Telepresence Robot on hire…

We had the fun experience of providing a remote controlled telepresence robot to our newest client – the University of Surrey.

Earlier in the day, Present Communications ltd facilitated a ‘typical’ video conference, where a professor from Harvard presented to a lecture theatre here in the UK. After the presentation, the professor wanted to be actively involved in the drinks reception which required him to be able to ‘mingle’ with the guests from over 3,000 miles away.

We provided a telepresence robot which allowed the guests to interact with the professor in real time and in person … virtually. Live video and audio were streamed in both directions.

Here is a little video of the robot in action, being controlled in London, from Boston.

Shortlisted for the Event Technology Awards 2015

Present Communications are delighted to announce that we have been shortlisted for an award for “Best Hybrid Event or Live Streaming Solution” at the Event Technology Awards.

PUNCH!Our solution allows us to completely bypass network firewalls and system intricacies safely and securely and to set up video conferencing or webcasting solutions (or any other type of internet connection that may be required) very quickly and easily and with little or no configuration at all. Given its ability to break through most complexities, we have named it PUNCH!

This solution is revolutionising the events industry by facilitating video conferencing and webcasting in places where previously it would not have been possible without expensive and time consuming access to an on-site IT teams and venue networking hardware.

It is worth noting that this product can be used to access internet in many circumstances but the reason why we see it is so fundamental for video conferencing is because it allows video conference unit to receive incoming calls even when behind a firewall. The only thing that is required from the venue is access to the World Wide Web i.e. if you can see google, PUNCH! will work.

“We are very excited about being nominated for this award.  This is a product that we use day in day out and it’s great for the team to get recognition for the way in which they are facilitating business communication and allowing these businesses to connect to their international audiences easily and more cost effectively than ever before” – Kieron Garlic, Managing Director.

We wish all the teams shortlisted for the various awards the best of luck and look forward to being there on the night.

 

Video conferencing out of the meeting room

Remote and flexible working is of course part of ones daily life now.  If we are not remote workers personally, we certainly know a few who are.  Data is accessible in the cloud and mobile phones and the Internet have made interpersonal communications easy, even from opposite sides of the World.

As the World shrinks, our workforce and our customers can be easily reached at any time and from any place.  Of course it’s not just the convenience; using the Internet rather than travel means we can reduce cost, increase efficiency and productivity whilst reducing our effect on the environment.

Many of us work with colleagues from all over the World and in different time zones.  Increasingly, we now communicate with those people via video link, whether it’s in a conference suite or from our desks using systems like Lync or Zoom. This use of video brings benefits over telephone and email.  It’s said that when we communicate, 55% of our message is expressed through body language and 38% expressed through tone of voice.

Even as a video conferencing service provider, I would still argue that there is no substitute for face-to-face meetings.  Large group meetings, presentations and workshops are still important but with teams spread from one continent to the next, it’s often not possible to get everyone in one room and that’s really where video conferencing comes in.  Large venues, hotels, conference and exhibition centres allow us to get large groups together but we often can’t get everyone in the same room.

Historically, event organisers have avoided complicated video links and streaming on the Internet and instead opted for simpler, safer options. With websites like YouTube now accounting for more than half of Internet traffic, video over the web is much safer, more reliable and resilient.  Event spaces are also realising the value of offering high quality connectivity to their clients.  We regularly run concurrent meetings on different continents, have over flow rooms on the other side of the world or join teams from different jurisdictions all together in one virtual place in order that they benefit from each others experiences.

If you want to know more about how we might be able to make this work for you, please feel free to give us a call…

Corporate clients require only the best equipment…

When it comes to the ultimate in connectivity and flexibility for video conferencing, there really is no substitute for Cisco’s flagship codec, the Cisco C90.

Having spent the last year trying, testing and comparing the C90 to similar products from the same and competitor brands, it has become apparent the Cisco’s product, part of the C-series, released since they bought Tandberg a few years ago has the relaxability in terms of connectivity particularly that the competitors just don’t offer and it’s these features that make is so useful in the live events industry where no two jobs are ever the same.

I can honestly say that we’ve used so many features on the unit that literally aren’t available on other devices, such as DVI input on the main video channel or even just HD-SDI inputs.  Actually clean output busses are handy as well as balanced line level in and out.

So what are we going to do about this.  Well, we just bought two more!

Video Conference service provider or AV company…?

What is the difference between an AV company who do video conferencing and a specialist video conferencing service provider??

Most AV/event production/rental houses will claim to be able to do video conferencing and indeed many of them actually own their own equipment and know mostly how to make them work.  So if I buy a Ferrari, does that make me a Lewis Hamilton?

Setting up a big sound system not only requires a knowledge of power amplifiers, system controller and mixing desks but also requires a good ear if you want it to work well.  Similarly with video conferencing, a good working knowledge of the equipment is necessary but so is a knowledge of IT and networking, phone lines, ISDN, IP, H.323, H.239, H.264, CIF, QCIF, HD, 720P, dual stream, people & content, bandwidth, firewalls, NAT, port forwarding etc etc.  The list unfortunately goes on and on.  Once you’ve got that covered, you then of course have the local connectivity side of things; VGA, HDMI, DVI, SDI, HD-SDI, Composite, Component, S-video. And then there is the audio…

You get the picture.

Present Communications is a specialist video conference provider.  We offer the finest technical support along side our equipment and in many cases offer a ‘brand-free’ service to other production companies and act seamlessly as your video conferencing team.

Firewall problems are a thing of the past – introducing PUNCH!

Firewalls, NAT, port forwarding, words that strike fear into the heart of even the most veteran video conferencing engineer.

There are many ways to set up a codec on a network.  You can allow the codec access to a public IP, NAT to the codec or use simple port forwarding if you think you’re brave enough.

Punch through the firewall

Any of these options require assistance from the in-house IT expert.  Of course that IT person should also be handy with video conferencing and understand the specific port requirements and also how H.323 work.  When you find that person, send him to me, I have a job going.

There are lots of ways that a firewall can be bypassed.  Some are much more complicated than others but mostly they require a lot of configuration.  What is really required by the industry is a way to just PUNCH! through any firewall and present the Video Codec to the outside world on a public IP address outside (and not related) to the network it’s on.
Well, we have this product and if you haven’t guessed already, it’s called PUNCH!  Each device is plugged into any network via the PUNCH! and that device is automatically configured with a public IP address on our network which will work with your Video Codec or any other device.

Don’t believe us, give us a try!

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.