Kindergarten will be free in Victoria next year under a $169.6 million funding boost allocated in the State Budget. The free tuition is set to save around 100,000 families about $2000 for every child enrolled in a funded kindergarten program. Subsidies will also be offered to early childhood services providing funded kindergarten programs, which would mean free kindergarten for four-year-olds and eligible three-year-olds attending a participating centre.
Premier Daniel Andrews today said the funding boost aimed to support working families, particularly women, to return to work.
“This is all about household budgets and supporting families, with more money in their pocket,” Mr Andrews said.
“So that families can have certainty, security and a sense of safety.
It’s also about making sure women can work the hours they want to work.”
There will also be reduced fees for unfunded three-year-old kindergarten programs.
The move follows the state government’s announcement in September that four-year-old kindergarten would be free in Victoria in Term 4 this year.
The Victorian Government has also invested $81.6 million into a “massive expansion” of before and after school care, which will see an increase in the availability of programs.
The funding will help establish new services and support for costs including equipment, setup and administration, facility upgrades and transport.
Grants of up to $75,000 will also be made available to start new school care programs at up to 400 government schools.
“More schools will be able to establish before and after school care programs for students, giving parents greater flexibility when it comes to work, study, training or finding new opportunities,” Victorian Education Minister James Merlino said.
The Microsoft Teams Panel is a brand new category of devices. They will be initially launched by Crestron and Yealink. The GA date for these is scheduled for March 2021 as per the roadmap. What’s the point of these? Well many organisations use these devices to show room booking information and guidance if rooms are free or busy. Users can book the room if free, or they can use the Nearby Rooms feature to find the next available room. What is really cool with these devices, when the Teams Panel is paired with a MTR, it will pick up the room count information and can indicate if the room is full, so you can visually see from a distance, meaning you don’t have to walk down the corridor only to find out the room is full once you get there. A great time saving feature.
The Crestron panel will be available in either a 7″ or 10″ version and the hardware will be available later in 2020, so you could plan to use them now with just Microsoft Exchange connectivity and then upgrade the software to have the Teams panel software.
You can book nearby rooms simply by tapping the icon and it will show you free/busy rooms.
Once you’ve selected the room, you can book it there and then. This saves time from heading the proposed room, only to find someone else beat you to the room booking.
Management of Meeting Rooms
Teams Admin Center (TAC) is the go to device management tool for all your Microsoft Teams devices. With your $15 MTR license, this provides you access. Previously launched at Ignite in 2019, Managed Meeting Rooms (MMR) was introduced. This has now evolved and is called MTR Premium (MTRP). Same great service, full 24×7 management of the devices. You don’t need to enrol all your MTRs into the portal, you can just select maybe the high profile ones. The cost of MTR Premium us $50 per room per month but includes the room license, so the net cost is really $35. What is interesting now is how will MTRP manage the MTR on Android devices? As the MTRP install an agent on the Windows 10 device, they’ll have to develop one for Android I guess. More info when we hear more I guess.
There’s no denying that COVID-19 has changed the corporate landscape dramatically. With many employees forced to work from home, video conferencing platforms have become essential alternatives to face-to-face meetings. Vendors across the technology spectrum have responded to the predicament by offering their cloud conferencing solutions for free, or by expanding the functionality of their existing free versions with more advance capabilities.
One company that might not roll off the tip of the tongue in the residential video conferencing space is Crestron. However, the company has been a mainstay in conference rooms across the global corporate world, with its video conferencing and automation solutions. Now, 48-year old company is leveraging its enterprise video conferencing chops to help support work-from-home users, and prepare organizations for their eventual, theoretical return to the office.
Early in June, Crestron teamed up with Logitech to launch the new HomeTime hardware bundle, optimized for Zoom video conferencing at home. This offering marks the emergence of a new category of video products for residential use. While many work from home users are content with a laptop’s video and audio quality, Crestron believes that there may be a class of work from home users who require better noise cancellation, cameras that compensate for poor lighting and other capabilities that deliver a more office-like experience. HomeTime seamlessly integrates Logitech’s MeetUp conference camera with the Crestron technology ecosystem. Not targeted for casual work from home users who have only sporadic video conferencing needs, the Crestron bundle is designed for individuals who want to see co-workers, friends and family in much larger video windows on a dedicated large format TV. It features built-in speakers that deliver high-quality audio throughout the room and a professional-grade full-duplex beamforming microphone for enabling natural conversation. Crestron also provides its own integrated remote control to initiate and join scheduled meetings, control the camera, and select the preferred view (e.g., speaker, gallery, or full-screen).
