The DDMC welcomed Ryan Budvitis & Brooks Platts from Shure’s conferencing and meeting product line up today. The STEM ECOSYSTEM audio products fill that gap just below professional audio products like the Microflex and the home office product lines at Shure. When you have a meeting space that can host 5-15 people and you would like to keep the AV simple and user friendly. The Shure STEM audio products is the right fit. The Audio Fencing feature reduces the busy streets and noisy offices that often encroach into most of our web conferences.
Additional features that include room design, one button room adapt, room check, and remote management are more features that helps the STEM ECOSYSTEM stand out in a very crowded USB peripheral market.
Mark Bednarcik & Don Mitchell with Extron Electronics dropped into the DDMC and gave us a run down on some of the powerful tools that Extron has available for Collaboration spaces, Conference Rooms, and Lecture Halls. Also highlighting control and their new Virtual Control platform that will allow control of up to 50 rooms on one box.
Mark and Don pointed out the expansive online and in-person training that Extron offers. Worth checking out! Especially if your are in need of CTS or BICSI continuing education credits.
If you would like to review the meeting please follow this link to the DDMC Panopto to this video!
The DDMC met with our good friends at Panasonic this afternoon. All of us know they provide high quality classroom projectors. We just now discovered is they have a “pimp my projector” option with custom vinyl wraps! Custom Graphic/Logo/Colors. A 5-10 day Business day turnaround will get you stylin n’ profilin before the fall semester!
Also new to the Panasonic line of education products is their entry into wireless microphones with (11) new products that aim to be intuitive to use, lightweight and secure. Designed for lecture halls, auditoriums, the system has the flexibility to deliver excellent quality in spaces small too large.
New and notable is the Panasonic Lecture Capture & Auto – Tracking system. An all-in-one system to automatically track, record and stream video. Delivering a high quality, rich multi-source viewing experience. Co-developed & certified with Seneca and Panaopto for plug and play capabilities that should make for easy integration into existing AV systems. I have requested a (4) camera on site demo! So, stay tuned for further developments.
This April I attended the Northwest Managers of Educational Technology conference held this year in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Since there’s nothing quite like this group in the Southeast, it felt well worth it to me to fly across the country to enjoy a little normalcy and connect in person again with fellow A/V professionals focused on education. Of course, I can’t deny that the location for this year’s event on the shores of beautiful Lake Coeur d’Alene was an added draw. The conference was well attended (I’m guessing ~100 attendees), and exceptionally well run. NMET is a close organization with a history that spans several decades going all the way back to the beginning of the AV industry as we know it in the era of analog media.
Responses to the pandemic and various school’s efforts to work toward a “new normal”
The CARES Act as a catalyst for A/V classroom upgrades: UNLV launched a huge new program during COVID called RebelFlex using CARES funds that is seen as largely successful that would likely not have been possible otherwise. (Duke, along with several other top private universities such as Harvard and Princeton chose not accept CARES act funding.)
COVID as a driver for A/V initiatives and standardization: Many schools saw decision-making for A/V and IT-related projects shift to the provost level and higher as schools developed alternative teaching strategies such “emergency”, “HyFlex,” “hybrid,” “co-mingled,” and remote teaching as pandemic responses. In most cases timelines for implementing major A/V projects sped up significantly as well.
COVID as a driver for A/V standardization: Oregon State University described how COVID helped their campus standardize on an enterprise A/V strategy that centered on Kaltura, Canvas, and Zoom, and quieted demand for competing tools. Interestingly, OSU does not use a dedicated recording tool such as Panopto but instead utilizes Zoom for all recording and pushes this content to Kaltura within Canvas course sites.
Faculty support models for hybrid teaching: UNLV’s RebelFlex program experimented with hiring students who were assigned to in-person classes as tech support. While overall this seemed successful, there were challenges, such as the diminishment of the need for tech support as the semester went on and faculty became familiar with the new technologies involved. Additionally it was observed that faculty members tended to morph the roles of their student help into roles resembling TAs and research assistants over time, including using these helpers as moderators for their Zoom chats.
Building a Networking Group like NMET: Some of the conference attendees were surprised I came all the way from North Carolina to attend the conference. “You mean the Duke?” several asked. I explained there’s nothing in the southeast comparable to NMET, an education-driven organization focused on the intersection of A/V and IT. That’s sad, but not surprising in a way, since a successful organization like NMET isn’t built overnight. NMET began holding conferences in 1979 and is the result of the hard work and passion of several generations of A/V professionals who have comprised NMET.
