In part one of this series we reviewed the 4 core design and technology components that are important for creating an effective AV room including video, audio, control and lighting. Although those are very important aspects of an effective environment, the technology “behind the scenes” is equally as important for creating a quality collaboration experience.

Understanding these background components is essential to recognizing what makes an AV room effective as a whole.

Wireless Mic Receiver: Used to pick up the signal broadcast by the mic transmitter and change it back into an audio signal. The output of the receiver is electrically identical to a standard microphone.

Audio DSP Processor/Mixer: A Digital Signal Processor, or DSP, is a special-purpose digital circuit that acts on digitized signals, such as audio. DSP circuits can replace traditional analog functions, such as filtering and more complex functions that are difficult to accomplish in the analog domain.

Amplifier: An electronic device for increasing the amplitude of electrical signals, used mainly in sound reproduction.

Video Matrix Switcher: A device for switching between multiple video sources including cameras, cable television, Blu-Ray, DVRs and more.

Control System Processor: A device that processes every signal sent out on an audio visual network and makes the signal available to all elements of an AV solution.

Surge Suppressor: An electrical device inserted in a power line to protect equipment from sudden fluctuations, or surges, in current which can damage equipment.

Codec: A device or program that compresses data to enable faster transmission and decompresses received data.

Seamless Video Switcher: A device used to select between several different video sources and, in some cases, composite video sources together to create special effects.

UPS Battery Backup: An electrical device that provides emergency power when the main power source fails. A UPS differs from an auxiliary or emergency power system or standby generator in that it will provide near-instantaneous protection from power interruptions, by supplying energy stored in batteries or a flywheel.

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.

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

Collaboration technologies are making their way into many organizations as executives realize the benefits collaboration can bring to their organization. In many cases, there is a need to connect groups of people in a collaborative room environment; whether it’s to encourage collaboration on documents or other deliverables, video conference with remote teams, or hold a training session for new hires or policy updates.

They myriad of choices between the technology, room layouts, furniture and more can become overwhelming; especially for organizations designing a collaboration environment for the first time. Here are a few tips to help navigate through the process.

When determine what types of technology the room needs, an organization must first decide what the room will be used for. The majority of functions fall into three categories:

Connecting People
Video conferencing is often used to connect remote teams and the technology typically depends on the size of the room and number of participants. For smaller groups, a single camera with manual pan/tilt/zoom functionality can be adjusted to capture the entire room. Larger groups, however, may need the ability to automatically switch between a panned-out room view and a zoomed-in view of the active speaker. In this case, dual cameras are necessary. In some cases, panoramic room or lifelike views of room participants are needed.  Multiple cameras that capture images from left, right, and center segments are used to create the immersive telepresence feel.

Presenting Content
The ability to present content is standard in almost any collaboration room. When utilizing content sharing during a video conference; it may be necessary to have dual monitors as one is dedicated to viewing remote participants while the other is dedicated to viewing content. In rooms where video conferencing is not needed, a PowerPoint or training video can be displayed with a projector and screen. In some cases, teams may need to create, modify and annotate documents instead of simply displaying them. Interactive whiteboards allow teams to brainstorm ideas or markup documents then send the changes directly to a computer.

Interactive Collaboration
Some environments require the ability to display and collaborate on complex data. This includes high-resolution images, such as blueprints or product designs, where granular detail is necessary. This also includes the ability to display and control data from multiples sources simultaneous. For example, when designing a new product the prototype from one participant’s laptop can be displayed at the same time target markets and product messaging is displayed from another participant’s tablet. Video feeds can also be integrated so remote participants can view, display and control content from their location.

Once an organization determines the key functionalities of the room; they can begin reaching out to audio visual integrators to help select the technology that best fits the room’s requirements. The integrator can then begin designing the collaboration environment that will meet the organization’s collaboration needs.

As another year comes to an end it’s time to reflect on the previous year and create new goals for the coming year. Video conferencing has become ever present, cloud services are continuing to grow and collaboration technology is becoming even cooler.  Here is a look at some of the top blog posts from 2012. We hope you enjoyed reading them as much as we enjoyed writing them!

Have a wonderful and safe New Year and we’ll see you in 2013!

Top Blog Posts of 2012:

IT Conundrum: Do It Yourself or Embrace the Cloud?
The prevalence of cloud services has sparked a debate among IT professionals about whether to handle all IT components in-house or to outsource components to cloud service providers.

Video Conferencing Adoption – The Time Has Come!
An integrated approach to video conferencing adoption must be implemented because the impact of new technology reaches beyond the equipment and affects the people and the process within an organization.

The Exponential Power of Video Conferencing
Understanding the Collaboration Curve, and how casual interactions among colleagues and business partners spark creativity, can help organizations drive innovation within their organization.

Video Conferencing and Fighting for Freedom
A patriotic (and personal) look at how communication has changed and video conferencing has helped military members stationed overseas stay in touch with friends and family.

Stop Being Such a Video-phobe!
Getting over the hurdle of being afraid or making excuses not to be on video can be challenging; but in the end the advantages of using it far outweigh any negative feelings you may have.

Using Collaboration to Increase Customer Lifetime Value
The more companies converse with customers and the stronger the relationship is; the more apt customers are to provide honest feedback which can help drive innovation.

Telemedicine Reimbursement – The Time is Now!
Health care organizations throughout the world continue to implement telemedicine; however a major challenge has been the lack of parity from insurance organizations.

The Promise of Unified Communications and the Cloud
A look at some of the roadblocks that prevent true ubiquity of UC solutions throughout enterprise organizations and how cloud service can help overcome some of these challenges.

The New Science of Building Great Teams
An interesting take on building effective teams and achieving a high level of cohesion among team members. How we communicate is actually more important than what we communication.

The Essential Role of Human Resources
HR departments can utilize video conferencing solutions in a variety of different ways to increase communication and expedite many of the functions within the department.