Crestron believes that there will be a significant percentage of workers who return to the traditional office at some point in the future. As such, the company wants to be in a position to ease that transition. The nature of video conferencing, even in a corporate setting, is bound to have changed during the pandemic. Crestron’s in-house data estimates that pre-COVID-19, only 7% to 15% of existing corporate conference rooms had video conferencing capabilities. With the explosion of video conferencing over the last several months (and the fact that many will likely continue to work remotely even as others return to the office), Crestron estimates that videoconferencing “spaces” in the office will need to increase as much as 85%.
Crestron is focusing much of its energy on Microsoft Teams and Zoom, due to their broad appeal with enterprise and work from home users. But here’s the kicker: because workers are not likely to be thrilled with the notion of packing a small conference room, Crestron realized that there is a real need for a smaller, more mobile integrated solution that preserves social distancing etiquette even in the office.
To that end, Crestron’s new Flex R-Series can be installed in minutes and wheeled into any existing space to provide one-touch video and content management. The level of flexibility that Creston is offering here is tangible—most companies do not want to (or cannot afford) to equip every conference room with a full-blown video conferencing system. The Flex R-Series is a cost-effective solution that has the potential to close the distance between remote teams, regardless of their geographic location.
A few closing thoughts
While the conventional wisdom is that significant numbers of workers will continue to work remotely after the pandemic subsides, I believe the jury is still out on that. There are still collaboration benefits from participating in in-person meetings. However, video conferencing is here to stay—particularly with workers who must engage with other co-workers that are hundreds or even thousands of miles away.
With this uncertainty, Crestron appears to be hedging its bets. Its HomeTime solutions bundle will appeal to those who continue to work from home, and desire a higher-quality video conferencing experience (though its volume potential will likely be limited to well-to-do homeowners and business executives, due to the fact that its pricing starts at $6,100). Meanwhile, Crestron’s Flex R-Series could be a cost-attractive, mobile alternative for corporate, government and even some small business accounts that require more professional-grade video conferencing capabilities. Starting at $9,000 (depending on the platform support needed), the Flex R-Series could be considered a bargain since its mobile format mitigates the need to outfit multiple conference rooms with fixed video conferencing equipment.
However things shake out, Crestron deserves credit for thinking outside of the box during COVID-19. Both are unique, premium solutions that are consistent with the legacy Crestron brand and extend the company’s value proposition to even more potential users.
Disclosure: Moor Insights & Strategy, like all research and analyst firms, provides or has provided research, analysis, advising and/or consulting to many high-tech companies in the industry. The author does not have any investment positions in the companies named in this article.
Our 2020 Audio Visual Case Study Review has landed! Featuring ESTA, Toorak College, Presbyterian Ladies’ College and Ave Maria College, our Case Study Review takes a deep dive into some of our more recent AV-mazing installations of 2020.
The following article has been re-posted from shure.com:
Clear communication is at the core of every successful business meeting. Without it, meaningful discussion is compromised, important ideas may need to be repeated and participants become frustrated, leading to a loss of productivity and a negative impact on your bottom line.
But, as companies need increasing agility in the digital age, smart and reliable audio solutions have become a tool to ensure that organizations stay ahead of competitors.
The successful deployment of a microphone or microphone system can play an essential role giving your company a communications edge. Using the right microphone in the correct environment can make an important difference in maximizing the effectiveness of your meetings.
With audio conferencing now increasingly in the IT team’s wheelhouse, this quick guide aims to give your team the confidence to implement flawless audio solutions in a range of corporate environments.
Factors Impacting Audio Quality
From meeting rooms to huddle spaces, it’s important to remember that every meeting scenario offers different and unique challenges. While there’s no one-size-fits-all solution, some essential factors are universal.
When installing a boardroom microphone and audio solution, professionals need to consider:
Number of attendees
Number of presenters
Looking at these fundamentals will help you make an informed choice about your microphones, and microphone system.
The Boardroom Scenario
Boardrooms typically accommodate between 6 and 30 participants who are usually seated at one large table. Microphones are common in boardrooms, both for teleconferencing and as a means of recording proceedings for archival purposes.
Attention is almost always given to the room’s aesthetics and acoustical characteristics. Room surfaces – ceilings, walls and floors – often benefit from sound treatment materials, panels and furnishings in an attempt to optimize audio by making these spaces less reflective.
Key Issue #1: Room size
In some boardrooms, the greater the number of attendees, the greater the risk of intelligibility issues in certain areas. Speech level fades as the distance between the speaker and listener increases. The negative impact is often heightened when participants fail to face each other when speaking.
