Inaudible participants on conference calls is a frustrating, time-wasting problem that is all too common in the corporate world. The substantial growth of the number of remote workers has sparked anincrease in conference calls involving multiple workers in disparate locations. The confusion caused by not being able to hear a participant or convey your message easily is one of the great meeting disruptors. There’s a demand for a vastly improved audio experience to allow all employees to communicate and collaborate effectively, that delivers:-
The ability for workforces to collaborate effectively regardless of their location
Remote meeting participants feeling like they’re right there with their team
Every attendee able to contribute equally and be heard clearly
Improved collaboration and meeting room performance
The Nureva HDL300 system has the power to simultaneously process every audio source in a room and deliver a more natural sense of communication. Optimised for small to mid-sized meeting and collaboration spaces, at the core of the HDL300 is Nureva’s Microphone Mist technology which fills a room with 8,192 virtual microphones.
Calibration for the HDL300 system is automatic – change the room layout or seating arrangements and it adjusts accordingly. And installation couldn’t be easier. Hang the HDL300 on the wall with two screws in less than 30 minutes. Then simply use with your preferred conferencing platform, with no need for any driver installation.
The result is a system that simultaneously processes sound from all virtual microphones to provide both every participants, whether in the room or remotely based, with the highest quality listening experience.
People have been collaborating for centuries. So what’s changed to make it THE hot technology topic of the last few years?
The enabling collaborative services that are now available mean that collaboration has been redefined. What are these services and what experiences do people now have and need when working together irrespective of physical location or time zone?
The key requirement for collaboration is communication. By providing platforms for team members to put forward their opinions, it allows others to review, comment and discuss.
Factors in the workplace have driven the speed of development in this area. The culture of hot desking, remote working and job sharing has made demands on the technology. At its best, the tools we have available to us now, can capture global opportunities, while eliminating the barriers of time, location, culture, language and organisational hierarchy.
Today the trend is away from disparate tools and towards technology solutions that can offer comprehensive support for working together, in one system. Messages, meetings, calls, all easily created. The simple sharing of audio and data. All accessed on our desktops or on our devices. And from our office or from a café or hotel. Simplicity of use is key, we all want intuitive interfaces, and the confidence that technology will just work, first time.
Systems such as Cisco Spark offer this on-demand collaboration. They are designed to never be more than one click from initiating and receiving voice and video calls, joining meetings, scheduling meetings, and sharing content – all with the historical context of being part of a team or one to one interactions.
How do we see the benefits of this system impacting the workplace?
Cloud security – with end to end encryption Spark provides control and management of the encryption keys, with no intermediaries having access to decryption keys.
Investment protection – Spark can connect to existing Cisco call control, such as Unified Communications Manager or Cisco powered HCS services ensuring your investment in protected.
Simplicity – Delivered entirely from the Cisco cloud, each element makes the user and administrator experience simple and intuitive. Integration into your existing scheduling, calendar and mail application is offered on a simple subscription basis, so you can add services on demand.
Adaptability – “Spark for Developers” offers open APIs to integrate Cisco Spark with your business critical apps and take the hassle out of teamwork and extend the Spark experience.
It all adds up to a system that removes bottle necks, offers the ability to improve time management and present a live project status at any time. It’s an example of the type of tools we predict we’ll be seeing more of, a total solution that creates an environment where collaboration happens almost unconsciously.
How does your organisation collaborate? Are you embracing the available tools? Or do you struggle with keeping teams updated? Tweet or post on LinkedIn your collaboration challenges.
When you have a room full of people each eager to voice their views, what is the most important aspect of the AV technology? The quality of the projected image? The discreet housing of the screen? The simple touch button control? We’d argue that it’s the ability for everyone in the room to be heard clearly and comfortably, without tiring their voice, so that each contribution is fully received and understood by all participants.
Today’s microphones have to cope with all sorts of environments that are not ideal for great acoustics. Buildings with walls of glass, partitioning with gaps, listed buildings with thin windows that let in background noise and of course open plan layouts. All of these issues can negatively affect the sound quality achievable within a meeting space, training or learning space. Even the location of the microphone can be a challenge, if it takes up valuable table space or hangs intrusively from the ceiling.
