AV Technology - Technology Manager's Guide to Conferencing Audio - November 2021

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Audio is finally getting its due. High-quality audio is undeniably the most vital element to ensure a successful and intelligible conferencing meeting or hybrid learning experience.



IN THIS ISSUE AV/IT Teams................................................................................06 A nearly 100-year-old family business gets a robust conferencing solution upgrade for the 21st century. | An integrated audio and video conferencing solution helps new business dreams come true from high atop the New York City skyline. | A network of “futuristic,” IP-based phones facilitates effortless co-working for WeWork members across the globe.

Photo: Jabra


Thought Leaders........................................................................18 Twenty industry thought leaders discuss microphone and speaker technologies and solutions that will ensure clear and intelligible virtual communication and collaboration. They share best practices for achieving parity near and far.

Case-in-Point ..............................................................................30 Seven case studies from around the globe make audio intelligibility a top priority. Whether HyFlex and hybrid learning modalities or connecting remote offices on opposite sides of the world, clear communications and ease-of-use are vital. Photo: Yamaha

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Products That Matter ..............................................................38 Twenty-three conferencing audio products that make a difference

Photo: Bose


FOLLOW US twitter.com/AVTechnologyMag CONTENT VP/Content Creation Anthony Savona Brand and Content Director Cindy Davis, cindy.davis@futurenet.com Contributing Writer, Macy O’Hearn Managing Design Director Nicole Cobban Design Director Sam Richwood Production Managers Heather Tatrow, Nicole Schilling


AUDIO GETS IS DUE by Cindy Davis

ADVERTISING SALES VP/Market Expert, AV/Consumer Electronics & Pro Audio

“YOU’RE ON MUTE!” will undoubtedly go

during the pandemic, it was that the pencil

down as one of the signature catchphrases of

pushers looking to save money in areas they felt

Janis Crowley, janis.crowley@futurenet.com,

2020/21. Unfortunately, that’s not the only reason

expendable were also subject to unintelligible


conference participants can’t hear each other. The

audio. Please copy the link to this guide and send

use of cheap headsets, or worse, the reliance on

it to the audio naysayers, and let them know you

laptop audio, are among the reasons millions of

have a solution that will save them money in the

students couldn’t hear instructors, and remote

long run. When student engagement goes up,

workers suffered through unintelligible meetings.

hybrid meeting fatigue goes down, and there is

Adam Goldstein, adam.goldstein@futurenet.com, 212-378-0465

Debbie Rosenthal, debbie.rosenthal@futurenet.com, 212-378-0473 Zahra Majma, zahra.majma@futurenet.com, 845-678-3752 SUBSCRIBER CUSTOMER SERVICE To subscribe to AV Technology or Future’s other AV industry brands, go to https://www.smartbrief.com/subscribe LICENSING/REPRINTS/PERMISSIONS AVTechnology is available for licensing. Contact the Licensing team to discuss partnership opportunities.

Unintelligible audio would almost be forgivable

parity near and far—feel free to say, “I told you so.”

if it were a problem born of the pandemic. But audio has long been the forgotten partner in


what we call “AV.” For as long as there have been

By illuminating the stories of AV/IT managers and

conference meetings with a star-shaped two-way

technology stakeholders, as well as exploring the


device placed in the middle of the table, audio has

innovations of our industry’s manufacturers and

Senior Vice President, B2B Rick Stamberger

gotten short shrift. All meetings became a huddle

solution providers, we hope the AV Technology

room experience.

Manager’s Guides become your go-to resource


Vice President, Sales & Publishing, B2B Aaron Kern Vice President, B2B Tech Group Carmel King Vice President, Sales, B2B Tech Group Adam Goldstein Head of Production US & UK Mark Constance Head of Design Rodney Dive FUTURE US, INC. 130 West 42nd Street, 7th Floor New York NY 10036

If you’re reading this, you are a member of

throughout the year.

our audiovisual industry. With few exceptions,

AV Technology is your forum. Please drop me

intelligible audio should always be prioritized.

a line at cindy.davis@futurenet.com and tell me

Manufacturers often use “high-quality” to describe a product that translates to higher cost,

about your latest AV/IT project. Nominate a tech manager for a profile.

which subsequently gets slashed during a budget review. The madness has got to stop. All contents ©2021 Future US, Inc. or published under licence. All rights reserved. No part of this

If there was a silver lining to be found

Let’s share best practices and keep the momentum going.

magazine may be used, stored, transmitted or reproduced in any way without the prior written permission of the publisher. Future Publishing Limited (company number 2008885) is registered in England and Wales. Registered office: Quay House, The Ambury, Bath BA1 1UA. All information contained in this publication is for information only and is, as far as we are aware, correct at the time of going to press. Future cannot accept any responsibility for errors or inaccuracies in such information. You are advised to contact manufacturers and retailers directly with regard to the price of products/services referred to in this publication. Apps and websites mentioned in this publication are not under our control. We are not responsible for their contents or any other changes or updates to them. This magazine is fully independent and not affiliated in any way with the companies mentioned herein. If you submit material to us, you warrant that you own the material and/or have the necessary rights/permissions to supply the material and you automatically grant Future and its licensees a licence to publish your submission in whole or in part in any/all issues and/or editions of


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Stroll through the electronic corridors of Avnetwork.com and stop in our library of AV Technology Manager’s Guides. Brought to you by our erudite editors and expert contributors, The Technology Manager’s Guide to... series presents an in-depth look into the most important areas affecting your bottom line. Explore our Guides to Boardroom AV, Streaming Media, Digital Signage in Education, and many more. Our Guides are completely free to download and they are yours to keep.


Modest Roots, Global Connectivity A nearly 100 year-old family business gets a robust conferencing solution upgrade for the 21st century. By AV Technology

A welcoming, people-first environment is at the heart of LC Packaging’s global headquarters in Amsterdam.


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icture Amsterdam in the 1920's: A bustling metropolis, it was full of wide lanes, commerce, and unique cultural touchstones— and, it turns out, many bag traders. The predominant packaging material of the time was the jute bag. Merchants purchased used bags, cleaned them, repaired them, and sent them back out into the world, and Wilhelmus Lammers—known as Wim—was ready to join the fray. He set up his own company and started trading in the bags, joining an industry that traded tens of millions of bags each year. Now, almost a century later, the company he started in 1923 as NV Zakkenhandel v/h W. Lammers is still active. Though it has since changed names to Lammers & Van Cleeff BV, and later, to its current moniker of LC Packaging, the family-run company has grown significantly. It’s now a multinational company providing the food industry with packaging solutions and includes more than 1,500 employees across Africa, Asia, and Europe. The fourth generation of Lammers is now in charge, and the company’s services have expanded considerably, but the soul of the company remains the same. Committed, reliable, and loyal—these core values still guide the organization’s every move; the jute bag is still one of its key products. LC Packaging continues to weave a lasting story of bold entrepreneurship, close partnerships, vision, and honesty. To continue telling it, the company needed a new space to carry that legacy forward. CRAFTING A MODERN MEETING SPACE Though the roots of LC Packaging are clear, it’s a growing organization with branches spreading across the globe. With production facilities, offices, and warehouses spread out over 16 countries, LC Packaging needed a way to ensure the connections between them were as strong and efficient as it would be if they were located in same building. This desire to maintain strong ties to its history while ensuring an effortless connection amongst employees resulted in a modern head-

Photography: Bose

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quarters in the Netherlands. This new facility featured cutting-edge technology and sustainability, plus a homey atmosphere that fostered a focus on relationships—something upon which the company has built its legacy. The mission was simple: craft a space that evoked what makes LC Packaging so unique, but ensure it also provides intuitive ways for employees to have efficient, clear, and simple engagements with colleagues and clients around the world. This collaboration could not feel like distant parties speaking through a screen, but instead as though they’re interacting in real time, in person, with everyone involved heard loud and clear—without muffled voices, ambient noise, or technological failure. To bring this vision to life, LC Packaging tapped system integrator AVEX. In turn, Bose Professional solutions played a key role in making this modern meeting space a reality. “Our instructions to AVEX were very simple—create a smart work environment in which people can effortlessly and effectively communicate and cooperate with one another,” said Nick Jansen, LC Packaging’s director in Europe. “With the aid of innovative, trendsetting audiovisual solutions, we’ve managed to create the most state-of-theart workplace in the world for our people.” AN UNMATCHED SUITE OF SOLUTIONS LC Packaging’s new global headquarters was one of the first installation projects for the Bose Videobar VB1 all-in-one USB conferencing device. The Bose VB1 was integrated into a holistic solution featuring ControlSpace EX-4ML endpoints, ControlSpace EX-1280C conferencing sound processors, DesignMax DM3C loudspeakers, FreeSpace IZA 2120-HZ integrated zone amplifier, MB210 subwoofer, and Panaray MSA12X steerable array loudspeakers. The solution also included the creation of BYOD meeting spaces, allowing employees the freedom to use technology that best meets their work style. People walk into the room, use the single-cable connectivity, and go, without fighting to make the technology work for the first 10 minutes of the meeting. The Bose Videobar VB1 is used as a complete solution with the Crestron FLEX UC touchscreen, a low-cost alternative that is fast to set up and implement when compared to other full-room solutions. The solution was implemented in several areas throughout the new headquarters, culminat-


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Bose Professional solutions help meetings at LC Packaging feel less like talking through a screen at a distant party, and more like an in-person conversation happening in real time.

