Click here to watch a video on how the Catchbox system is used in classrooms!
When I was in the throws of hybrid learning this past semester, I put out a video on how to manage all the mics and speakers in the classroom. The biggest issue was that my at-home students couldn’t really hear in-person students. My solution at the time was to just have all my in-class kids be on Zoom and unmute themselves. I just had to make sure I also muted my speakers when students did that so I didn’t get feedback. It wasn’t a great solution but it was all I could come up with.
In the process of preparing for that video, I came across a company called Catchbox that made a microphone inside of a foam box that could be thrown easily from one person to another.
A FUN MICROPHONE KIDS WANT TO SPEAK INTO
I brought the Catchbox system to my classroom for the last few weeks of school and the kids loved it. The kids at home heard everyone clearly and the kids in class all of the sudden had something to say just so they could catch the throwable microphone and speak into it!
Such a simple idea: just tossing something to a student who is about to speak can do wonders for engagement.
HOW WE USED THE CATCHBOX IN OUR FINAL STAFF MEETING
Our final staff meetings were all in-person (no one on Zoom). We meet in a fairly large room and usually don’t need a microphone for the presenter. We end each year by sitting in a big circle and having folks share things they appreciate and value about their colleagues. Often though, if you’re on the other side of the circle and someone is sharing, you don’t always catch everything they’re saying unless they’re loud and obnoxious like myself. Nothing’s worse than someone on the other side of the circle saying something nice about you and you can’t even hear them so you just nod and smile like an idiot.
I decided to set the Catchbox up so that way whoever had the throwable microphone would come through the sound system in the room.
If you think your classroom or school could benefit from a Catchbox, contact us today!
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.
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.
Sony has integrated the iRevo Digital Signage cloud-based software to its BRAVIA displays. The software offers both cloud capabilities and templates.
It also works directly with BRAVIA’s Android OS, which lets customers install the iDS App directly, which eliminates the need for a media player, according to a press release.
The BRAVIA displays offer 4K resolution, HDR images and HTML5. The iDS software can support videos, music, widgets, RSS feeds, social media content and live TV. Other features include:
Access playback screenshots and content analytics
Display emergency messages
“As cloud adoption increases in every industry, we sought a provider who could bring those same benefits, including security, reliability and ubiquitous accessibility, to our community of professional BRAVIA users,” Mark Bonifacio, head of education segment, Sony, said in the release. “The iRevo integration for BRAVIA further supports Sony’s fundamental values of providing our customers with customizable solutions that support their business needs, while streamlining their workflow and addressing their largest challenges. The addition of the iRevo enterprise solution expands and differentiates Sony’s digital signage offerings, ensuring we have scalable options that meet a variety of customer requirements.”
Epson’s interactive projectors in schools are all about making learning more engaging. With a lot of experience producing interactive education projectors, it’s no wonder that education institutions are abandoning interactive whiteboards, large format projectors and display panels in favour of Epson’s interactive projectors.
Better value and more versatile, an interactive projector provides a fuss-free all-in-one solution that makes education a more collaborative and fun process than ever before.
So what makes Epson’s interactive projectors for Melbourne and Australian schools, classrooms, boardrooms and meeting rooms so great?
They encourage collaboration.
Interactive projectors are all about encouraging collaboration. Take Epson’s popular EB-695Wi projector; it uses two interactive pens, which allows a teacher and a student – or ten students – to write on the same screen at the same time. Responsive and easy to use, these pens also have a ‘hover’ function that accurately detects when they are not in contact with the projection surface. These interactive projectors encourage collaborative learning by placing the teacher and student at the front of the room in an inclusive and constructive environment. Whether you’re connecting to the projector wirelessly or via hard cables, you’ll be able to annotate, write and draw over any laptop and/or in-built document.
Smart apps & tablet integration.
Epson’s ushering-in of a new era of interactive projectors goes beyond collaboration to achieving an advanced smart learning platform for schools. Using the Epson iProjection app for tablets and smartphones, a teacher can annotate the onscreen image from a mobile device, and so can students. Not only can you project content from smart devices, but the PC-free annotation whiteboard mode means that teachers don’t even need to power up their computers. You can also download and install your own finger-touch-compatible apps to your PC or tablet device, using Epson’s interactive projection technology to engage and foster a developing academic environment.
Show off movies and YouTube video clips in class.
