Cisco / Tandberg C90 now in stock!!

We are, as far as we know, the first company in the UK to have invested in the latest video telepresence engine, the Cisco C90 and made it available to our partners as part of our hire stock, supported by our experienced video conference engineers to take the stress away from your team.

 

Customisation High-Definition Connectivity Speed
Multi-site TechnologyLimitless integration possibilitiesDual StreamCustomisable video outputs 1080p60 end-to-end High Definition VideoFour Way 1080p30 High DefinitionHD 1080p Camera 12 HD Sources13 Video inputs5 Video outputs14 Audio inputs8 Audio outputs H.323/SIP 6mbps point to point10mbps multi-site bandwidth

 

We are able to offer support for a range of video conferencing equipment as well as full production services for your meetings, event, conferences and more.

 

 

cisco-tandberg-codec-c90-photoThe C90 is the most flexible codec on the market right now.  It has a mass of connectivity that can be fully customised and used to route a large number of HDMI and HD-SDI inputs and outputs as well as balanced and un-balanced audio and digital audio.

 

 

 

It connects to multiple sites in HD using over 10mb/s  (where available) which can be viewed with a customised layout.  Both local and remote layouts are fully customisable.  This allows each of the 4 independent outputs to have their own feeds.

 

Webcast, videoconference, telepresence, teleconference or virtual event???

We have experience in many kinds of web, video and telephone conferencing. Some methods are much easier, cheaper and more reliable than others and some are obviously less so. Most people don’t really know the difference between these methods. In fact, there isn’t really a standard definition for each as everything is still developing so quickly at the moment. The current ‘trend’ is for collaboration and inter-operability between these different systems and this can work with varying degrees of success. The Internet has made these types of communication more accessible but the Internet is not always appropriate.

Some of the terms we are most familiar with include skype, gotomeeting and webex. So what are these and why are  they important? This type of communication isn’t new. MSN messenger has been offering ‘video chat’ for over 10 years and ‘voice-over-IP’ for 15 years. It is typically used for point-to-point communications on a personal computer. Webex and gotomeeting have gone one step further and allow for document sharing, instant messenging and video chat for multiple users. These work over a normal IP connection to the internet. This type of communication hasn’t really been given a name yet so most people refer to the software they’re using although it is sometimes called telecollaboration. These systems are often used for document sharing and run along side a teleconference.

Many of us are familiar with conference phones, often used in boardrooms. These are essentially speakerphones. Boardrooms are often linked together for meetings using a bridge or virtual meeting room. This is a teleconference. But we can also connect another person or a teleconference to an entire conference room. A presentation could be given over the phone or a number of people who are unable to attend could listen using their phone.

A videoconference is really an extension of the teleconference but with added video. It might be for a small meeting or it might be for a larger conference. It allows people to interact both ways and presentations can be lead from the near or far end. Content sharing is also possible using an additional screen although the same level of interactivity is not possible as the content is streamed and not shared. Videoconferencing has traditionally been done over ISDN which provides a guaranteed point to point connection but now more videoconferencing uses the internet, eliminating call charges. A bridge can also be used to link multiple sites and/or users with interaction often managed by the bridge.

One of the problems with videoconferencing is that some people believe it doesn’t make the user feel truly immersed and comfortable and so a face to face meeting is always more productive. Videoconference system designers have taken this criticism on board and now design conference rooms with telepresence built it, making it feel like your colleagues are in the room. This is achieved through intelligent camera, speaker and screen placement so that colleagues appear life size and sound ‘appears’ to be coming directly from them.

These systems are all interactive to some extent but the number of users is limited. Webcasting allows an event, seminar or presentation to be broadcast to a (potentially) unlimited number of people. Webcasts are accessed using Internet enabled computers or many Internet enabled device (ipad, iphone, blackberry etc). It is possible to stream video, audio, content (slides or otherwise) or any combination. It is often possible to customize the interface and therefore integrate some type of feedback and/or interactivity such as chat, twitter or simply email.

Virtual Events haven’t really become popular yet but some big players in the webcasting world are focusing a lot of effort on this new concept. It’s like webcasting meets second life. Whilst attending a virtual event, it is possible to walk around and network with other attendees as if in a computer game using typical Internet communication methods like chat and voip. Other attendees might host meetings or webcasts, which are accessible via the virtual event. U2 famously held the first online concert inside second life.

So, I hope that provides a quick overview to all the different technologies and I wish you luck with each of them in the future.

The Importance of Internet…

The world has changed in the last 20 years.  Think about this… What is the first thing you do when you wake up?  And what is the last thing you do before you go to bed?  For me, when I wake, I turn off the alarm that is on my phone and I check to see if I have any messages.  Before I go to bed, same thing.

We are connected to our friends and colleagues in a way that we could never have imagined 20 years ago.  We expect to be able to contact everybody at any time, whether it’s by phone, text, email or instant messaging.  All of these methods of communication now use the Internet.

Approximately 30% of the planet’s population using the Internet.  To put that in perspective, around 8% of the population have money in the bank.  The Internet is connecting the World and bringing information and knowledge to every corner of the Earth (almost).  There are now 300,000,000,000 emails are sent every day.

So what about us?  I’m going to talk about conferences and meetings because that’s what I know.  If I’m in a conference or in a meeting, I need to know that people can contact me.  I might have to join a last minute conference call or send some urgent documentation to a colleague.  So why is it that hotels and conference centres don’t provide me (a paying customer) with free wifi?  Well, many of them do.

Even governments and councils recognise the importance of internet.  O2 provided free wifi in London during the Olympics and Virgin have been trialling free wifi on the London Underground.

ABPCO (Association of British Professional Conference Organisers) have a campaign called ‘The Conference Cloud’.  I am a massive supporter and I think more venues should sign up and adhere to the rules.  It’s easy and cheap to make sure your guests can do their work when they’re on your site.  That’s what 15 Hatfields Conference Centre have done by recently upgrading their wifi and their ‘pipeline’ to ensure everybody gets a very decent connection.  I know it’s good, we installed it and guests love it!

Balanced audio?

I work in so many places and with so many people where the concept of balanced audio (and the problems associated with unbalanced audio) haven’t quite hit home. But what is the difference?  Well, despite what you might have heard, it’s really quite simple.

Balanced-Audio2

We ‘balance’ the signal.  Essentially, the signal in the cable is carried down two wires, instead of one.  Each one is affected differently by any interference and can be compared later to find where the interference is and eliminate it.  That’s the easy explanation and not entirely accurate…

Ok, now if you get that, we can explain it properly.  How can you compare two signals and eliminate any interference in a simple analogue circuit?  Firstly, take the signal and create an identical but opposite signal.  So that is ‘phase inverted’.  These two signals are carried down two separate wires, the hot and the cold and they share a common ground giving a balanced signal 3 pins instead of the 2 pins used by an unbalanced signal.  So far, simple.

 

 

Now we can imagine that every interference ‘spike’ is a separate problem and deal with them individually.  Interference will cause an alteration in the sin wave as you can see in the diagram on the left and that alteration will be identical on both the hot and the cold wires.

 

Now if we just reverse the polarity of one of those signals again, both signals will look the same except for the interference spike which will be exactly opposite on both pins.  Now if those signals are joined back together to create a single signal, the interference will be completed cancelled out.

 

There are a number of other things that help such as impedance matching and shielded cables and perhaps we’ll look at those next…