LC Packaging stays on the cutting-edge of conferencing with technology from Bose Professional.

ing in ensuring that employees could collaborate efficiently and effectively both in person and through the Bose Videobar VB1. Jansen was pleased with the outcome. “Despite all the different technology and tools in our communication and collaboration rooms, we’ve made it so that the experience is extremely uniform,” he said. “This has greatly improved employee adoption and usability, and we’re already seeing the benefits.” SUSTAINABLE, SEAMLESS COLLABORATION The LC Packaging headquarters is a marvel of modern collaboration and clear, intelligible sound experience. Across agile meeting rooms and throughout the common areas, AV technology is integrated and simple to use, yet powerful in execution. In the end, the space upheld the desire for modern connectivity while still maintaining the commitment to people, unity, and togetherness that has defined LC Packaging for nearly 100 years. In working with AVEX and Bose Professional, the company also achieved its goal of meeting all the requirements of the BREEAM Outstanding certification—the world’s leading sustainability rating and a level of sustainability that fewer than 1 percent of non-domestic buildings in the UK meet. AVEX is known to work from a user-focused perspective, and the Bose Videobar VB1 facilitated that user-first focus, making it simple for employees to interact with and use the technology to its fullest potential. LC Packaging has always been about its people, and the audiovisual solutions mirror that commitment.

Our instructions to AVEX were very simple— create a smart work environment in which people can effortlessly and effectively communicate and cooperate with one another.” — Nick Jansen, LC Packaging’s director in Europe

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WeWork co-workers enjoy natural-sounding wireless HD calls with Konftel’s patented OmniSound technology.


Worldwide Wireless Conferencing A network of “futuristic,” IP-based phones facilitates effortless co-working for WeWork members across the globe. By AV Technology


here are certainly lots of large companies in the world with multiple meeting rooms requiring conferencing technology. And then there’s New York-based WeWork, whose very business is to provide collaboration space for its half-million-plus members in more than 150 cities across six continents. To do so, WeWork maintains a stockpile of roughly 10,000 wireless, IP-based Konftel 300Wx conference phones that are easy for people to use and for WeWork staff to maintain. “Globally, we have more than 16,000 conference rooms,” explained Nick Nienaber, head of audiovisual at WeWork. “For those rooms where we offer members communication technology, we ended up having pretty specific needs, and Konftel has been an incredible partner in providing the right solution.”


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TACKLING SHARED WORKSPACE CHALLENGES Locations are managed by local staff, who need to ensure the available technology is ready and operational each time a WeWork member wants to use a space. In the beginning, the company had a small team dedicated to deploying and supporting technology, which made offering communication devices a challenge. Early attempts to offer other companies’ conference phones in WeWork’s co-working facilities hit various snags. Some members would unplug them from the wall to access power for other use, or they’d disconnect the network cable. Depending on the size of the room, others just wanted to move the phones around freely. “The members were decommissioning the devices for the next member who might

Image Credit: Konftel

want to use that conference room,” said Ofir Hirak, director of technology for WeWork. “This presented a big IT hurdle.” Then one day, Hirak remembers being pulled out of a meeting to preview a new conferencing solution from Konftel. It was wireless—both in terms of power and networking—and communicated via IP, which dovetailed with the company’s adoption of VoIP services to its locations. Moreover, it was aesthetically in line with WeWork’s identity as a modern startup serving a largely tech-savvy clientele. “Frankly, they looked really cool,” Nienaber said. “Like a futuristic device.” The benefits of the device proved extremely practical, too. LONG-LASTING PERFORMANCE The Konftel 300Wx wireless conference phone includes the “futuristic” unit itself plus a charging cradle and a SIP-compliant Konftel IP DECT base station for enabling cordless communication from the conference phone to the physical IP network. The DECT (Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications) standard is used widely around the world and doesn’t interfere with other wireless technologies in common use, such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. This was important to WeWork because it employs a global technology standard across the vast majority of its more than 800 locations. Early on, it was clear that not every WeWork conference room required a conferencing phone. Usage data from its VoIP providers helped the technology team identify how many rooms needed to offer communication capabilities and therefore how many 300Wx solutions Konftel would deliver. Each Konftel solution incorporates the company’s patented OmniSound technology and support for wireless HD calls, resulting in clear, natural-sounding communication. The conference phone can support meetings of up to 20 people, and the wireless conference phones themselves last up to 60 hours per charge (270 hours in standby)—a huge benefit for the WeWork staff who need to make sure the phones are ready each time a conference room is in use. In each WeWork conference room, the Konftel 300Wx phone and charger are set out for members’ use, while the Konftel IP DECT sits in a box behind the room’s display along with other AV equipment. “Rooms can be serviced and managed

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The co-working spaces at WeWork feature an intuitive audio and video collaboration ecosystem.

individually, so you don't have to worry about one rack of devices or chargers, which was really good for us,” Nienaber said. The 60-hour battery life helps, especially when members forget to put the conference phones back with their chargers. “We don’t keep the phones and chargers centralized and don’t always have somebody doing sweeps to make sure they’re charged at the end of every day, so the phones sometimes get left on the table,” Nienaber added. Overall, for a fast-growing company supporting conference spaces around the world, the Konftel solution was a great fit. “The simplicity of rolling it out alongside the rest of our AV gear had a lot to do with why it became a standard and why we put it pretty much everywhere,” Nienaber explained. ONGOING SUPPORT AND INNOVATION WeWork continues to work with Konftel, not only in support of its existing conferencing technology, but also as it looks to the future. For example, explained Hirak, when WeWork wanted to disable a feature of the Konftel phones that could allow members to record calls, Konftel engineers quickly developed a firmware update. When WeWork explored new VoIP providers in certain markets, Konftel


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"WeWork’s conferencing needs are pretty unique, especially when it comes to eventually implementing video." — Nick Nienaber, head of audiovisual at WeWork

engineers helped with that firmware change, too. And because the Konftel 300Wx is upgradable via SD memory card, WeWork staff could easily administer the software changes. “We were able to mail SD cards to the sites and community managers were able to pop them in, push a couple of buttons, and the phones were up and running on a new VoIP platform in a couple of minutes,” Hirak said. Looking ahead, WeWork is exploring ways to offer more video conferencing capabilities to its members. The challenges are less technical—Konftel solutions, including cameras, already support the breadth of popular video collaboration platforms—than logistic. Not only must a WeWork conference room solution support all the video platforms members might prefer, but it must also be able to seamlessly change from Google Hangouts for one meeting to Zoom for another, for instance, as members take turns using the WeWork space. “WeWork’s conferencing needs are pretty unique, especially when it comes to eventually implementing video,” Nienaber concluded. “Konftel has been proactive about showing us new things. We’re very much on the same wavelength when it comes to what is important to our members.”


Innovation Amplifier From high atop the New York City skyline, an integrated audio and video conferencing solution helps new business dreams come true. By AV Technology


n the 29th floor of 900 Third Avenue, in the very heart of Manhattan, is Gateway, a state-of-the-art co-working and innovation hub. As part of the SwedishAmerican Chamber of Commerce (SACCNY)— the oldest international chamber of commerce in the United States—Gateway’s mission is to help Scandinavian companies gain a strategic foothold and become more successful in the US market. Recently, top communication technology brands Sennheiser, Barco, and QSC all collaborated to help deliver a fully integrated, world class conferencing and equipment demonstration environment within Gateway’s 20,000 square feet facility. ACCELERATING NEW BUSINESSES Gateway opened its doors in January of 2019 as a landing and launchpad for Scandinavian businesses, providing members everything they need to help accelerate their success—whether it be business matchmaking, service-oriented partnerships, administrative setup, desk and event space, and myriad other offerings. The Gateway conferencing and technology demonstration center—which features

advanced video conferencing-oriented solutions from Sennheiser, Barco, and QSC among other brands—was implemented during 2020 and was completed in March of 2021. Anna Throne-Holst was appointed as SACCNY’s president in 2017 following life as a public servant—including running on the Democratic ticket for congress in the 2016 election and serving as a town supervisor on Long Island. “In my public life, much of my work was supporting small business,” she said. “So, when I was offered the opportunity with SACCNY, I jumped on it, with the goal of creating a model chamber, offering both services and support to the innovation and start-up sectors, while facilitating important synergies with the long-time, large corporate members. Now, Gateway is a co-working, meeting, and innovation platform mostly geared toward Swedish start-ups and corporates, but open to other companies as well.” The opening of Gateway coincided with a move to SACCNY’s current location, which afforded more office space and room to grow. “We needed to be there for our members, and the move meant we could create myriad

working and event-based spaces for these entrepreneurs and innovators,” Throne-Holst added. SACCNY boasts an impressive membership: a bona-fide “who’s who” in Scandinavian innovation that includes large- and mid-sized companies in a variety of sectors. It also serves as a knowledge and networking incubator for start-ups looking to make their mark in a dynamic market that craves new ideas and fresh insights. The collaboration among Sennheiser, Barco, and QSC came about as Throne-Holst began exploring a technology upgrade. “I wanted to create a state-of-the-art meeting space,” she recalled. A ROOM WITH A VIEW Throne-Holst’s idea was a winner all around: for members, it meant access to world-class conferencing technology in a beautiful working environment, right in the heart of Manhattan. For Sennheiser, Barco, QSC and a handful of other companies, it meant an ideal technology showcase to demonstrate the quality, functionality, and efficiency of ground-breaking products. To move the project forward, she engaged long-time technology evangelist Greg Harper, president of Harpervision Associates, VP of infrastructure for Shorelight Education, and technology advisor for several highly regarded companies and financial institutions. Harper embraced the idea, and subsequently pitched it to Sennheiser, Barco, and QSC. “For us, it was a no-brainer,” Throne-Holst said. “Greg loved what we were doing up here and we all became friends.” The showcase room within the 20,000 square-foot facility is “Room with a View,” which provides seating and video conferencing space for up to 12 people. It features a Sennheiser TeamConnect Ceiling 2 (TCC2) microphone, which incorporates beamforming technology; this enables the microphone to follow the speaker. The TCC2 is connected to a QSC Q-SYSTM Core 110f, which serves as a room controller, supporting up to 256 channels of networked audio and multiple instances of VoIP. “The Core 110f is connected to three cameras which use auto-tracking,” Harper explained. “So, we are getting the data from the Sennheiser TCC2 microphone and using that data to switch the cameras based on who is speaking.”