The A/V Superfriends Podcast (https://www.avsuperfriends.com/): Some of the members of NMET together with other A/V professionals extending beyond that group maintain a very cool podcast for A/V professionals focused on the intersection of A/V and pedagogy in higher ed. They were actually recording new episodes of the podcast live in the exhibit area. Members of this group led several interesting conference sessions focused primarily on the impact of COVID for classroom technology. Recent topics of their podcast include:
Managing PO’s and supply chain issues
Campus support structures
Auto-framing and auto-tracking cameras
Cabling infrastructure and TIA standards
The intersection of A/V and IT in hiring new staff
AV replacement cycles–do we set arbitrary schedules of 5, 7, 10 years or tie AV refresh projects to capital projects?
Bootstrapping light video production switchers into classroom systems
AV over IP: It was argued by some that the NDI (Network Device Interface) protocol represents the wave of the future, and that we should future-proof our classrooms by purchasing NDI-capable cameras
Benefits and drawbacks of Zoom certification: It was discussed this may be OK as long as not mandated or exploited for commercial benefit (cross reference Tandberg)
“Hybrid” (instructor-driven) vs. “HyFlex” (student-centered) classrooms
USB as the “common language of hybrid learning spaces”
Elevating sound quality in the rush to add A/V infrastructure to classrooms
Keeping classroom AV UI’s simple and standard even in classrooms where there is great complexity under the hood
ePTZ (auto-tracking) cameras: Importance of good lighting, fixed positions are better than continuous tracking
Making a virtual lightboard: One presenter showed how he used Procreate and a green screen in front of presenter to make a virtual lightboard
Kaltura: Kaltura was one of three main sponsors of the conference. As mentioned above, Oregon State University, which was the main organizer of the conference, is a Kaltura customer. It was noted that Kaltura, unlike most other vendors, still offers an unlimited storage and bandwidth licensing tier, although it was mentioned it is “expensive.”
Panasonic: Panasonic was another major sponsor of the conference. Their projectors and displays were used in conference venues.
Elmo was showcasing its wide array of document cameras from a $200.00 USB to similarly portable wireless options starting at ~$800.00 to its flagship 4K, 12x optical zoom version designed for fixed classroom installations, the PX-30E (MSRP $3700.00). Interestingly, while WolfVision is the 500lb gorilla in the doc cam space, Elmo actually invented the document camera, and is the older company.
Epiphan was showcasing its well-known Pearl live encoder lineup along with its cool new device, the LiveScrypt. The LiveScrypt connects to Epiphan Cloud to add live ASR-based captions to your live production. These captions can be embedded with your live streams or sent out to monitors in the room for display for in person or hybrid events. There is a charge of $10.00/ hr to use the cloud-based ASR service in addition to the $1,500.00 cost of the device itself.
Alfatron had its wide range of PTZ cameras on display, ranging from a MSRP of $700.00 to $2150.00.
Shure had a booth showcasing equipment byStem, a company they recently acquired. Stem offers complete solutions for outfitting conference and meeting rooms with a range of mics, including tabletop, wall, and ceiling mounted ones, together with a hub and an integrated control system for managing the individual elements.
Legrand AV showcased a wide range of products focused on physical classroom infrastructure, including displays, display mounts, projectors, PTZ cameras, speakers, device controllers, and network switches. Legrand is a large company that owns Vaddio, Chief, Da-Lite, and Middle Atlantic Products.
Cleardigital featured its modular display wall calledVue featuring very smooth touch surfaces and replaceable panels as well as other products such as a PTZ cam, the RL400, a portable doc cam and an all-in-one conference camera.
Newline Interactive was featuring its newest interactive and non-interactive displays ranging from 27” to 98”
AVer gave a conference session demo-ing its new autotracking PTZ camera, the TR333V2. The TR333V2 offers:
30x optical zoom
Sophisticated pre-set configuration, including the ability to move in and out of continuous tracking and fixed position mode based on how an instructor moves in the classroom
Just one month after my last update, we’ve taken occupancy of the new studio space in the basement of the Bryan Center on Duke’s West Campus. Now we just have to move all the equipment and people in and we’ll be ready to go! Watch for an early Summer 2022 Opening.
