The Extron SMP 351 is a hardware appliance that entered the market several years after the Crestron Capture-HD and is a direct competitor to the Crestron. One university we spoke with that has currently deployed 25 of these had nothing but great things to say about it. The SMP 351 combines an AV presentation source, such as a laptop computer, with camera video of the instructor in a variety of configurations (PIP, side by side, etc.). Unlike the Crestron, the SMP 351 supports simultaneous streaming and recording, allowing classroom instruction to be captured digitally while it is distributed live. Content can be FTP’d to a network share, or configured to record directly to a USB stick plugged into the front of the device. (It can also be configured to record locally to the USB stick and then FTP the file to a network share.) We spoke with one university that wrote scripts that take content from the FTP server and automatically move it to Kaltura. This university indicated they are close to a direct integration with Kaltura.
Extron landed an important partner for their product in June, 2015 when they worked with OpenCast to enable the SMP 351 to serve as a “capture agent” for Opencast.
Core Distinguishing Feature Set
- 1U rackable appliance
- No licensing or support fees
- Can be controlled Crestron control panel interfaces in addition to Extron control panel interfaces
- One-touch recording
- Record to USB stick if desired
- Deliver content through Extron’s Streaming Content Manager (SCM) or integrate with third party content management platforms including Kaltura, Blackboard, SharePoint, YouTube, Moodle. You can also deliver content via RSS.
- Provides thumbnail navigation points for videos
- Supports back-to-back recording scenarios
Extron SMP 351 and Duke
The idea of “one-touch recording” initiated directly by the instructor from the podium has driven interest in the Extron SMP 351 along with the Crestron Capture-HD among a subset of our users, particularly the Law School, which have described their ideal use case as having users walk away with recordings on a USB key after an ad hoc session. The SMP 351 is an interesting option given that most DukeCapture-enabled classrooms and lecture halls are equipped with Crestron control panels. However, Panopto is planning to offer the ability for faculty to control appliances via Panopto’s mobile app for something close to one-touch recording, and currently the Law School at Duke seems satisfied with using the Panopto Windows client for ad-hoc recordings on podium PCs in their classrooms. These factors together with the limited delivery and administrative options (compared to Panopto) that Extron provides and the lack of a software recording option make it not the best fit as an overall solution for DukeCapture, Potentially, however, this product could be of interest in niches across campus.