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IMMERSIVE, USER-FRIENDLY CONFERENCING Aside from the fact that there are no microphones on the conference room table, one of the first things people notice when walking into the Room with a View conference space is the bright, 14-foot Barco X 1.2 LED video wall, which is being driven by a Barco E2 Gen 2, which handles all the processing and offers flexible layouts. Barco's ClickShare technology allows for seamless, engaging wireless conferencing in Gateway’s meeting rooms. In Room with a View, ClickShare Conference enables truly agnostic BYOM (Bring Your Own Meeting) capabilities, allowing users easy access to the advanced AV present in the room. “We have a QSC touch panel, so guests can come in there and say, ‘I want to do a Teams meeting,’ or, 'I want to do a Zoom meeting.' Or they can just bring in their own laptop with their preferred VC solution,” Harper said. Since ClickShare is installed and ubiquitous throughout the space, users can connect and present wirelessly—no matter where they are located on the 29th floor. Meantime, the inbound audio in Room with a View is reproduced through two pairs of QSC speakers—two in the front and two in the rear. While Room with a View offers breathtaking views of New York City, the bountiful glass and hardwood floors and a hard ceiling presented several acoustic challenges. Thankfully, the Sennheiser TCC2 helped mitigate undesirable sound reflections since the microphone is designed to pick up the subject rather than the room itself. “We tried several different microphones in there and as soon as we used the TCC2, it just sounded better,” Harper said. "I am very familiar with acoustics and how things sound, and I think this is among the best ceiling microphones out there," he continued. "Sennheiser has a unique capability of sounding really good while giving me very accurate positioning control, with the ability of creating exclusion zones.” By creating exclusion zones, users of TCC2 can eliminate sounds coming from HVAC systems, or other noise sources. INTELLIGENT BOARD ROOM AV The Board Room is one of Gateway’s larger rooms, providing seating for 18 people. The space is accented with several tables measuring


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"And you are taking advantage of this beautiful Barco LED wall, Sennheiser microphones, and QSC speakers. You get the whole package: highquality audio, stunning visual communication, lots of control, and remote capability." — Greg Harper, president of Harpervision Associates

roughly 5-feet square, which can be moved around to accommodate different types of meetings, such as seminars or smaller events. It also features a Barco 16-foot UniSee video wall with multiple LCD panels, which delivers a uniform degree of brightness and color throughout, as well as two Sennheiser TCC2s. Once again, everything is connected to a QSC Core 110f processor, which serves as the primary technology interface, and Barco's ClickShare Conference enables wireless universal sharing of information from the user’s own device across presentation platforms. In the Board Room, the Sennheiser TCC2s are used to drive a 1 Beyond Autotracker system, which has seven built-in cameras and is able to track and switch cameras based on the location of the audio source. “The Sennheiser TCC2 has XYZ data coming out of it that is very accurate, so it can actually detect whether someone is standing or sitting," Harper explained. "Once this data is extrapolated, the system can automatically direct the camera where it needs to go among hundreds of possible locations.” In the Board Room, there are two cameras on the left side of the room facing the right side; two cameras on the right side facing the left side; and three cameras at the center pointed at the end tables, the head of the table, and a default wide shot. DYNAMIC ADJACENT SPACES Another smaller space in the facility is the media lab, which is a retrofitted storage room that has been outfitted with a similar combination of technology: the Sennheiser TCC2 and QSC cameras connected to a QSC Core 110f processor, as well as several video screens. Finally, the Event Room features seating for 60, or room for 100 people standing. While the Event Room was not able to be used for many months due to the pandemic, Gateway is eager to resume its in-person events and programming. "During the pandemic, we had to re-think how we do our events," Anna ThroneHolst said. “And part of what we thought about was, ‘How do we do digital meetings in a way that really functions?’ This led to a webinar series we called ‘Checking the Pulse’ with corporate metrics, where we touch on an array of different things. The next series we are going to do is on investment tools: IPOs, M&As, and more.”

Image Credit: Sennheiser

Sennheiser’s TCC2 microphone helps mitigate undesirable sound reflections in Room with a View, since the microphone is designed to pick up the subject rather than the room itself.

“Our collaboration with Barco, QSC, and the SACCNY really demonstrates the power of combining our respective best-of-breed communications technologies,” commented Charlie Jones, global business development manager of Sennheiser. “In this case, our TCC2 ceiling microphone was able to deliver both audio clarity and intelligibility while working within a highly reflective, acoustically challenging environment. Moreover, the seamless interoperability of our TCC2, Barco’s LED Walls and QSC’s processing has resulted in a worldclass video conferencing solution for SACCNY and its members.” WORLD-CLASS VIDEO CONFERENCING Now that Throne-Holst has a robust, state of the art video conferencing capability in place, she is anxious to augment this capability with

in-person events—which, before the pandemic, were held approximately two to three times per week. Greg Harper said that while the technology in Gateway is truly state of the art, it is most effective when it is invisible. "Executives don't want to have to think about the technology; they want a video conferencing experience to be as authentic as possible." Part of the beauty of Gateway is that the video conferencing technology works with just about any device. "Our setup is truly BYOD—this is extremely powerful, and you don’t get that in many places," Harper concluded. "And you are taking advantage of this beautiful Barco LED wall, Sennheiser microphones, and QSC speakers. You get the whole package: high-quality audio, stunning visual communication, lots of control, and remote capability. What else could you want?"

"Sennheiser has a unique capability of sounding really good while giving me very accurate positioning control, with the ability of creating exclusion zones.” — Greg Harper, president of Harpervision Associates

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Photograph by Getty Images


SOUND ADVICE By Cindy Davis and Macy O’Hearn


he hybrid university campus and workplace are here to stay. But near and far, the experience must improve

to sustain the desire to learn and work from anywhere. Reliable, intelligible audio is the lynchpin that holds the entire conferencing experience together. In the following pages, industry thought leaders discuss microphone and speaker technologies and solutions that will ensure

clear, natural-sounding virtual communication and collaboration. They share best practices and shed light on what we can expect as the demand for hybrid solutions grows.


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DAVID LAMBERT Vice President of Audio Technologies, ClearOne Communications It is important to remember that any conferencing space is only as good as the audio foundation. Without clear audio, participants will become frustrated or miss key information. A critical factor in a conference system is the room itself. A highly reflective room with very high ambient noise will reduce the overall intelligibility and result in listener fatigue as they strain to understand every word. Thanks to the latest innovations in the microphone array technologies that help the microphones perform better in acoustically challenging spaces, rejecting unwanted reflections by creating highly focused beams, deep sidelobe processing, and adaptive noise cancellation algorithms help improve the signal-to-noise ratio. Popular conferencing platforms such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams have their own echo-and noise-cancellation features. Understanding the audio processing your conferencing service provides, your adjustment options, and how your in-room audio hardware will interact is important for delivering a reliable conferencing experience. Gain structure is also key. Many popular video codecs for smaller rooms utilize consumer- or mic-level audio inputs. Providing proper audio levels to these devices from your room mixer is key to maintaining a good signal-to-noise ratio and natural sound. The devices in use outside of the room directly impact all aspects of audio quality, such as hands-free speakerphones and mobile Bluetooth connections versus traditional telephone handsets. Both the near- and far-end room acoustics, etiquette, and equipment come into play when considering a successful conferencing system strategy. Microphones are often placed improperly to clearly hear those speaking, especially with BYOD options including laptops, mobile devices, and the myriad connections to cloud-based video conferencing apps. In short, the key to video conferencing is to achieve excellent audio. Audio has always been, and always will be, the foundation of any meeting. It must be consistently clear and natural-sounding, as well as be easy to use, monitor, and manage.

HOLGER STOLTZE Senior Manager of Technical Sales and Marketing, Yamaha Unified Communications A video conference without audio becomes a pantomime, and that’s why for remote meetings and hybrid learning experiences, it’s essential to invest in audio solutions that suit the size and nature of the meeting, capture the voices of all participants, correct for poor room acoustics, block out unwanted noise, and are easy to configure and use. Microphone type, style, and configuration are naturally top considerations for capturing the voices of presenters and participants. Will the mic need to capture a small group around a table, a moving presenter, or questions from the audience? For smaller groups—wearable microphones, directional tabletop mics, or a portable speakerphone can keep the microphone close to the speakers for better sound pickup even in acoustically challenging rooms. For larger gatherings, consider using ceilingmounted multi-beam tracking microphone technology. These sophisticated mics automatically detect and capture voices from anywhere in the room, while noise reduction algorithms and adaptive acoustic echo cancellation block out ambient noise. For large audiences, also consider a line array speaker system for a more evenly distributed sound output pattern focused on the audience without wasting output energy on the spaces above and around them. Today’s smart audio technology is also capable of automating the solution of difficult communications and acoustical challenges while reducing setup time, costs, and complexity. Look for technology that automatically detects installed system components, configures the devices, and optimizes audio performance. Your system should be user-friendly while allowing for contactless conferencing. It should be compatible with your existing system so you can connect to legacy products such as control systems, codecs, and speakers. It should be easy for your AV/IT department to manage remotely. And finally, choose a unified communications system that is flexible, scalable, and reliable for a truly future-proof solution.