However, development in audio technologies can help to overcome some of the acoustic challenges a space presents. Configurable microphone arrays allow a single ceiling suspended microphone to cover a large conference room, with steerable polar patterns that will capture all participants, wherever they are in the room. Intelligent audio processing will manage acoustic echo and increase voice clarity, intelligibility and reduce unwanted and extraneous noise.
Products such as the Shure Microflex Advance offer such tools in versatile and aesthetically pleasing conferencing solutions. A choice of configurable coverage patterns allows the best solution for different meeting sizes to be easily and automatically chosen. With browser based control and a suite of software for precise set up of functions, it’s a product range designed to capture quality audio in varying AV conferencing environments, in an unobtrusive design that will fit into a modern meeting area.
How do your microphones stack up? Does your audio system deliver the right quality of sound? Or do you struggle with delegates not hearing clearly? Our audio experts can help. Tweet your audio issue to us using #ChallengingAV
Whilst networking functionality has been commonplace on audio visual products for a number of years, it’s rare for an integrator to come across a project where absolutely every element is IP based. But over the last year, it’s a trend that is starting to emerge with visionary clients who are prepared to push the technology boundaries.
The benefits of a fully IP based system are its ultimate flexibility and unlimited capacity making it fully scalable and sitting on an existing LAN network without impacting business critical systems such as VoiP and email. There is no cap to the distance that a signal can be transmitted, allowing media to be sent across large distances, for example all around a university campus. There is no need for room presentation switchers, signal extenders and distribution amplifiers, instead central switching is handled via the organisation’s LAN using IP encoders and decoders to interface the AV source and display devices. Control can still be managed by a familiar AV user friendly touch screen, which simply tells the device decoder which IP stream to look at. The knock on effect of this can be a huge saving in hardware, cabling and installation time.
In a recent installation, there was a requirement for a distributed and synchronized clock system to be deployed to multiple displays throughout a building. By using Wyrestorm IP network products, this allowed WUXGA resolution video to be distributed with practically no loss of quality and more importantly no delay across large distances. SVSI offer similar solutions that can cost effectively connect any type of media from any number of sources to multiple destinations anywhere in the world.
Despite all the benefits, most organisations will view a move away from recognised AV switching solutions as risky. But for those prepared to take that leap, the results are tremendous, both in terms of functionality, usability and in cost savings.
Reflex believe there is a real requirement for this type of signal management but what is your experience? Would your organisation consider a totally IP based solution? Join in the discussion at #futurenetworkedAV
Meeting spaces are valuable resources for any organisation and one of the trends we have recently seen is a drive to manage them more efficiently. This is even more vital if the potential of the rooms or meeting spaces is being maximised by being hired out to external parties.
The latest technology in this area is more interactive, more dynamic, and more capable of integration with other systems in the workplace. Such systems can help save energy, drive up productivity and streamline room servicing needs.
A great example is Reserva Room Signage from Onelan, a solution with several features that lift it above others on the market. Meetings that have been booked directly onto the display outside a room are dynamically linked to central calendar or timetabling systems. It’s been designed for both corporates and education through integration with Microsoft Office 365 and Scientia.
Reserva can display meeting data from a range of rooms for a number of days in advance. It also optimises the use of rooms by asking for confirmation that the space is still required. If not confirmed, the resource is released, ready for use by others, so minimising rooms or meeting spaces that stand empty because a meeting has been cancelled i.e preventing phantom bookings.
Another different feature of Reserva is its ability to integrate with Onelan digital signage CMS systems. By displaying a range of customised content on the meeting room signage, it maximises the return on investment in room signage by allowing rooms signs to be used for employee communications, brand reinforcement and advertisements.
We believe room booking systems are a crucial element to consider in workspace solutions. Do you agree? Do you consider your meeting spaces a valuable resource that need close management? Let us know your views.#managemymeeting
In the modern workspace, collaboration revolves around people, not processes. The secret? To create a culture of collaboration that mirrors the way people naturally behave.