In these scenarios, a microphone solution incorporating voice lifttechnology can be very effective. Voice lift, available in most conference systems, amplifies the voices of attendees in one part of the room so other attendees can hear them clearly. It subtly enhances frequency ranges most critical for intelligibility to restore natural speech levels and ensure greater clarity.
Ceiling microphones can work effectively with voice lift applications, but only if they are extremely directional to avoid picking up sounds and subsequent reverberations from nearby loudspeakers. The microphone’s pickup area also needs to focus only on the desired group of talkers, even if participants lean back or stand up when speaking.
Key Issue #2: Security
Often in boardroom meetings, highly sensitive issues are debated or discussed. Security and privacy options are more important than ever before. Look for systems that offer:
It’s important for a meeting to sound great, but it’s equally important for senior employees and directors to be confident that when they push the mute button, any confidential information is not heard.
Encryption is an important security method for video conferencing. As AV conferencing equipment now sits on networks, organizations need assurance that these devices are not open to cybersecurity breaches.
For AV teams, this creates the new challenge of balancing the demand for high security without compromising on audio quality. Whether microphones are wired or wireless, the signal between network audio devices cannot be breached. No one within your facility, even those on your network, can listen to your meetings.
Key Issue #3: Room Acoustics
Room acoustics in the modern meeting environment are far more important than most people realize. Many contemporary spaces feature glass surfaces which are on trend for designers but cause headaches for audio, producing reflections that lead to hollow sound and reduced audio quality.
While applying acoustical treatments and consulting with an acoustics expert can help, microphone choice and placement are also key to overcoming the challenges of a room with hard surfaces. If microphones are aimed accurately, they will pick up less room noise and more of the essential communications required.
Key Issue #4: RF Interference
If you’re located in a city’s downtown area, wireless microphone systems are at risk of RF interference from other wireless equipment. Interruptions from these unwanted signals can ruin dynamic interactions with distracting noise and dropouts.
RFI (Radio Frequency Interference) is defined as an unwanted signal that compromises a sound system by directly interfering with wireless microphones or inducing noise in other audio components. Typical sources include FM radio stations, AM radio stations, walkie-talkies or cell phones. The resulting noise takes the form of unwanted buzzing, noise bursts or even music. If you’re implementing an audio solution in a dense urban location, make sure to evaluate the capabilities of microphones in combating these unwanted distractions.
Shure Microphone Solutions
In its nearly 100 year history, Shure has emerged as a global leader in pro audio, known for its game-changing engineering as well as its unassailable reputation for quality and reliability. Those attributes are present in Shure’s wide spectrum of meeting, discussion and boardroom solutions.
If a table has many meeting participants or is of an unconventional size, then end users might prefer the microphone to be elsewhere for less office clutter and better audio quality. In this case, Shure’s MXA910 Ceiling Array Microphone is a great solution. It works effectively whether the boardroom setting is fixed, temporary or multi-purpose. The Shure MXA910 with Intellimix® features state-of-the-art DSP technology that works intuitively to provide the best audio experience possible.
Microflex Wireless offers greater versatility and more effective audio without the need for excess equipment clutter in the form of wires or plugs. It offers security from interference in corporate environment and larger meeting spaces. The MXWAPT8 Access Point Receiver is an 8-channel wireless access point compatible with Microflex Wireless microphone systems. It works well within the corporate environment as the supplied mounting plate and paintable cover allows discreet placement in boardrooms.
Directional and wireless microphones from the Microflex Complete Digital Conference System offer a variety of potential options for professionals all with a focus on delivering scalable world class audio within your meeting environments.
Flexible for Room Sizes and Types
Camera tracking technology, also when used with the MXA910, can elevate your boardroom meeting, especially for larger gatherings. Multiple cameras will enable external viewers to see different angles and views of participants. Because the MXA910 quickly and reliably selects the right lobe for any talker, the camera tracking system always shows the appropriate view. When used in combination with a voice lift system, the pickup lobes of the MXA910 can be easily adjusted to precisely match a room’s configuration and capture audio from the desired coverage areas.
The Shure P300 Audio Conferencing Processor’s Mute Sync feature can be used in tandem with the MXA910. This intuitive, programming-free LED mute sync functionality works with leading third-party software codecs including Zoom Rooms and Microsoft Skype and guarantees security is maintained so sensitive conversations can remain offline.
Shure Audio Encryption offers protection against any data breaches when used with the IntelliMix P300 Audio Conferencing Processor or Shure Audio Network Interfaces.