NATHAN COUTINHO Director of Global Conferencing Strategy, Logitech Audio, which is arguably the most critical part of a meeting room, often isn’t factored into the room design at all. Choosing the right audio subsystem with a mixture of microphones and speakers starts with the size of the room. For small rooms, including huddle spaces, video bars or cameras generally have highly capable microphones and speakers to provide the right audio levels for the space. For medium-sized rooms, it becomes important to start planning for the number of microphones in a room, especially if multiple people are seated 10 feet or farther away from the front of the room. Speakers in video bars are powerful enough to provide clear meeting audio to everyone in the room, but as the room gets larger, it may be necessary to add speakers throughout the room to provide a wider dimension to those in the room. In large conference rooms, including training rooms and U-shaped/custom rooms, special planning needs to be done to factor in where everyone will be seated, in order to ensure proper table or ceiling mic placement, as well as to determine where speakers should be installed. Many solutions are available on the market that combine advanced video camera systems with DSP systems to provide the right mix of audio and video for the specific environment.

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CONFERENCING AUDIO AS GOOD AS BEING THERE JAMES MCGUINNESS Systems Design Technician, TOA Hybrid working environments in the professional and educational landscape have become the norm in our everyday lives. While some are still fully or partially remote, many people have resumed traveling daily to business and higher education campuses. When it comes to keeping connected, video conferencing has become foundational. High-quality video is unanimously the first encounter many of us experience, yet audio is the primary component in ensuring truly successful communication. Professional audio requires a bit of planning, as well as following a few best practices to guarantee a dynamic, highly intelligible space. THE RIGHT SOLUTION FOR THE ROOM If you want to really understand what is going on in a meeting space, using a sound analyzer is a good place to start. An analyzer will give you data on frequency response in the room, bright spots, audio dips, and more. With this information, you can then choose the correct equipment for the application and use features within the equipment to adjust the audio response to maximize total room performance. The goal is to flatten the response in the room and then add only the boost, or cut, in sound contouring that may be needed. It is important to look at the size of the


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room as well, including ceiling height, room arrangement, and the materials comprising the room to understand what will happen when sound is present. Rooms with hard surfaces and little acoustic treatment pose a challenge due to reverberation and reflection, as they do not absorb sound. Conversely, rooms that have carpet, drapes, wall treatments, or soft furniture will absorb much of the sound. In rooms with minimal acoustic treatment, sound tends to be bright. This can lead to feedback—with sound bouncing all over the room—and thus, an intelligibility issue. For rooms with mid- to large-scale acoustic treatment, sound is a bit more controlled as it does not bounce around in the way a nontreated room does. In this case, however, it becomes essential for equipment to boast a bit more power to offset sound absorption. This helps for curbing feedback, but does not eliminate the possibility that it may still occur. Another crucial component is the placement of speakers in relation to microphones. TECHNOLOGY OPTIONS ABOUND One effective, go-to product for office meeting spaces is a soundbar conferencing system. This type of an all-in-one product is designed specifically for conferencing. Always check to see the range specification of the product to ensure it will cover the area of your room. These devices provide both speakers and microphones behind the grille. They look and act like a home audio soundbar, but are actually two-way devices—some actively tracking the person or persons speaking in the room, no matter where they are in the space. This type of solution provides complete conferencing

integration in a simple, one-unit install and does not require microphones on the table, freeing up valuable table space. Parameter settings are usually offered, making it easier to get the best performance in your meeting room application, especially when matched against the EQ results of your analyzer testing. Some models allow for API control and contact closure control for integration with existing control systems. If you already have an audio system in the conferencing space and want to add microphone pickup without adding a multitude of microphones on the table, beam steering array microphones work best. They can be placed on podiums, tables, or even on ceilings to minimize or even eliminate table usage. Depending on the model, beam steering can also often be controlled by either a built-in webpage or by an app. If a room requires a new audio system, the solution can be tailored to suit the space. Systems for larger rooms may require higher output, and in this case, the possibility of audio feedback should be checked. Newer integrated mixer-amplifiers can preemptively tackle this challenge, as they offer effective feedback suppression. Power outputs from 120 watts-plus are available to allow for sufficient power for almost any conference room space. Some offer Ethernet setup and monitoring for ease of control and support. Coupling this type of mixer with two-way ceiling speakers will give you superior sound performance. TOA offers a variety of audio solutions to make any room come alive, and provides free design assistance for acoustic project needs, as well as live support for our products.

DAVID MISSALL Insights Manager Consultants and Technical Application Engineer Manager, Business Communication, Sennheiser I may be biased, but I think that audio must always be the top priority in ensuring a successful hybrid meeting or learning experience. There are many things to take into account when designing audio for video conferencing, like microphone and speaker placement, as well as the workflow of the customer. To increase our odds of having a good-sounding room, the best place to start is with a better acoustically designed room. This means that we should get the architect connected with the AV consultant as soon as possible, so that along with an aesthetically pleasing room, it can also incorporate proper room acoustics to keep reverb times down and maintain an overall lower noise floor. By starting with an acoustically friendly room, we can design a better audio experience for the customer and minimize the long-term disruption associated with audio dropouts, echoes, and other video conferencing issues that require regular troubleshooting. Conversations between customer, architect, and AV consultant can go a long way in clarifying the customers’ expectations and workflow. What is the room’s primary use? Who needs to be heard in the room? Will voice lift technology be needed? Will the far end need to be amplified in the room? With these details, we can start to zero in on the best possible mic and speaker placement to keep reflections and any chance of feedback at a minimum. These conversations can also help the customer understand the importance of audio in the overall design of the room.

DAVID GARLETT Manager, Key Accounts and Consultant Liaison, Audix Designing an intelligible conference room experience starts with understanding the room’s acoustic properties. The measurement of a conference room’s reflectivity (echo) is called RT60. RT60 is defined as the amount of time after the sound source ceases that it takes for the sound pressure level to reduce by 60 dB. For a conference room, RT60 can be thought of as the time it takes for the loudest sound in that room to fade to the level of background noise. Most ceiling microphones ideally need a room with an RT60 value between 0.2 seconds and 0.5 seconds to ensure acceptable vocal intelligibility on the other end of the conference call. For spaces that are highly reflective (RT60 above 0.5 seconds) getting the microphone closer to the presenter will always help. However, given that mics are typically placed in the ceiling, getting them closer to the presenter is often not practical. And increasing the number of mics to get them closer to participants introduces cost, complexity, installation, and even aesthetic challenges. For this reason, addressing the room’s acoustic challenges first is a best design practice. If you can find a way to lower the reflectivity in the room using acoustic treatments such as high-performance ceiling tile, acoustic curtains, or diffusers, the microphone can be further away from the presenter. You might be very surprised to hear the difference in intelligibility between a room with an RT60 of 0.38 seconds and a room with an RT60 of 0.54 seconds. The room with an RT60 of 0.38 seconds would likely be able to effectively use a mic positioned up to 18 feet from the presenter. The room with an RT60 of 0.54 seconds, however, would need a mic approximately 8 feet away to achieve similar speech intelligibility. Good conference room design starts with understanding the acoustic properties of the room itself. What is the RT60? How can it be improved? Tackling the acoustics first is essential to designing a high-performance and cost-effective conference room.

RENE MOERCH Product Manager DPA Microphones Achieving outstanding sound in acoustically challenged spaces can be tricky. Using the right microphones and the following best practices can help ensure a successful presentation. For most live applications, the microphone is the first link in the sound chain, especially in a conference room, where speech needs amplification. The aim of the microphone system is to provide sufficient and stable amplification―no audible system noise, natural and distortion-free sound, and excellent speech intelligibility. Some systems are manually controlled, while others are controlled by intelligent hardware or software to ensure that the correct microphone is turned on at the right time, at the right level. A proper mic paired with a good connection and audio system can reduce or negate several common acoustical issues, such as distortion, poor frequency response, system noise, interference from roaming mobile phones, poor speech intelligibility, and unstable amplification resulting. DPA’s range of supercardioid microphones combine controlled directionality with excellent rejection of background noise for even the most difficult spaces. DPA’s supercardioid mics also provide high gain-beforefeedback, with superior rejection of mobile phone interference and consistent sound from every microphone, every time.

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BRIAN RETZLAFF Solutions Engineer, Legrand | AV For conference rooms, there are basically two types of microphones to consider: table mics and ceiling mics. Before picking, consider the conditions of the room, including ceiling height, aesthetics, control panels, existing audio standards in the same building. Table mics can provide 360-degree coverage. Because of the table, there can be an acoustic gain in efficiency with the sound bouncing off the hard surface. A table mic can provide access to mute buttons and volume controls. For table setups, mics should be approximately two feet (0.6 meters) away from a presenter—a placement that optimizes voice pickup while minimizing ambient noise. This is fairly easy to accomplish when dealing with smaller spaces such as huddle rooms that are designed to accommodate a small group of people sitting around one table. For best audio results, echo cancellation and processing should occur at the mic, rather than within a soft client application such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams. For ceiling mics, installation requires an assessment of the immediate environment. Ideally, mics should descend to no more than approximately five feet (1.5 meters) above the person who is speaking. Extension cables can be used with higher ceilings, but they should be no longer than 15 feet (4.6 meters) in length. Otherwise, the mic and cable will act as an antenna and pick up ambient noise.