Another string to the interactive projector’s bow is its ability to annotate directly onto videos in class, which is an increasingly important part of the content mix in schools and colleges. Whether you’re playing a video directly from YouTube or streaming from your local hard drive, Epson’s interactive projectors make it easier to discuss video clips as part of any teaching curriculum.
Taking advantage of existing infrastructure.
For many institutions a big advantage of installing interactive projectors in Melbourne is that no other upgrade is needed; existing whiteboards or interactive whiteboards can stay because interactive projectors can project an image onto any surface. So exciting, yet simple is the technology that it’s likely that, at first, many students will want to see exactly how their classroom’s new interactive projector works.
Super bright and detailed images.
Epson’s expertise in projection, and the development of its own powerful 3LCD system, means that image quality from these products is second to none. Projecting a White and Colour Light Output of up to 4,200 ANSI lumens, images are crisp, vibrant and colourful – and, crucially, remain so even in bright daylight.
A learning experience that’s more involving and more fun is always going to increase students’ motivation and produce better results. Hugely versatile interactive projectors help achieve this by broadening the possibilities for teachers’ classroom methods. Teachers are limited only by their imagination and their commitment to taking advantage of the technology’s features. Epson’s interactive projectors are rapidly being adopted throughout education, and the reasons are as simple as the products’ design and features. Is there any more exciting use for new technology than to help encourage collaboration and engagement in learning?
If you’d like to learn more about how Epson interactive projectors can benefit your Melbourne school or business, contact Vision One today on (03) 9467-3777.
Just like with purchasing a house, buying a touchscreen can be a daunting task for first time buyers. Buyers do not necessarily know the right questions to ask, which is why we have broken down 10 things every touchscreen buyer should know.
1. Do your prep
It pays to think about what you need before you start researching potential solutions. The choice of models, feature-sets and specifications can be overwhelming if you don’t have an idea of what you need. Ask yourself questions about the spaces in which the screens will be used. How many classrooms or other spaces require screens? What is the size of each room? How many students per class? Do you need some to be mobile? If so, where will they be used? And what will they need to connect to?
2. Evaluate the technology
You will be able to get plenty of information from brochures and spec sheets, but nothing beats seeing products in action. Watch demo video clips or even get hands-on – download trial software. Take the time to try it out yourself. Why not take some teachers and students along to your supplier’s demo centre to assess the model or request the product is brought to you.
3. Screen size
You want all content displayed on the screen to be clear and legible to all your class wherever they’re sitting so it’s essential to have the right size of screen for the size of space. Touch screens are available up to 105-inch in size so there’s going to be a size to suit all spaces. Don’t be afraid to ask a trusted supplier to advise you on the optimal size for your room. Remember, touch screens can easily be moved when mounted on a trolley and are bright enough to be used in a variety of spaces such as libraries, staff rooms or the assembly hall.
4. Not all panels are equal
While touch screens may look similar, the panel inside varies hugely in terms of quality and reliability so be sure to ask: ‘What is the panel grade?’ and ‘What is the panel failure rate?’
There are different grades of panel from B to A++ with A++ the best quality. To achieve top grade, the panel should have virtually no flaws such as dark or light spots, light leakage round the edges or other blemishes, which affect the quality and uniformity of the image reproduction. The lower the grade, the more flaws are permitted. The highest-grade panels tend to be more reliable and have lower failure rates. Less than 1% failure rate is very low so ideal; 2-4% is mid and 5-9% is high and 10% and above is a very high failure rate.
5. Display quality
Other factors affect how well content displays including the resolution of the screen. The higher the resolution, the more detail can be displayed, which helps to ensure even tiny text and numbers, minute details and subtleties in colour and shade are clear. Full HD or 1080p is sufficient for screens up to 65-inch while 4K is ideal for anything above this. A key component for computers with a 4K Screen within a classroom are graphics card – look for these bundled with the screen. With content likely to become more high resolution over the long life of your screen, it makes sense to future-proof (see 10 below) so opt for 4K now.
6. Multi-touch interaction
Touch screen models use a variety of touch technologies. Most now support multi-touch of 2, 4, 6, 10 or 32 simultaneous touches. Two is the minimum needed to pinch, zoom, double-tap etc. – the touch gestures we’re all used to from our smartphones and tablets. Four is the minimum you’ll need if two people are to use the screen at the same time. If your screen will be used as a touch table, opt for as many touches as possible so students can work together in groups around the device. Multi-touch is not the same as multi-user so ensure you test this in a demo. Don’t forget, there are also other ways to interact with your touch display from tablets or laptops using software like DigiClass to connect up to 40 iOS, Android and Windows devices wirelessly.