The network uses AES-256 encryption to protect confidential content flowing between Shure audio devices. This is one of the safest forms of network protection currently available and used by financial services organizations, government bodies and health care services
Not that long ago, end users had to adapt to the demands of technology. But now, audio solutions are so advanced, they can adapt to each situation and be tailored to how you like to do business. It means you’re now free to stop worrying about audio quality and focus on what you do best: communicating clearly with clients and customers to drive your organization’s success.
Listen Technologies, the leading provider of assistive listening systems for 22 years, is collaborating with Disney Parks, Experiences and Products to develop advanced technology that provides a more inclusive experience for guests. Listen Technologies will develop assistive technologies and tour solutions utilising the Disney MagicALL suite of Disney SyncLink® Technologies.
MagicALL is an accessibility platform featuring a suite of proprietary technologies, intellectual property and patents that enable all guests to experience the magic of Disney. MagicALL is for guests with hearing loss, who are deaf or blind, or guests who speak a different language. Disney licenses MagicALL to other organisations so they can use this technology to enable magical guest experiences everywhere.
In collaboration with Disney, Listen Technologies solutions will pave the way to bring products to market that dramatically improve experiences and increase inclusion for users whether they are in a theme park, a performing arts centre, on a tour or other destination.
In 2018, Listen Technologies entered into a technology agreement with Walt Disney Parks and Resorts to use Disney SyncLink, a synchronisation technology that delivers customised content and information. Together, the technology and solutions will deliver the right information at the right time and place to the right person, seamlessly.
“Imagine entering an immersive ride, exhibit, or performance and being able to listen in real-time to synchronised audio in your native language or hear clearly despite having hearing loss,” said Maile Keone, president of Listen Technologies. “Disney and Listen Technologies are making this possible. Our solutions, combined with Disney’s SyncLink Technology, will provide inclusive experiences for guests with hearing, visual or translation needs.”
“Disney is synonymous with delivering magical experiences to guests so Listen Technologies is thrilled to team with Disney on its MagicALL initiative and bring greater accessibility, inclusion and engagement to all people,” said Russ Gentner, CEO of Listen Technologies. “Listen Technologies is committed to improving life’s experiences by providing exceptional, personalised audio and content on any platform at any venue.”
Listen Technologies products provide a new level of connectivity by utilising a variety of advanced solutions for assistive listening as well as customised content for guided and self-guided tours. Listen Technologies will extend the inclusive, Disney MagicALL experience to concert halls, museums, houses of worship, stadiums, walking tours, and more, providing the technology to allow all types of venues to offer immersive experiences.
Crestron touch screens are found almost everywhere: work, home, colleges and government offices. Given the current situation facing Crestron global customers, we wanted to provide simple steps on how to clean and disinfect Crestron touch screens to help protect the people who use them.
Keeping our customers and their families safe from the transmission of COVID-19 is our first priority. Per the CDC recommendations, frequent cleaning of high touch surfaces is important.*
To clean Crestron touch screens
Use any commercially available non-ammonia glass or disinfectant cleaner.
Apply a small amount of cleaner directly to a microfiber or a similar disposable towel or cloth-be sure the cloth is damp and not wet.
Wipe the glass touch screen clean.
Do not apply cleaner directly to any interface (as most of our systems are not waterproof). And do not wipe the plastic surrounding the glass.
Our goal is to make sure we’re doing all we can to keep our customers and their families safe. For more information and updates on approved cleaners check our online help article here.
Samsung Electronics America helps the Golden State Warriors tip off the 2019-20 NBA season with a partnership that is revitalizing sports venues. Basketball’s newest arena, Chase Center, is a world-class sports and entertainment venue providing incredible fan experiences including more than 64 LED video displays including the largest centerhung video display in the NBA.
“Samsung is committed to changing the way fans experience live events through technology,” said Harry Patz, Senior Vice President and General Manager, B2B Enterprise Display Division, Samsung Electronics America. “Our product portfolio lends itself to seamless integration in a variety of industries, including sports applications, and in this case outfitting Chase Center with our displays. We are proud to partner with the Golden State Warriors, an organization that shares the same passion and commitment to delivering unforgettable experiences to their customers.”
“A project of this size and scope doesn’t happen overnight. It took years of planning and working side-by-side with the Warriors organization to ensure that the centerhung structure and LED video displays met all of the weight and engineering requirements to deliver an amazing experience,” said Don Szczepaniak, CEO of PRISMVIEW, A Samsung Electronics Company. “From the stunning outdoor LED Video Displays in the Plaza, to the massive centerhung the Chase Center is a world-class venue. It was an exciting challenge for us. We are very proud and grateful to be a part of this cutting-edge new venue.”
