Several members of OIT ITS attended the Whitlock Convergence Collaborative Technology Summit on October 1st. It turned out to be a useful event with many major players in the classroom technology space represented and showing off their newest products. Many area educational and classroom technology specialists were in attendance, and it was a good opportunity to connect with them and catch up.
Among some of the interesting new technologies we saw were several products for wireless presentation. One speaker at the conference said that in his opinion the A/V industry has failed users in this area, and he may have a valid point. Users have a hard time understanding how in 2013 it’s still not usually possible to walk into an A/V-equipped room and with a few clicks get the contents of their computer, tablet, or even phone, to display on the room’s projector without reading through manuals and calling support staff.
One product attempting to solve this problem and that we saw at the show was the Christie Brio, which has been generating a bit of interest on campus recently.
The Christie Brio combines up to five simultaneous video and audio presentations on up to two meeting room displays. It supports up to 2560 x 1600 pixels (both input and output) and includes two dual-link DVI-D inputs, which it combines with wireless inputs to make up the 5 presentations. The DVI inputs support up to 60fps and are intended for displaying HD video sources at their native resolutions. The wireless inputs support 30fps. The Brio streams audio wirelessly or via standard jacks to feed output to the meeting room sound system, and the system contains real time whiteboard capability. There is a web administration interface for configuring source layouts and accessing meeting management information.
Christie calls the device a “node,” and multiple nodes can be combined to create a single presentation. The form factor allows the unit to be racked, but is low profile enough to be installed in a boardroom credenza.
Unfortunately the application is Windows only at this time, although the sales rep we spoke with said Mac support is actively being worked on. For the time being, an Apple TV can be integrated with the device to create Mac support, but to our thinking that didn’t seem like an optimal solution, because if you go to the trouble to set up an Apple TV, you might be able to get away without the Brio.
I saw Sharon Kaiser and Tyler Eckard of Duke University School of Medicine at the show, and they mentioned they may be demoing the Christie Brio soon, so if you’re interested, you may want to touch base with them once they’ve had a chance to take it for a spin.
More information about the Christie Brio can be found here: http://www.christiedigital.com/en-us/business/products/christie-brio-presentation-and-collaboration-systems/pages/default.aspx