Remember, when connecting the screen with tablets, you want bi-directional connection so you can not only share the contents of the tablet on the big screen, but also have the students see what’s on the large screen on their tablet, annotate it and save it. Apple TV won’t do this with iPads, but software like DigiClass will and depending on your bundle may be free with your screen.
Another key aspect to look for is built-in WiFi. The ability for the screen to act as a WiFi hotspot and an Ethernet hard-wired connection (RJ45) if your WiFi isn’t that great, as well as ports for USB, HDMI, microphones and RS232 if you have a room control system.
You want to be free to use the software of your choosing in your school, college, university or office so make sure there is nothing to restrict that choice. You will however, definitely need tools that provide flawless whiteboarding and the ability to annotate and connect to tablets and use them as voting handsets or as cameras/visualisers. School users will also be glad of tools that make your lives easier, like the ability to open native Smart and Promethean files so there’s no need to recreate all those lessons you’ve accumulated.
Software can sound good but be disappointing in use so the best way to assess the software provided is to download a trail version and try it out yourself.
9. Features that support your method of teaching and presenting
Video-conferencing and screen recording are fantastic tools for connecting to other schools and organisations, enabling students or teachers to connect in from home, another classroom, school or anywhere they happen to be. iBT’s screen record built-in to IWBpro is also a great way to create revision resources for your students and prepare materials for use in flipped and active learning. A long cabled webcam can also be invaluable for use as a standard video camera which can be incorporated with our ‘visualizer tool’ to project the image from the camera on the screen.
10. Future proofing
Your new touch screen will have a much longer life than your old projector and whiteboard. Today’s touch screens will typically still be working at full brightness in ten years time so it makes sense to not only consider what you need today, but what your teachers and students will need in the future. Choosing a solution with MS windows compatibility and Android will be vital. Get the best of both worlds with quick access to apps for use on the screen at the click of a button. Apps will become an important tool in the digital classroom of the (near) future so ensure your front-of-class screen has Android for complete versatility.
In the end purchasing a touch screen is like making any other big purchase. It requires research and thought. Whether you are a first time buyer or looking to upgrade your exisiting touchscreen, make sure you take in to account the 10 Things Every Touchscreen Buyer Should Know.
Samsung has a vision for a “workplace of the future” – and it includes a giant, rotating, digital whiteboard that can screen mirror your phone and have four people writing on it at the same time.
Samsung calls the Flip WM55H “an upgrade on both standard paper flip charts and analog boards” – basically packing a host of digital features into what aims to still feel like a traditional whiteboard.
“However, unlike its predecessors,” Samsung says, “Samsung Flip allows easy sharing, annotation, movement and even searching, as well as the ability for multiple users to create content at once.”
The Flip is on wheels, is height adjustable and can also be wall mounted either horizontally or vertically.
“The often-flawed logistics of the modern meeting make it easy for participants to feel disengaged and for vital ideas and discoveries to become lost,” said Seog-gi Kim, Executive Vice President of Visual Display Business at Samsung Electronics.
“Today’s workers require more powerful and flexible technologies, and we truly believe that our new Samsung Flip display offers endless possibilities for driving impactful collaboration. We are excited to debut the Samsung Flip at CES 2018, and we look forward to building upon this technology to help businesses work better, smarter and faster.”
Up to four people can use their fingers or a special dual-sided pen (one side is a highlighter, which is very cool) in unique writing styles, sizes and colours so you can tell them apart.
But it’s not just the pen or your finger (your palm acts as an eraser), you can add content via wireless connectivity, USB, PC, mobile ports and NFC.
There are 20 “pages” of space on the Flip, and each can be searched. Once you’re done with your meeting/session, the content is stored in a central database behind a password lock. When you log back in, you can download and share the content through email, save it to a USB or external hard drive – or you can even print it, if you’re old school.