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LAUREN SIMMEN Director of Commercial Product Marketing, Crestron Electronics Audio often takes a backseat to video quality in modern hybrid work environments, but it’s critical in ensuring that everyone has an equal seat at the table—literally and virtually. Any discussion of audio begins with the physical space itself: What kind of room are we talking about? That’s going to inform best practices. Is it a huddle space or a large conference room? What kind of audio solutions do we need from remote participants? It’s important that the devices you specify enable everyone to hear and be heard. If you’re a remote worker attending a meeting and a sidebar conversation breaks out that’s inaudible, then that’s ultimately damaging to the collaborative experience that these kinds of gatherings should provide. If you’ve got a tabletop unit with an integrated, 360-degree array cardioid microphone, for example, and it has a range of 20 feet, you’ll need to ensure that the room isn’t 20-by-25-feet. Anyone speaking on the edge of that field on the long side will become inaudible for your virtual attendees. For a very large boardroom, you may even need to find solutions that amplify the people within the room—not just those who are attending remotely. No one likes to yell, and those mics can do double-duty in this regard, providing amplification for physical and digital attendees. Echo and noise cancellation features are extremely useful, too. As far as speakers are concerned, you’ll want to make sure you’ve got enough power and headroom to avoid distortion. Another consideration: Is the room loaded with hard, reflective surfaces that make audio problematic? There are lots of absorption and diffusion options on the market, and even heavy drapes in a boardroom can help. For the remote worker, organizations might want to consider shipping devices that are part of the same ecosystem as those being used on-campus. The quality of communications will remain consistent, and the work-from-home staff will be using gear that your IT department is already familiar with.

JOE DEBOLD Vice President of Sales, Americas – Enterprise, EPOS Audio While the world is underway in the new normal, the future of hybrid work is continuing to take shape as an increasing number of meetings take place virtually. According to recent research from IPSOS and EPOS, we now spend an average of over seven hours a week in virtual meetings—up two hours per week over the previous year. With more businesses looking to take advantage of the time and cost benefits of meeting virtually rather than in-person, ensuring that the quality of those meetings is of the utmost importance. And while high-quality audio is key, finding success with in the hybrid working model is about having an entire ecosystem of devices—audio and video—that enable today’s professionals to thrive. Organizations will need to invest in technology that people on both sides of the conversation can have confidence in. Research has shown that 88 percent of decision makers say that bad audio has caused their company issues in the last 12 months, but 77 percent of those decision makers also think that the right technology can alleviate those problems. At EPOS, we recognize that being able to read facial expressions and body language improves our ability to gauge peoples’ reactions to our ideas and allows conversations to flow more smoothly. Earlier this year we took our first steps into the video collaboration space with the introduction of the EXPAND Vision 3T—a video bar certified for Microsoft Teams Rooms on Android (MTRoA). This simple and intuitive device was designed specifically for focus and small meeting rooms of up to seven participants. Between the EPOS headsets and video bar, today’s workers will not only be able to hear, but also see more clearly as they collaborate with partners and colleagues around the world. Hybrid work is here to stay, but there is still something to be said for the human connection people get from face-to-face interactions. This means that replicating a natural experience in the virtual world is more important than ever—a feat which can only be achieved by investing in the right technology.

MARTIN BODLEY Director and Global Head of Bose Work, Bose Professional In this hybrid workplace world that most of us find ourselves in, it’s the IT managers who are focusing on both the needs of workers coming back into the office as well as the needs of remote employees. With this in mind, there are key points an IT manager should keep in mind when improving a meeting space to support how employees work. Whether in a huddle space or conference room— if participants can’t understand what’s being said, the meeting will not be productive. This can be addressed by changing how the space is outfitted (think soundabsorbing materials), as well as how and where audio equipment is placed. The video conferencing solution should be selected for the size of the space and how the space will be used. This can vary from an all-in-one videobar that provides both the A and V in a streamlined footprint, or an integrated room solution with mics and directional loudspeakers that provide room-filling

“The video conferencing solution should be selected for the size of the space and how the space will be used.” — Martin Bodley, Director and Global Head of Bose Work, Bose Professional

coverage patterns. IT managers can actually create more work by trying to use a cookie-cutter approach to spaces of different sizes and configurations. Knowing the optimal usage and limitations for the different types of AV equipment will make developing in-room solutions easier to identify and manage. In-ceiling loudspeakers are excellent solutions as they reduce reverberation if placed in the optimal position within the space. In higher-than-usual ceilings (more than 12 feet), a pendant-style loudspeaker can be placed closer to participants, who are likely seated in the room. If the space is reverberant, an acoustical treatment in the form of strategically placed soundabsorption materials will minimize disruption and distraction. We’re bombarded by sound everywhere, and while at certain levels ambient noise can enhance focus, it is critical that office noise can be managed so that it doesn’t impact voice intelligibility, comprehension, or productivity. By keeping in mind how the space will be used and understanding how employees’ technology expectations have changed over the last 18-20 months, IT managers will be better prepared for prioritizing needs and building processes that support the new hybrid workplace.

BRAD PRICE Senior Product Marketing Manager, Audinate An instructive lesson in how important audio is to video conferencing is to consider what happens if an element of the conference call fails. If video fails, the call can continue. It’s nice to have, but not a must-have. If the audio fails, however, you have a major issue on your hands. This must-have isn’t a binary consideration, either. Poor audio quality—either on the input or output— can cause major challenges for a meeting taking place. If participants can’t hear or be heard properly, the organization sees quick drop-offs in effectiveness. While many will rightly point to capabilities to ensure everyone is heard properly—be they beamforming microphones or digitally steerable loudspeakers—the backbone of ensuring a video conferencing system sounds good rests on the network. By choosing the correct audio-overIP protocol to route all signals, you can give yourself flexibility, scalability, management capabilities, streamlined troubleshooting, and ease of use. The right digital audio networking protocol allows you to distribute hundreds of uncompressed, multi-channel digital audio channels via standard Ethernet networks with near-zero latency and perfect synchronization. It also allows audio, control, and all other data to coexist effectively on the same network.


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MARK DONOVAN CTS-D, CTS-I, Applications Engineering Manager, Professional Markets, Audio-Technica In recent years, surfaceand flush-mount, ceiling array-type microphones have become a rapidly expanding microphone category. These units directly address many of the pros and cons of other form factors. The technology behind these devices allow them to achieve significant enhancements to the audio coming from the room, but some of these devices can be prohibitively expensive. Understanding all of your form factor options will help deliver a quality audio experience. From an audio standpoint, correctly used gooseneck microphones lead in the categories of intelligibility and sound source isolation, but they rank very low from an aesthetic standpoint. Gooseneck microphones can be distracting to both the user and to the far-end viewer since they must be placed directly in front of the talker. Further, since a gooseneck microphone can be repositioned by a talker, the potential for misuse is high. While the gooseneck microphone is the best choice acoustically, the need for enduser microphone etiquette training, as well as aesthetics, should also be considered. Desktop boundary microphones minimize or even eliminate obvious aesthetic problems by using a small on- or through-table design. These microphones take advantage of voice reflections from the table surface and can result in very clear and intelligible audio. These microphones can, however, be easily blocked by laptop computers or even covered by papers. The layout and practical usage of the table space should be carefully examined before choosing this form factor. Hanging microphones, whether they are simple, single-element microphones on the end of a wire or complex, multi-element ball-type microphones, have become increasingly popular as they are away from the work surface and usually out of the line of sight. Users do not need to worry about these microphones and they cannot be easily moved from their installation position. The visual impact on the space, as well as the simplicity of room use, can be greatly enhanced with hanging microphones, but extreme distances and highly reverberant spaces can render these microphones unusable.

CHRIS LYONS Senior Manager, Integrated Systems Marketing, Shure Audio components need to adapt to real-world conditions. A room might be used for a talk-to-the-screen video conference one day, a training session with an in-room presenter the next day, and a hybrid class with a remote instructor the day after that. Video conferencing has evolved to mean everything that sound reinforcement used to mean, with the addition of remote participants who may be passive listeners or discussion leaders. Choose microphones and audio DSP that offer a wide array of capabilities to accommodate the expectations and limitations posed by the client and the room. To adapt to these needs might dictate overhead microphones, or wireless table microphones, or a wall microphone—or a combination. What works in a spacious room with treated acoustics may not be right for a boxshaped huddle room with a glass wall. Accurate control of coverage is key. The far-site listener’s experience is affected just as much by how well they hear everyone in the room overall as by the pristine sound of one voice. This requires precise and even coverage of seating areas and the rejection of sound from where people are not. Occasional unwanted noises should ideally be eliminated, and altogether this can demand some acoustic and electronic gymnastics by the microphones and audio DSP. Don’t forget the logistical factors. Systems that are certified to work seamlessly with the chosen collaboration platform can make the difference between an efficient commissioning and endless rounds of tweaking and troubleshooting. Also recognize the limitations of budget and complexity that the job will tolerate. In some cases, a solution that can be endlessly customized may not be worth it to a customer with a simple room scenario who really wants a turn-key package that can be installed quickly and at lower cost.

