy efficient of flat panel displays. They are also brighter and provide a more accurate color than LCD; however, they are at the highest price point.

When faced with a display decision, it is important to understand how and where the equipment will be used along with the budget requirements. While a 103” plasma display might provide a lifelike experience; it is not the most affordable solution. An organization must consider the application and types of content being displayed to determine the right type of display technology.

AV Buyers Guide CTA

Meet the New IVCi!

May 8th, 2013 | Posted by Adam Kaiser in Industry News | IVCi - (0 Comments)

Meet the New IVCi

There is fundamental shift going on in the world of visual communications and collaboration. With the advent of mobile devices and the cloud, a day doesn’t go by where a manufacturer doesn’t announce a new video or collaboration service or offering. At the same time, major manufacturers are pushing their technology (mostly at the desktop) as the be all end all for collaboration. However, we believe collaboration is much bigger than that and can happen anywhere.

BrandLaunchIVCi has always focused on trying to deliver the best solutions to address the business needs of our customers. We begin every engagement with a thorough assessment and understanding of our customer’s goals. This is something we have done for quite some time and the result is a solution that can deliver the desired outcomes.

With that we are incredibly excited to introduce you to our new brand. With over 18 years of experience, we have witnessed the power of collaboration and its ability to help our customers move their business forward.  Our new brand is focused 100% on collaboration. We believe when organizations embrace collaboration across their workforce, something truly remarkable occurs. Individuals come together with common goals and their collective power can accomplish far greater things than each individual on their own.

This new brand is just the beginning. Our mission is to enable our customers to improve their business and their bottom line by unleashing the collective power of their people through collaboration. As a collaboration company, IVCi will bring many new and exciting products and services to the market. As a collaboration company, we will help organizations work together in new and exciting ways. As a collaboration company, we will change the game.

April’s This Month in Telemedicine by the American Telemedicine Association, hosted as always by Jonathan Linkous, Chief Executive Officer, and Gary Capistrant, Senior Director of Public Policy discussed state and federal updates, collaborations, and quality assurance.

State Licensure Remains a Hot Topic
Gary Capistrant went over the basic situation of licensure, including a proposal that would let Medicare recipients to (virtually) cross state lines for care but would impose a requirement that the patient and doctor have a previous relationship, i.e. an initial consultation in person has to occur. While some states do allow that a legitimate patient-doctor relationship can be established via video, this proposal does not recognize that and could be a “step backward” for telemedicine, plus require states to enforce a prior relationship where they hadn’t done so before.

“In terms of our principles on licensure, we want to be regulated the same as in-person services, not held to a higher standard or a lower standard,” said Capistrant. The ATA has set up a petition. Also, some states are deciding that telemedicine needs regulating but are doing so by treating it as a separate health service, even though telemedicine was already active under the current medical regulations.

State Activity
Three states have enacted full parity with private insurance: Mississippi, plus Medicaid and state employee benefits; Montana, including parity with private; and New Mexico. Connecticut and Missouri passed parity bills in Senate, which are now moving to their respective Houses. New York recently introduced a parity bill, and Ohio will soon follow suit.

ATA is finalizing state best practices guidelines for home telemedicine and remote monitoring, and in the works: school-based care, telemental health, and more.

Federal Action
A workgroup was recently announced, a joint effort between the FDA, FCC, and Office of National Coordinator. A report is due in January 2014 examining the overlap of some issues that are overseen by the various agencies, including consumer health devices, electronic health records, and clinical decision support.

“It’s a little bit of a mess right now in terms of the regulation and one of the reasons they have this is group is because there’s a little bit of uncertainty amongst the different agencies over who’s taking the lead on what,” explains Linkous.

Quality Assurance
A big area of activity for ATA is quality assurance, which, although it’s flown under the radar somewhat, is getting plenty of attention now. ATA’s next board meeting will see the approval of the organization’s practice guidelines for online video-based telemental health. “A very important role for ATA is to weigh in and try to get some meaning and some semblance of order to what’s happening,” says Linkous.

ATA’s board has also approved the move towards ATA becoming an accrediting body with the end goal of becoming a reliable information source for consumers. They’re also involved with some trade associations to improve consumer awareness. Linkous: “It’s important that consumers know that if you’re not getting access to telemedicine, you could and you should and you need to ask your doctor about it.”

Next year, look for a cohesive effort by patient and consumer groups to expand telemedicine, including physician communications, consultations, lab results, etc., which should all be accessible online by patients.

The Q&A: A Selection of Questions Asked & Answered

Q: Define telemedicine, telemedicine, etc.

A: I think we should come up with a contest to see who can come up with the most names that relate to telmedicine. E-consults, e-health, telemedicine, telecare, e-care, telepractice, remote care. About 6 or 7 years ago we had a board meeting in Chicago and we talked about changing the name of the ATA. We talked about what we should change it to…we spent about 3 hours of the board meeting [discussing this] so at the end, we just threw our hands up in the air and left it as it is.

We define telemedicine very broadly as providing healthcare to patients or consumers using telecommunications.

Q: How can companies assist ATA in the process of getting legislation passed?

A: ATA has a Circle Membership and Industry Council and we have corporate members representing anything from large, multi-national, multi-billion dollar companies to a small ma and pa [businesses], but all of them have a stake in this. And if there’s a large corporation that has a Washington office with a staff of people who are full-time policy people, yes, please let them get in touch with us. We’d love to talk with them about what they do. Or if you’re an organization that has a consultant online who does work in Washington, or if you’re a small company in another state and you have an area representative…it’s important that you get very active…There’s always things to do at the state level.

Annual Meeting
ATA’s annual meeting will be held next week in Austin, Texas, from May 5 to 7. For a free exhibit hall pass, click here to register and enter  the code VIPcomp13.