Rich Wisneski, Director of Engineering
While planning new conference room integration projects, many of our customers have complained that their previous audio systems failed to cancel background noises, which disrupted their conference calls. One of the main goals for our design team has been to eliminate background noise and feedback to create an audio experience as true to a conversation as possible.
The importance of a high-quality audio system is often overlooked when planning A/V room integration projects, resulting in meeting interruptions when part of a conversation is inaudible because of the background noises or poor audio quality. Rooms which you are implementing to be used for audio/video conferencing can quickly find themselves only being used for “local” presentations because of inadequate audio equipment.
We’ve created a foundation for success with Biamp audio processing equipment. Its products most effectively reduce background noise and provide crisp and clear audio that sound as real and pure as if everyone is in the room with you. We have successfully implemented this foundation in single conference rooms to hundred plus student wired lecture halls, the equipment is completely scalable so it is very cost effective based on the situation. Because SKC has the most Biamp-certified technicians in the country, our design, installation and support is the best in the industry.
Tags: A/V integration, Audio, Biamp, conference room
Posted in: AV in the Classroom,Audio Visual Resources,General,Technology
Paul Lively, Collaboration Engineer
As engineers, we design systems from a simple display on a wall to highly complex integrated rooms involving many components that all connect and work as a unit. Of all of the components, the LCD display is one that seems to prompt the most questions from customers.
Typically, customers are using their experiences with consumer grade LCD displays as a cost baseline when comparing quotes that include commercial displays. While cost is certainly an important factor, it is not the only factor that should be considered in regards to displays.
Commercial displays are engineered differently than consumer grade displays. Generally, commercial displays are designed to stay on for most of the day, they support many more PC input resolutions and RS-232 (serial) control, as well as possessing a three-year warranty.
On the other hand, consumer displays are designed for the home user who watches TV or video. Normally, these displays are created to be powered on for no longer than eight hours per day and they support a limited amount of input resolutions. Consumer displays also do not offer serial control and have a one-year warranty, which is void as soon as you install it in a business.
Several other differences exist between the commercial and consumer displays. Orientation, daisy-chaining capabilities, network support, locking infrared, overall construction and the ability to tile multiple displays are some of these variances.
Overall, purchasing a commercial display results in a better built display that will last longer, perform better and possess a stronger warranty. As long as you understand what you will receive for the price, the cost difference is almost always justified.
Tags: A/V integration, Commercial Displays, Consumer Displays, Digital Signage, LG
Posted in: AV in the Classroom,Audio Visual Resources,Green AV,Technology
Chas Thornhill, Collaboration Engineer
Nearly everyone has now experienced a 3D movie at their local Cineplex. For a few extra dollars, you get a sweet pair of Clark Kent glasses and enjoy a more “in-depth” visual experience than a standard 2D movie can offer. And no one would argue that the content produced for 3D projection is meant to capitalize on the medium. Whether it’s a flaming spear leaping from the screen or a lifelike panoramic view of the Himalayas, 3D images are interesting and memorable. And now that displays are fast enough to show two complete frames of video 60 times per second, businesses and schools are discovering the benefits of the 3rd dimension.
Theatrical 3D projection systems use polarized film and glasses to regulate which frame is viewed by which eye. Frames meant for the left eye are polarized vertically and frames meant for the right eye are polarized horizontally. Those great Clark Kent glasses the theater passes out by the truckload are also polarized vertically and horizontally which means, only images meant for the left eye can be seen through the left lens and images meant for the right eye, well… you get the idea. Movie theaters have the option to use these “passive” 3D glasses because they operate specialized projection systems and can polarize the images.
But suppose we want to watch a 3D movie using a projector or flat screen display in a classroom. Well, right away we notice we can’t polarize the images being displayed. This means the passive glasses we swiped from the theater are useless. We must find another way of controlling what image is seen by which eye.
Enter “active” 3D glasses. Instead of polarized lenses, active glasses have LCD panels that switch between clear and opaque. Active glasses are synchronized to the 3D content and require batteries to operate. They’re controlled by a signal emitted from the display or if the display is not 3D-ready, a special device attached to the display. When a frame intended for the left eye is projected, a signal tells the LCD panel in the right lens to “close” or become opaque so that only the left eye sees that frame of video. 3D movies, games, and presentations are possible because active glasses let content creators control which eye sees which frame.
Educators have learned from motion pictures and video games how powerful 3D can be. In one study, Rock Island, IL students were shown 3D simulations of the workings of the inner ear and given an exam afterward. Teachers were amazed, first by the complete lack of discipline issues and second that every single student passed the exam (Texas Instruments, March 15, 2010). As I said, 3D images are interesting and memorable. Those are excellent ingredients for any lesson plan.
A recipe for 3D:
- Content: The video must be produced specifically for 3D display. A quick search online will reveal over a dozen companies producing 3D content specifically for education. (3D virtual frog dissection, check!) Look for this niche to expand quickly.
- Display: The projector or flat screen display must have a refresh rate of at least 120Hz. This means that it can show 120 frames of video a second. 3D content generally requires 60 frames a second per eye. 3D-ready displays are all at least 120Hz and have emitters to control the glasses. Displays that aren’t 3D-ready can be made to work, if they are fast enough, by adding a device to control the active glasses. And if you intend to ease into 3D don’t worry, 3D-ready displays work great for 2D content as well.
- Glasses: There are plenty of choices and more manufacturers are throwing their hat into the 3D ring as the technology gains traction. Glasses are available by the pair or in bundled packages. Some are even dishwasher safe.
Tags: 3D, A/V integration, Classroom Technology
Posted in: AV in the Classroom,Audio Visual Resources,General,Technology
David Gillespie — Integration Engineer
Internal messaging has come a long way. What used to be just steam whistles and crowded lunch room announcements, turned into memos on the office cork board. Now, it’s email blasts and digital signage. Properly executed, digital signage can be a source of meaningful information to its audience.
Realizing the audience element is essential to the success of a digital signage solution. People today are pre-equipped to ignore televisions. Introducing digital signage to the workspace or public space requires a plan to make it meaningful to the intended audience. To that end, many solutions dedicate a section of the displayed image to news or weather TV channels. Alternatively, displaying timely or even critical information can be all it takes to make a solution meaningful and useful to the audience.
At SKC, for instance, we have the public digital signage with office news, events, and accomplishments. The public signage also includes a news feed that tunes into the Tour De France and March Madness every year. Our call centers each have their own signage which updates how many employees are available to take a call, number of clients waiting on hold, etc. Those updates are pulled from our Avaya phone system dynamically throughout the day.
Digital signage today can be more than a looped PowerPoint. With a clear plan we are able to incorporate many sources of information and manage how they’re presented to the audience. Going forward, these sorts of technology convergences will be more prevalent and pertinent. I imagine it will only be a matter of time before the RSS feed of this blog ends up on the SKC digital signage as well.
Tags: A/V integration, Digital Signage, network, Streaming, video
Posted in: Audio Visual Resources,Technology,Uncategorized