PETER BREWER Training Manager, SAVI Controls While a clear video feed for conference calls is always nice, clear audio is a must. Your audio will make or break the call. There are many options out there for audio devices, but the most important thing is that the user is comfortable with the microphone setup. Headsets are a great option, as they ensure the microphone is always close to the presenter’s mouth and the speakers are built into the headphones. This way the presenter can feel free to move about and not have to worry about whether they’re facing the microphone or not. Another great option is a presentation camera with a built-in microphone and speaker. These are generally set up at the end of a room and allow anyone in the room to be heard and seen. The other benefit here is that you only need to connect one cable to your PC to gain access to a camera, microphone, and speaker. Regardless of the physical device that’s used,

“The most important thing is that the user is comfortable with the microphone setup..” — Peter Brewer, Training Manager, SAVI Controls

best practice is to always test your microphone and speakers before your conference call. The goal here is to turn the microphone up enough so that you’re speaking comfortably, and so that everyone on the other end of the call can hear you clearly. Another thing to consider when setting up your conference environment is acoustics. If you’re using a headset, acoustics aren’t too much of a concern since the microphone is so close to your mouth. But if you’re using any other kind of microphone, room acoustics can have a

huge impact on your sound quality. If you’re in a very large conference room, your voice might echo off the walls, ceiling, and floor. This can make your audio sound washed out and difficult to understand. In this case, sounddampening techniques should be applied. Carpet is a common way to tame the room, but you may need to invest in some acoustical tiles for the walls or ceiling. Small rooms can benefit from these treatments as well, but the impact will be greatest in large spaces.

SHAUN ROBINSON Vice President of Product Management, Xilica Two distinct approaches are taking shape with audio conferencing in modern meeting rooms of varied sizes. Huddle spaces, for example, require less architecture, as they are smaller rooms with limited acoustical challenges serving small audiences. These rooms are typically well-served by web conferencing soundbars. Audio problems intensify in mediumto-large conference and training rooms. There are more physical attendees, and web conferencing soundbars will not provide an even audio dispersion throughout the room. A key consideration for this space is the remote attendees participating in the meeting through web conferencing platforms. Modern conference room designs, while often sleek and inviting, bring new acoustical challenges. We are seeing more reflective surfaces and an increase in the use of glass, including floor-to-ceiling windows. These surfaces intensify echo and reverberations that not only hinder speech intelligibility for listeners but distract speakers as voice echoes back through the microphone. The AV industry has made strides in solving new problems that have surfaced with hybrid meetings and blended learning. Ceiling microphones with dynamic beamforming technology now effectively isolate the speaker from other audio events in the room, which assists DSPs in filtering out reverberations.


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SAM NORD Vice President of Global Sales, Listen Technologies Video conferencing isn’t new, but its significance and people’s familiarity with the technology increased exponentially during the pandemic when it suddenly became a lifeline to connect with family and colleagues. I’m sure we can all relate to the familiar issues arising from coworkers who forget to unmute before speaking, or a family member who unknowingly interrupted a work or school meeting while we navigated life from home. As we return to school, the workplace, and in-person events, video conferencing won’t go away. It has proven to be an invaluable resource for those who cannot meet in person or choose not to because of distance, scheduling, childcare needs, illness, or other reasons. To optimize sound quality on your next video conference, consider these audio best practices: First, invest in a quality external microphone. Even a relatively modest dedicated microphone will provide serious improvement in audio for the far end. Test that microphone with a trusted colleague before an important call to ensure potential issues are worked out in advance. One of the best practices we have adopted at my company is a sound check before we present, to ensure that both audio and screen sharing is working well. If feasible, connect via an Ethernet cable rather than Wi-Fi to reduce the chances of audio cutting out. Second, practice good microphone technique. Position the microphone in front of you, facing you, and close to you (within six inches). If using a headset, make sure the mic is positioned correctly. Third, figure out the mute button and use it! Fourth, as much as possible, try to have a quiet, controlled environment to conduct video calls without distractions. Whether at home or the office, consider posting a meeting-in-progress sign so others know to keep background noise to a minimum. And finally, consider an assistive listening system to support those on-site at hybrid meetings and events for whom overhead speakers are not enough to help them hear inperson and virtual participants clearly.

GRAHAM HENDRY Vice President of Strategic Development, Renkus-Heinz Getting audio right is mission critical. Without video, most meetings and conferences can continue. However, without audio, or with poor-quality audio, the meeting is rendered near-useless and wastes time, money, and patience. It’s important to set the expectations of the meeting space before defining the right solution. A few areas to carefully consider include: How many people will be in the room? Will meetings be in-person, virtual, or in a hybrid setting? Will presentations or live performances need to take place? How is the room designed, including size, shape and building materials? How can you best reach each person with quality sound? For both ends of the call, the audio should be intelligible. The requirements for good intelligibility are basic and straight-forward. The system must have adequate bandwidth, signal-to-noise ratio, and direct-to-reverberant ratio; and it must be devoid of interfering reflections. First, utilizing beamforming microphones in the space is an effective way to provide a high level of intelligibility to the attendees who are on the other end of the call. Second, digitally steerable loudspeakers provide in-person attendees with crisp audio. Deployment of digitally steerable loudspeakers is extremely non-invasive when compared to traditional distributed system. Ultra-compact, steerable array loudspeakers can be integrated, virtually disappearing into the space while providing sound directly on the audience. For larger spaces, the flexible scalability of larger-format steerable loudspeakers ensures the coverage is consistent over the in-person attendees without room artifacts being fed back to virtual attendees. Visual elements bring an additional layer of technology but can also bring deeper understanding and learning outcomes for presentations and meetings. Working together, audio and visual components must be in sync to provide audiences with a cohesive presentation—be it video, presenter, or live performance. So when it comes to creating spaces that foster high-quality meetings, presentations, and overall work, audio needs to be at the forefront. Digitally steerable loudspeakers are a highly functional, intelligible, and versatile sound solution for large and small conferencing spaces.

MARK QUIROZ Vice President of Marketing, Display Division, Samsung Electronics America There are a number of factors to take into consideration when investing in enhanced video conferencing—the goal being to ensure that any technological upgrades deliver on the promise of increased productivity and greater meeting efficiency overall. What our industry has discovered is that advancements in audio and video conferencing will often produce a greater return when solutions are built to work together. For example, Samsung has collaborated with Cisco to combine our display and conference offerings in an effort to redefine the meeting experience, which includes providing high-quality audio features. Investing in improved audio that can eliminate echo and solve lip-syncing issues is only one part of getting the most out of today’s conferencing tech. Keeping in mind a room’s

“Advancements in audio and video conferencing will often produce a greater return when solutions are built to work together.” — Mark Quiroz, Vice President of Marketing, Display Division, Samsung Electronics America

setup and the number of participants—testing microphones before a meeting to ensure best use is essential. Additionally, disabling other noisemakers and positioning microphones in the optimal position for the meeting space allows users to get the most out of their audio devices. When audio works seamlessly with video and other presentation elements of a conference call, however, this creates the best experience for all involved. There are solutions on the market that provide customizable options and simplified operations, resulting in dynamic interactions— whether participants are in-person or working remotely. Employees from all industries continue to face many challenges as they continue meeting in a post-pandemic world, but the good news is that today’s innovators continue to improve their offerings, which include improvements to audio performance, and are looking ahead to the future of conferencing to deliver collaborations that will ultimately contribute to better meetings.

PETER VERWAYEN Vice President of Product Management, BlueJeans by Verizon Remote and hybrid work has quickly become a critical requirement for organizations around the globe. For many people, this newer style of working leads to questions around managing non-traditional work schedules, defeating at-home distractions, and driving team productivity. At BlueJeans, we believe in the importance of superior audio for effective collaboration, which is why we’ve integrated Dolby Voice into our platform to improve meeting performance from any location—allowing meeting attendees to hear clearly and communicate naturally, as if they were in the same room. Beyond choosing a video conferencing solution that suppresses background noise, maintains consistent volume across soft and loud talkers, and makes dialog easier to understand, here are a few setup tips and best practices for ensuring a quality audio connection during your next remote or hybrid meeting: First, always test the meeting; for BlueJeans, you can check your connection, audio, and video by joining our test meeting (available 24/7). Second, use a headset; internal microphones can sometimes pick up background noise, so we recommend headphones with a built-in boom mic to help provide better audio quality. Third, choose a quiet location; try to avoid noisy common areas, and instead join from a quiet location whenever possible. Fourth, in a case of a poor connection, disable your video to conserve bandwidth and use dial-in audio instead of VoIP (computer audio). In this scenario, you would continue to receive video and other content through the BlueJeans app, but audio would be transmitted via phone instead. Lastly, master the controls; if you’re the moderator, set your meeting to mute all at first to ensure no one has to hear others shuffling around as they join the call. Furthermore, most systems allow hosts to mute some or all participants, or put the meeting in host-only mode. If a participant is typing too loudly or has loud background noise, the moderator can choose to mute this participant at any time during the meeting—helping to keep the group focused from disruptions.


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“High-quality audio enables speech intelligibility, which can be the difference between a successful meeting and a frustrating experience.” — Chris Regan, Board of Directors Chair, Co-founder and President of RF Venue Professional Audio Manufacturers Alliance.