Samsung LED technologies showcase a detailed and realistic picture, ensuring each fan is immersed in the action every seat. The new Warriors centerhung main videoboard adds up to a massive 9,699 square feet of active video display, making it the largest LED video display centerhung installed in a sports arena. The centerhung integrates 15 displays varying from 6.7mm pixel pitch on the main displays and upper halo ring, to 4mm pixel pitch on the underbelly displays, amassing a total of more than 26.3 million individual LEDs.
To elevate the fan experience further, Samsung and the Warriors stepped outside the arena to install the first-ever full outdoor LED display in San Francisco. Fastened to the outer wall of Chase Center’s west entrance, the vibrant display provides a preview of the technology that can be experienced inside. The superior image quality of Samsung’s 10mm LED video display is second-to-none. The displays are built to withstand any environmental elements.
Setting up a shoddy old projector next to the Hills Hoist for a backyard movie night with a white sheet as a screen is a part of Aussie culture. The catchily-named EF-100, Epson’s new portable laser projector, is here to make that experience a bit fancier.
At 210mm x 270mm x 88mm and 2.7kg it’s extremely portable. As long as you have access to a power point, and the courage to transport your projector there, you can use this thing anywhere.
It’s also extremely easy to set up. Once it’s plugged in it just needs some kind of HMDI video source, and it’s even got a USB port built in to power a device such as a Google Chromecast. It has a built-in 5W speaker, but if you’ve spent $1699 on a projector you can probably also spring for quality speakers or headphones (there’s a 3.5mm jack and Bluetooth).
The throw distance is reasonable; to get a 60-inch (1.5-metre) display you’ll need to set the unit 1.8-metres from the screen. The WXGA resolution is comparable to HD, so you probably don’t want to sit closer than 2.5m to that 60-inch screen anyway. The maximum screen size is 150 inches (3.8 metres), but you’ll need a lot of room to make it work.
What I was really impressed with was the brightness of the screen. In a reasonably dark room, with some daylight coming through the side of the curtains, I could enjoy Supergirl perfectly. But it was watching Legends of Tomorrow with the curtains open, on an admittedly cloudy winter’s day, that made this projector seem completely worth its high price; the show still looked great. At 2000 lumens, this thing is bright. Bright enough to make me concerned about the cleanliness of the wardrobe door I was projecting it on.
Even the colours looked great in the bright room. Sure, there was definitely a lot details missing from darker scenes, but it was still far better than you’d ever expect from a portable projector. Epson claims a dynamic contrast ratio in excess of 2,500,000:1.
Because this is a laser projector there’s no expensive bulb to replace, just an air filter every few years, which significantly lowers the barrier to entry.
It also runs really quietly, with a quoted max fan volume of 29db, which falls somewhere between “rustling leaves” and “quiet rural area” on the comparable noise scale. Or, if you find it hard to picture quiet rustling leaves, it’s about one 16th as loud as a vacuum cleaner, which is not very loud at all.
If money is just enough of an object that 4K projectors aren’t an option, but not so much of an object that you can afford having a good TV and a portable projector, this is absolutely the one to buy.
The following post has been reposted from: https://www.channelnews.com.au/
At this year’s Integrate Expo, Epson Australia will demonstrate a 270-degree immersive video environment, which will house multiple L-Series projectors using cutting-edge technology and a seamless edge-blended experience.
The projectors will be housed in a custom-created structure built by Igloo Vision, who specialises in creating unique and bespoke audio and visual environments.
As a result, the combination of Epson’s projectors and Igloo’s structure will create a completely unique dark environment with content, including the latest geo-mapping.
Alongside the immersive video environment will be Epson’s “Size Matters” display area where visitors can experience the new 7,000 EB-L1070U paired with the ELPLX01 ultra-short throw lens.
Visitors will also be able to see exactly why “Size Matters”, particularly for education and corporate environments, by comparing different screen sizes and viewing angles on the stand.
The LightScene EV-100 projectors will also be presented to demonstrate real-time, real-world examples of what’s possible in these markets.
Epson, in collaboration with Avery Dennison, will also be showcasing its new digital signage solution which uses Vela switchable film and an ultra-short throw projector, which displays products behind a wall of glass that can be switched between clear and opaque.
Powered by “breakthrough” laser technology and a new 16:6 ultra-widescreen display, the interactive EB-1485Fi projector aims to demonstrate how they can “transform today’s conference rooms into the collaborative meeting spaces of tomorrow”.
This will sit alongside images created by the EB-L30000U projector, which is Epson’s brightest 3LCD laser projector with 30,000 lumens.