The TeamConnect Ceiling 2, with its patented automatic dynamic beamforming technology, was already a leader in conference room audio technology. Now, with the addition of TruVoicelift and advanced zone control, TeamConnect Ceiling 2 combines the advantages of a boundary microphone and a microphone array. Therefore, it is the best solution for both (video) conferencing and in-room audio, for example in classrooms, lecture halls and boardrooms. TeamConnect Ceiling 2 now offers our customers unparalleled levels of control with the addition of a priority zone (allowing a single area in the room to be highlighted), 5 advanced exclusion zones (for pinpoint targeting and removal of unwanted noise sources) and more. All of these new features are activatable and configurable via the latest firmware update for the TeamConnect Ceiling 2 and via the latest version of Sennheiser Control Cockpit. Easy to install and, due to a flexible microphone ceiling mount system, easy to integrate. Let us help you understand the difference TeamConnect Ceiling 2 can make for you and your business.
MobileConnect consists of three main components: The MobileConnect Station is the “audio-to-network bridge” that picks up the audio signal in the room and streams it to any preferred streaming network. Using the pre-existing WiFi access points, the signal is provided to up to 100 smartphones per Station, using the MobileConnect App as a receiver. When using multiple Stations, the MobileConnect Manager can be used as the single point of administration for all MobileConnect Stations. If not needed, MobileConnect can also be operated in the so-called Standalone Mode, where single MobileConnect Stations can be run and administered using a local web interface.
The DDMC hosted a new comer just 2 years old to the Zoom/Teams appliance world of approved products called neat.
” Neat designs simple and elegant pioneering video devices for Microsoft and Zoom, helping make the meeting space experience the best it can be.
Continuously pushing boundaries, Neat devices are incredibly easy to install, set up and use and have unique features to support a safer, more enhanced and engaging hybrid working and learning environment going forward.
Advanced smart room sensor technology enables you to monitor air quality and people counting for healthier, lower-cost rooms. At the same time, crystal clear audio and video mean you can always precisely see and hear everyone, no matter where or how they position themselves in the room.
Bringing you the future of video today, Neat bridges the gap between in-room and remote participants like never before by individually auto framing each person in the room and presenting them equally up close on remote participants screens. This capability gives you, your colleagues or students the truest sense yet of being physically all together in the same room.”
One of the stand out features is what they call double-talk.
“All Neat devices have an excellent echo canceller that suppresses echo and not someone’s speech. As for the other echo cancellers out there, even though many do a great job of suppressing echo, they unintentionally squash speech too, which typically happens if people talk over each other – a phenomenon known as ‘double-talk.’
When ‘double-talk’ performance is poor, people may not always hear what you’re saying. Or worse, they probably won’t even realize you’re saying anything at all. It means that you can’t just quickly jump into a conversation without most devices dampening out your voice. Neat devices enable you to share in lively debates without that worry.”
I had the pleasure of checking out a local production studio called Dynamic Video Group. For the Academic Media Production Team, this will be a great resource to point folks towards who don’t fall under our typical purview or availability.
Their “studio | space” model allows clients to book by the hour. Selecting from a variety of backgrounds (green screen, white, brick, etc), the client can show up with a script and/or slides in hand and work with a studio manager to record on one or more 4K cameras. The studio is equipped with a teleprompter, screen capture options, and soon a lightboard. They can also facilitate live-streaming for recording high quality remote interviews over Zoom etc. The studio can bring on freelance editors if needed, but most of their clients prefer to get the raw recorded files and handle on their end. Similarly, they’re in touch with graphic designers, and make-up folks should the need arise. Overall, seemed pretty flexible and adaptable to whatever you could throw at them.
With the pandemic, they’re shifting a lot of focus to virtual events, which is reflected in their virtual event studio model. Essentially, it’s an upscale zoom room where they can bring up the grid of participants, display the chat, spotlight guests on a dedicated monitor, etc. This all runs into a control room on site where they can moderate the stream, live switch between cameras, and provide technical support. Their new HybridLink model will even allow them to bring up to 4 cameras on location and send the signal back to their studio control room, bypassing the need for a mobile control room setup.
If you have any questions or plan to work with Dynamic, please get in touch with us at email@example.com.
I made a visit to the construction site that is or will be the Bryan Center Studios – here’s a quick update:
We had a few changes and ended up with a conference room that we’ll try to fashion into a small screening room. Studio 4 (the podcasting studio) got a bit squarer and still have room for the reservable editorial suite.
We’re hoping to finish up construction by the end of March, but given the difficulties getting any electronic equipment, Studio 3 and 4 and the conference/screening room may not be open until the Summer. Studio One will re-open as soon as it’s safe and will shut down for a short time after opening for relighting (installing more eco-friendly and more easily controllable LED lights).