Read More Online To read more of this article and much more like it please click here to visit the AVT website

CHRIS REGAN Board of Directors Chair, Co-founder and President of RF Venue Professional Audio Manufacturers Alliance (PAMA) The past two years have brought a major increase in video conferencing and online remote event streaming. Businesses, schools, and houses of worship are among those who have been rapidly pulled into remote streaming and online or hybrid collaboration. While high-resolution video capture, lighting systems, and IP streaming platforms have all been major factors in this trend, the importance of highquality audio cannot be overstated. For example, when a student is streaming on a laptop, they are most likely listening to the audio over laptop speakers or headphones. Laptop speakers are inherently limited in their audio quality due to their size, and multiple-hour headphone sessions can be fatiguing. As a result, audience tune-out is very real, and on live streams it’s even more pronounced than in person. A student can close a laptop a lot easier than they can stand up and walk out of a classroom. A quality listening experience is critical to retention of students’ attention. For remote workers, high-quality audio enables speech intelligibility, which can be the difference between a successful meeting and a frustrating experience. Professional-quality microphones, including—and perhaps particularly—those with audio interface via USB, have been selling in record volumes to support this demand. Going forward for hybrid office environments, where some employees are on-site and some are remote, huddle spaces and conference rooms will see increased use of pendant microphones, ceiling microphones, and other integrated audio capture systems. The member companies of the Professional Audio Manufacturers Alliance (PAMA), an organization of the leading brands in professional audio joined together to advocating for highquality audio, have played an integral part in supporting the global shift to streamed video conferencing. We believe these technologies will remain critical to communications in the future, even as pandemic recovery begins.


SEVEN ON INTELLIGIBILITY By AV Technology From immersive HyFlex and remote learning environments to telemedicine conferencing, intelligibility and parity near and far among the top considerations in these installations.


Image Credit: Sony Electronics

In existence for more than 125 years, the University of North Carolina Greensboro (UNCG) is at the forefront of using cutting-edge technology to support its mission of providing engaging academic programs that unleash student potential and make a meaningful impact in the community and world. The challenges of the coronavirus pandemic required UNCG to accommodate an intuitive, immersive HyFlex teaching and learning model. Enabled by financial support from the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) fund, UNCG has installed 16 Sony MAS-A100 beamforming ceiling microphones across their campus, with plans underway to implement 40 additional units for the college’s new nursing building. The pandemic accelerated UNCG’s plans to update their learning environments and make them hybrid friendly. Larry Darling, classroom technology manager at UNCG, was tasked with ensuring all of the school’s 250 classrooms met basic needs by leveraging UCC (Unified Communications and Collaboration) technology to ensure better outcomes for students and educators. Larry’s goal was to equip at least one


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room in every building with transformational technology to enhance face-to-face and remote educational experiences. Each classroom’s lecture-capture capabilities were a priority, as Darling explained: “As we sought a more conversation-driven pedagogy, we recognized our lecture capture rooms just weren’t equipped for that type of teaching style. I’d seen Sony’s beamforming microphone demonstrated, and knew that it was just what UNCG needed.” Optimized for lecture and presentation environments, Sony’s ceiling-mounted MAS-A100 provides a high-quality, totally hands-free audioacquisition solution for teachers and students. “When we first selected the MAS-A100, it was primarily focused on the value,” Darling said. “When you factored together their cost with their coverage range, it was a hard microphone to beat. Another reason we found these mics to be costeffective is due to their built-in processing. We can put a Dante USB connection on the computer and there’s enough EQ and noise reduction in the mic itself, which has eliminated the need for DSPs. Using the MAS-A100, we’ve been really impressed with the sound quality and the built-in features of the mics, especially for the price.”


Photo: ClearOne Communications

As hybrid learning became a prominent and popular form of education throughout the pandemic, Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) Dubai determined that it needed an easy-touse, reliable AV solution that would help ensure remotely located students feel just as engaged as those sitting in the school’s classrooms. RIT Dubai turned to conferencing, collaboration, and network streaming solutions provider ClearOne to satisfy its unique needs. “It was imperative that all of our students, regardless of their location, could clearly see and hear the lecturer,” said Khalil Darwish, director of IT for RIT Dubai. For RIT Dubai, the key to a successful installation was finding a solution that allowed both the lecturer and students to focus on the course content and not have to worry about the underlying technology. As a proof of concept of the solution which Alpha Data, the system integrator for this project, had designed for RIT Dubai, the integrator

equipped a mock classroom in RIT’s old campus with the ClearOne solution. “The demo enabled us to take a hands-on approach and we were extremely impressed with the ease of use of ClearOne’s solution, and the exceptional levels of audio and video quality it delivered,” added Darwish. With Darwish’s approval, Alpha Data installed a complete ClearOne solution that included a COLLABORATE Versa Pro 50 kit, COLLABORATE Versa Lite CT, CONVERGE Pro 2 48VT advanced microphone auto mixer, LS6CT ceiling speakers, BMA 360 ceiling tile beamforming mic array, and UNITE 150 PTZ camera. In addition to the high-quality technology, an influential factor in choosing ClearOne was that many of the solutions’ components could be ordered locally. This convenience allowed Alpha Data to meet RIT Dubai’s requirement to complete the installation as a matter of urgency. “The fact that its products were available locally provided a real competitive edge for ClearOne,” explained Darwish. “ClearOne’s distribution and logistics teams worked very closely with us to deliver solutions to meet our very tight timeline. This reflects the high levels of support and maintenance which it delivers.” “We recommend ClearOne to our clients because it offers a complete AV conferencing solution from a single vendor and can deliver a range of solutions—from tabletop plug-and-play systems to professional configurable high-end audio solutions,” emphasized Jinesh Shah, team lead, ELV and AV, for Alpha Data. “Plus, from a systems integrator’s perspective, ClearOne’s system architecture enables us to deploy solutions for our customers, including RIT Dubai, quickly and easily.” Although the ClearOne solution is primarily used in a learning environment, it is now being deployed to facilitate general business meetings for the institution as well. “For any organization looking to deploy an AV solution, I would suggest that they look no further than ClearOne,” said Darwish. “The superior quality of its audio and video has meant that in a teaching environment, all of our learners are completely immersed in their lectures. This is of critical importance for our remote students.”

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Photo: BlueJeans

ACCESSIBLE HEALTHCARE FOR ALL Central London Community Healthcare (CLCH) is a renowned Community Health NHS Trust in the United Kingdom, providing more than 70 community healthcare services in several London boroughs and Hertfordshire. With more than 3,500 staff members, CLCH delivers care to more than two million patients of all ages. During the onset of the pandemic in March 2020, CLCH had to transform the way it delivered services quickly. To help keep patients and staff safe and facilitate continued healthcare, James Fabule, project manager, IT Transformation Office of CLCH, needed to find a solution that would fit with the overarching strategy of accessible patient care, but that could also be deployed without additional infrastructure or considerable resource requirements. BlueJeans stood out due to the platform’s simplicity, ease of rapid deployment, and the high level of engagement from the BlueJeans CLCH account team at every step of the process. Key features that CLCH find valuable include the superior video and audio quality in BlueJeans


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Meetings—whether in the desktop, in a web browser, or using mobile devices. The excellent video and Dolby audio help replicate an in-person consultation that patients and clinicians are used to, with the least amount of effort on anyone’s part. And thanks to BlueJeans’ breakout session feature, patients now get all the benefits of group therapy from the comfort of their own homes. Unparalleled security is another important reason CLCH chose BlueJeans. “Throughout our organization, BlueJeans has been the only approved application for patient consultation,” Fabule said. “It’s the only one we deem safe enough for us for treating our numerous patients.” BlueJeans’ channel partner SCC AVS had an instrumental role to play in the fast deployment— helping roll out 33 BlueJeans Rooms with Dolby Voice for the hospital’s conference rooms for staff members on-site. As a result, CLCH is now conducting more than 60 percent of services over video rather than in-person. Since deployment, CLCH has seen the number of monthly meetings

increase rapidly to more than 20,000 meetings and 865,000 minutes in just three months. Other than patient consultations, BlueJeans is used internally by the staff to collaborate and connect effectively. Staff members are using BlueJeans for handover meetings to keep communication lines open and provide optimal patient care. Fabule’s main advice from his experience is to treat the project as a culture shift and plan accordingly. As expected, most staff, clinicians, and patients are hesitant with new technology at first, and addressing these concerns early on is vital to guarantee success. James predicts that CLCH’s hybrid virtual and in-person care model will continue to succeed even after the pandemic because of the time and resources saved by enabling virtual visits. With virtual consultations now the norm, CLCH can divert the resources to focus on other projects to improve healthcare processes, maintain quality, and provide smart, effective care to the CLCH community.

Photo: Jabra

A SEAMLESS COLLABORATION Workplace communication is not simple, especially as the workforce disperses to a wider range of locations. The pandemic expedited this shift, with more workers than ever doing their jobs remotely. In light of this, many organizations have turned to platforms like Microsoft Teams to enable better communication among employees, no matter where they are in the world. AudioCodes, a leading vendor of advanced communications software, products, and productivity solutions for the digital workplace, is helping companies navigate the complexities of the Teams environment. Using an as-a-service model called AudioCodes Live for Microsoft Teams, they’re able to provide everything an IT professional needs to securely and seamlessly integrate voice and video collaboration. Essentially, they can purchase seats to AudioCodes’ solution and their team will have everything they need provided—with no need to worry about how it’s architected. The AudioCodes One Voice Operations Center (OVOC) is a network monitoring tool that supports end-to-end quality of experience monitoring. Time-

consuming everyday tasks—such as performing root cause analysis, provisioning new devices, and initiating bulk software updates—are able to be done with ease. The solution incorporates management into a single pane of glass, with the ability to monitor quality from end-to-end, upgrade versions, and configure Jabra devices. In addition, devices can be viewed in their network topology— tenants, sites, groups, et cetera. Included in this highly scalable solution is the ability to easily manage thousands of devices, including Jabra’s industry-leading headsets and speakerphones and AudioCodes IP Phones. Customers are able to purchase Jabra devices in the same package as their managed IP voice services from AudioCodes, creating a highly effective and complete system to manage the Microsoft Teams environment. Jabra’s Evolve2 headsets have been certified for use in the Teams environment, offering unparalleled sound quality and a range of device options that can be used at the office, at home, or on-the-go. The devices are comfortable and have

a long battery life, allowing them to be worn for hours without worry. The Evolve2 headset range has been lab tested for Microsoft Open Office special designation, making it easy for workers to focus and communicate with their teams effectively. The Jabra Speak 750 has also been engineered with a dedicated Teams button and a supporting LED light that illuminates when the user has an upcoming call, missed calls, and voicemails. With a simple tap of the Teams button, users can join meetings and benefit from superior sound quality. The Jabra and AudioCodes partnership gives customers the best of both worlds, with industryleading software and hardware combined with the peace of mind that they’ll have the support to troubleshoot any issue that pops up. Thanks to alignment at both the executive and engineering levels, the two companies are well positioned to continue providing superior technology and service to any organization looking to manage and monitor voice calling solutions in the Microsoft Teams environment.