Our role as an integrator is to seek out solutions that support the changing needs of users. With a focus on workplaces of the future, we highlighted a need for technology that supports new working habits. As people embrace multiple, smaller meeting areas and agile spaces, the way users collaborate must be quick and easy. Team members need to see and hear each other, and share information effortlessly, pairing their devices wirelessly in an instant.
As an Integrator we are on the hunt for new technologies to support the workplace of the future and integrates with existing networks and platforms like VOIP, Microsoft Lync and Skype for Business. Our research has revealed that new technology from Polycom meets these requirements and needs.
The RealPresence Trio transforms the humble conference phone into the world’s first smart hub for group collaboration. We were impressed by the way it brings easy-to-use, no-compromise visual collaboration to spaces that were previously cost prohibitive.
The RealPresence Debut allows you to move up from consumer-grade video, with powerful collaboration for smaller rooms. It gives clients an enterprise grade video conferencing solution made simple, elegant, and affordable.
These technologies also work beautifully as part of a more comprehensive solution; include a Cloud solution that complements and extends on premise, hosted and managed video collaboration options, or add in a multi-touch touchscreen to enable users to interact using gesture control.
Both the RealPresence Trio and Debut are ideal for huddle rooms and smaller spaces, collaborative groups and even home workers. And they are cost effective enough to justify a unit in each meeting space that seats up to 10 people.
How agile are these solutions? Our Agile Tech Specialist finds out and reveals users can:-
See, hear and share information quickly
Move solutions easily between meeting rooms
Eliminate distracting background noise with their unique NoiseBlock technology
Share wireless content with SmartPairing, pairing contact details from your mobile, which is really handy
Integrate with Microsoft Lync /Skype which opens up more possibilities to collaborate but at present is only available on the RealPresence Trio
Our added value service from Reflex – Agile Tech Specialist, is available to you. We are keen to share expertise and findings to help tailor AV Technology to your specific needs within any existing or new agile workspace environment. Book a meeting with the Agile Tech Specialist or see the products in their live environment by requesting a demonstration at our London Demonstration Suite.
Working closely with world-class manufacturers, the technical team here at Reflex has used their expert knowledge and end-user experience to shape the design and functionality of some unique solutions – all driven by the need to meet requirements of our customers.
Examples of some hybrid and totally bespoke solutions developed with manufacturers on behalf of customers include:-
A dual masted eight person meeting solution for an engineering laboratory. This system includes four displays, concealed keyboards, control, power and personal audio listening system, all integrated into one neat solution. It allows the lecturer to communicate to each individual booth and send different tasks to each, communicating via a PA system, sent to the user’s touch screen display or mobile device. Tasks set by the lecturer and feedback from students can be streamed anywhere in the campus and in theory anywhere in the world.
A bespoke five seater steel lectern incorporating a transmitter, receiver, blue-ray player and confidence monitor and our own designed floor cable raceway supplying power and data over a suspended floor to the lectern. The raceway is an interlocking cable concealer and protector, it is limitless to the size or the amount of cables run through it, and retains the ability to access the cables when secured to the floor.
Upholstered FIT (Furniture Integrated with Technology). The new Forum FIT combines a modern seating booth with customised technology such as display screen(s), wireless connectivity and booking system, to create a handmade fully integrated AV suite.
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Laser projection technology is finally starting to make its mark, as prices reduce and the range of available projectors increases from multiple manufacturers. Is it now true to say it has entered the commercial space as a viable alternative to lamp based projector technology?
The higher education market was an early adopter of the technology, being attracted by its low cost of ownership and minimal maintenance. For example, one of the biggest business schools in the UK chose to upgrade projectors across their seven major 70-seat lecture theatres. Concerns over the need for continuous lamp changes and filter cleaning on ceiling mounted projectors and the favourable ROI drove the decision towards laser technology.