BrightSign, LLC®, the global market leader in digital signage media players, today announced the first major overhaul of the company’s players in nearly two years. BrightSign’s lineup of digital signage media players has been completely redesigned and will ship with a portfolio of technology updates including an M.2 interface for Wi-Fi antennae or a solid-state drive (M.2 SSD). BrightSign’s free BrightAuthor software and the BrightSign Network are also updated with advanced digital signage features for enterprise-level performance.
“The digital signage marketplace is evolving rapidly. For that reason it’s important that our technology solutions not only support signage as it’s being used today, but that they also work flawlessly many years from now,” said Jeff Hastings, BrightSign’s CEO. “Customers can install our players today knowing that BrightSign software, hardware and networking solutions will serve them well in the future as they implement new and exciting digital signage features.”
BrightAuthor software v4.5 will enable a new feature on the HD, XD and XT players called Mosaic Mode, which allows a multitude of lower-resolution videos to be played in multiple video zones that add up to the total resolution decoding power of the player’s video decoder. CEA HDR 10 is supported on all players delivering a much higher contrast ratio and much wider color palette, complementing the higher resolution of 4K displays. And the ability to real-time encode and stream content from the player to another end-point or device is now incorporated in XD and XT players.
B-Deploy, a powerful new feature that allows customers to set up and deploy from tens to thousands of players all at once, can be used with the BrightSign Network, a BrightSign Partner CMS, or an on-premise secure corporate LAN with internet access.
BrightSign Network, including the new B-Deploy feature, now supports media and player tagging for highly targeted content distribution to large networks of players.
Each of the seven new players boasts a sleek new industrial design with a very slim profile under 1” in height that makes it possible to place the players virtually anywhere. All new players integrate H.265 (HEVC playback features) and HTML5. The top two product lines (XD and XT) offer a hardware-accelerated H.265 video decoding engine capable of 4K HDR 10-bit video playback.
BrightSign’s portfolio of digital signage media players is now comprised of seven players spanning four product lines:
BrightSign’s LS423 is a fully featured, commercial-grade player offering a superior alternative to consumer devices often chosen for price-sensitive digital signage installations. Based on the award-winning BrightSign HD platform, BrightSign LS423 delivers signature reliability and affordability, with a robust feature set including H.265 Full HD video decoding, a basic HTML5 engine, USB 2.0 type C, and networking.
BrightSign’s new HD models are updated with advanced technology that delivers power and performance for mainstream applications at a very affordable cost. Both the HD223 and HD1023 offer hardware-accelerated HTML5 engine and 1080p60 decode, along with BrightSign’s highly reliable media-handling platform and signature ease of use. All HD models support Gigabit Ethernet, as well as robust interactive controls and dynamic live content features.
BrightSign’s two new XD players are capable of decoding either two 1080p60 videos or a single 4K video and a single 1080p60 video simultaneously. Both the XD233 and XD1033 have Gigabit Ethernet and offer an advanced hardware-accelerated HTML5 engine.
The BrightSign XT243 and XT1143 offer unsurpassed performance with the company’s fastest HTML and graphics engine and the most powerful CPU. This state-of-the-art technology for enterprise level digital signage installations supports dual video decode of one 4K and one 1080p60 video simultaneously. The hardware-accelerated HTML5 engine enables flawless playback of multiple modular HTML5 assets including CSS animations, Web GL and swipe/gesture interactivity. Both XT models support PoE+ and Gigabit Ethernet, and the XT1143 offers HDMI-in for Live TV playback.
For more information about BrightSign’s complete portfolio of digital signage hardware and software, contact Vision One on (03) 9467-3777.
Live streaming is hardly considered a specialty service anymore. Most performance venues are realising it’s virtually a requirement to stay with the times in an increasingly online, inter-connected world. TV channel counts are dwarfed by the gazillion options available live on the Internet, and stream-hosting websites like ustream.tv and livestream.com have never been busier.
Pearl is a solution that allows you to integrate live streaming functionality without requiring a complete overhaul of your pre-installed AV systems. It’s designed for live video production, and provides switching and recording functionality in addition to streaming. Up to four HD video sources can be connected to the rack unit, all of which can be displayed in a variety of system via HDMI, SDI, or analogue TRS inputs.
Users can facilitate the power of the Pearl to record a session, edit it, and get a package up online within 24 hours with the easy access format, providing simplicity to integrate directly into Final Cut or Premiere Pro. The Pearl can also be custom-branded, giving customers a totally whitelabeled experience to present to their visitors.