We have also seen examples of the technology making inroads in the corporate environment too. As an example, a London corporate client had several high usage conference rooms, with little scope for down time. Choosing laser projection meant the business could benefit from the potential 20,000 hours of projector use. With no need to replace a lamp or clean a filter, the almost instant startup of the projectors and the ability to project vibrant, bright images onto existing large 2.5m screens, met their needs perfectly.
Another factor high in the decision making process was environmental benefits such as, shut down with no cooling cycle requirements, lower energy consumption and no mercury content, which is common in most lamp based projectors.
Reflex can help you decide if laser is right for your application. Check our weblink on the key considerations of projection here. Or why not ask us to conduct a projector Shoot Out. You’ll be able to see the latest projector technology side by side.
With ISE (Integrated Systems Europe) event over for 2015, we asked Reflex’s technical experts for the products that remain in their minds after the glitz and excitement of the show has faded.
Whilst 2014 was all about 4k, this year it seems to have become more consolidated with practical solutions to switching, distributing and recording 4K content. Displays – big, big displays – were everywhere, with laser projection now competing with lamp based units on image quality.
As for Best in Show products, our team felt the selection below represent really practical solutions that can be incorporated into outstanding AV solutions for our customers.
Works BlueLine Digital – a simple device that takes an analogue stereo input and turns it into a digital signal that can be transported across the network.
Denon DN-500BD – a fantastic compact Blu-ray player, with high picture and sound quality, that is ideal for small installations
Epiphan Pearl – a compact, high quality recorder for multiple audio and video sources, with local, external and streaming outputs. This useful product sits midway between a simple capture system such as Crestron Capture HD and the more advanced systems such as the Newtek Tri-Caster.
Shure QLX-D – a highly practical range of encrypted digital wireless microphones. They operate across the UK spectrum, have rechargeable batteries and come with a bank of useful install, commissioning and management tools.
Nexo Geo M6– a compact, articulated line array system. These speakers are quite small but have a wide frequency response. This results in a punchy sound, especially for music. Ideal for medium to large auditoriums that need good music reproduction, or in an integrated system where good voice intelligibility is also important.
AMX NMX-ENC – This is a compact, low cost H.264 streaming and recording encoder that can switch between two inputs. Although modestly priced, it is built to professional AV standards and fills a useful niche. Great for simple recording and streaming applications such as basic presentation capture or interview recording.
There’s so much to see at ISE, it’s easy to get carried away with products and technologies that make your jaw drop – but what integrators want are practical solutions that meet customers’ needs at an acceptable budget. We are delighted that ISE delivers that too.
If you visited ISE leave a comment and let us know what your Best in Show products were.
Visit us at Reflex AV Tech Day on 23rd October and experience for yourself the power of technology. The audio visual products and technologies that you could use in your working environment, the new technologies everyone seems to be talking about and the concepts that are destined to be the next big thing.
We will have 50 manufacturers exhibiting their latest technologies, and to whet your appetite, here is a glimpse of some of the products and technologies on show:-
Furniture Integrated with Technology (FIT), is an initiative that takes cutting edge AV technology and cleverly integrates it into today’s modern office furniture. The result fuses beauty, practicality and functionality and embraces the trend for collaborative working styles.
The last couple of years have seen wireless presentation systems that aid collaboration start to appear on the market. At our AV Tech Day you will see demonstrated the latest versions from Barco, Christie, Crestron, DisplayNote, AMX and WePresent. Come along, watch the demonstrations – and quiz the manufacturers about their new and unseen conceptual solutions.
If you’re planning on deploying a collaborative application like Microsoft Lync for instant messaging, voice over IP or video conferencing, you can find out more about this market leading technology at our Tech Day. As well as seeing a demonstration of the system, don’t miss our informative seminar, which will highlight the things that often get missed when Lync is specified.
Everyone has heard of the Cloud. Some people even understand what it is! But it’s one of those buzzwords that has been quickly adopted by all sorts of systems and its meaning has become diluted. Genus Cloud is a new, true Cloud based system, offering all of the true Cloud benefits. See how it compares to other systems and how it could help you.
Join the debates, be involved in moulding the design decisions for future AV products, quiz the manufacturers and hear what the experts in the industry say.