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Image Credit: Renkus-Heinz


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PERFECT SOUND WHEN IT MATTERS MOST The Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra, Australia touts an impressive resume— not just due to its seven academic colleges, but also by way of its position across the river from Capital Hill, where the Australian parliament is located. The university often hosts highprofile meetings in the Mills Room, an ornate conferencing space capable of hosting up to 54 people, but after decades in service, it was long overdue for an AV upgrade. To give their space the acoustical treatment it needed, the team at ANU turned to Renkus-Heinz. “Because the space was deemed to be of heritage importance we were given the directive of no substantive changes to the room,” said Christopher Watson, consultant with Alder Technology, the firm that designed and specified the system for ANU. “The space itself is roughly 17 by 12 meters in size, and it has a massive vaulted ceiling. It’s also made of solid concrete, with a floating wall on one side. Simply put, the acoustics were very poor and presented a challenge.” Watson said the need to precisely position audio, coupled with the need to maintain the architectural integrity of the space, led him immediately to Renkus-Heinz. The installation makes use of two Renkus-Heinz IC8 digitally steerable line array loudspeaker systems installed at the front of the room on the floating wall. Part of the ICONYX line, the IC8s make use of Renkus-Heinz’s industry-leading, digitally steerable

technology, allowing venues of every size and type to digitally position sound exactly where they want it: on the audience. By programming the arrays digitally, the sound stays off the peculiarities of the room, and is directed entirely toward the audience’s ears. “Renkus-Heinz is a great audio solution for any space because of its quality, but when you have a lot of challenges in an install, the products they make really show their strengths,” Watson said. “With Renkus-Heinz we’re now looking at a room that looks aesthetically balanced and has sound characteristics that are performance worthy. No need for pendants or ceiling speakers; just perfect sound with two steerable arrays.” Further, thanks to their compact footprint, and utilization of Audinate’s Dante audio-over-IP protocol, the loudspeakers were installed without impacting the historically important architecture in the space. The results of the Mills Room installation were so impressive, Lucas Catanese, project manager at integration firm MNGD said, that the university has declared the Renkus-Heinz IC8 a standard for audio upgrades in the future. “We’ve already installed it in two additional spaces. They’re installed in a theater and an operations center where they’d had challenges with audio in the past. With the upgrade to the Renkus-Heinz loudspeakers, they sound great.”

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Photography: Xilica

The Montreal Heart Institute is a sprawling hospital campus located in the heart of Quebec’s largest city. In 2021, the growing Institute added two new buildings, featuring a dedicated training center with 15 conference rooms of varied sizes. These IT-centric collaborative spaces now formulate the core of the Institute’s learning and education programs. Audio proved the greatest challenge to ensuring that both physical and remote attendees could hear clear, intelligible instruction, and collaborate on training exercises with ease as needed. Acoustic echo cancellation was especially important considering the hard, flat reflective surfaces common in square-shaped and rectangular conference rooms. Network interoperability and compact form factor were also required to facilitate quick and low-profile deployment, as well as IT-friendly operation, monitoring, and maintenance. With 15 conference rooms to equip, Trizart, the AV/IT consultant for the project, specified a solution that would address all current requirements and offer a modular design to


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support future expansion. The complete solution includes a dedicated Xilica Solaro QR1 DSP for each room, discreetly mounted underneath the instructor’s lectern. The ultra-low-profile processor integrates Xilica’s HearClear AEC algorithms to expertly mitigate the acoustical challenges associated with reflective surfaces as sound reverberates off walls and desks during live instruction. HearClear AEC technology also works to eliminate in-room echo, as well as the echo generated by remote attendees joining classes via Microsoft Teams. Xilica Solaro QR1’s impressive modularity provided greater value from an operational standpoint, while also offering plenty of capacity to accommodate future expansion inside each room. Each Solaro QR1 is equipped with Solaro XC-SUB 2×2 (send/receive) USB cards, providing volume and mute status sync for Microsoft Teams. Alongside supporting analog loudspeakers with pairings of XC-SLO output cards, the Solaro QR1 effortlessly processes and manages audio captured from Sennheiser TeamConnect Ceiling 2 microphones overhead via in-built Dante technology, enabling these feeds to be transported remotely on the network. Xilica immediately solved the traditional problems of meeting space audio (challenging acoustics, distracting echo) while also addressing the foremost need of today’s IT-equipped collaboration rooms: ensuring that all attendees have clear-sounding, high-quality audio to learn and collaborate without limitations. The integrated HearClear AEC technology professionally removes all the disruption of poor-sounding audio, while built-in Dante audio networking streamlines operations, monitoring, and management. The modularity of Xilica’s systems also provides the additional advantage of scalability, as hybrid training and education initiatives on campus continue to evolve.

Photo: Nureva

BUILDING “THE BEST CLASSROOM EVER” When the University of North Carolina went in search of an agile, intuitive hybrid learning solution that would help create a seamless experience for students both on and off campus, their decision fell upon the audio conferencing expertise at Nureva. Broadcast engineer Gary Kirk gave Nureva’s HDL300 audio conferencing system the thumbsup, in part, for its stellar collaboration capabilities. “It enables two-way conversation in real time. You’re not watching a live stream. You really are in the class.” Of its simplicity, Kirk added, “That’s one of the things I like best about the HDL300. All I have to do is plug it in, and it just works. I don’t have to do anything.” Going with Nureva audio has also brought benefits in terms of scalability. Every one of the 18 classrooms in Carrol Hall, the home of the journalism school, has a Nureva audio system. “Standardization is important to us,” Kirk said. “Being able to show students or instructors one classroom and say to them, ‘every other classroom is going to be just like this’, is so much

easier than it is any other way.” Kirk also liked the idea of having a “spare on a shelf so that if by chance something broke—or maybe it got physically hit by something, and you had to go replace it—you could just go in there and swap it out.” University of North Carolina professor Julie Dixon emphatically dubbed Carroll Hall’s Nurevaequipped room 58 “the best classroom ever.” She appreciates the freedom and power it gives her to teach in her own distinct way while helping engage with her students. “I’m a very expressive speaker. I like to move around a lot, and the last thing I want to worry about is if my remote students can hear me,” said Dixon. “But I’ve never had that problem in room 58. I love that I don’t have to wear a mic like a lavalier or a handheld. The students can hear me as I move naturally around the space.” Just as importantly, the students—typically onethird in the classroom and two-thirds remote— can hear and converse with each other, allowing for the all-important balance that Dixon tries to maintain.

With Nureva audio enabling collaborative, affordable, and scalable classrooms, and with Dixon’s strong recommendation, it’s no wonder UNC has chosen Nureva as the audio system of choice for Curtis Hall, the state-of-the art building for media education currently under construction. The showcase building, scheduled to open in the winter of 2022, will have up to seven HDL300s in key studio and learning spaces.

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meetingIO Series



TOA Electronics’ meetingIO Series is a combination of LENUBIO and AMIO for the perfect acoustic environment. The LENUBIO, integrated audio collaboration system with DSP, features Acoustic Echo Cancellation (AEC) and Ambient Noise Control (ANC) to allow for clear conversation. The AMIO, steering array microphone with DSP, is a hands-free microphone featuring a low-profile. Both track presenter location to instantly eliminate speech volume drop-offs, acoustical anomalies, background chatter, and more. Because the LENUBIO and AMIO know exactly where the presenter, unwanted sound can be dialed out, while maximizing the fidelity and intelligibility of the speakers’ voice. TOA offers a diverse portfolio to ensure pertinent audio pick-up, as well as amplified sound.

Yamaha Unified Communications’ ADECIA family of communication products enable organizations to overcome implementation, configuration, and room acoustic challenges by providing all the equipment required for a successful installation with the highest audio quality. ADECIA includes the new RM-CG ceiling microphone, new RM-CR audio processor, and Yamaha’s long-trusted PoE switches and VXL Series line array speakers. Every component automatically integrates, reducing complexities and costs. Designed for a variety of rooms and audio connections, the end-to-end flexible solution immediately detects, configures, and optimizes all components—accounting for the location of speakers and microphones, reverberation, and echo behavior for the best-sounding meeting.







BMA 360 with Voice Lift

The ClearOne BMA 360 with Voice Lift is the world’s most technologically advanced beamforming microphone array ceiling tile. It’s the industry’s only ultra-wideband, frequency-invariant beamforming mic array with uniform gain response across all frequency bands. The BMA 360 offers everything desired in a beamforming microphone array CT—superior beamformed audio, echo cancellation, noise cancellation, auto-mixing, power amplifiers, and camera-tracking functions. FiBeam technology provides natural and full-fidelity audio across all beams and within a single beam. Deep sidelobe beamforming, DsBeam, provides unparalleled sidelobe depth, below -40 dB, for superior rejection of reverb and noise in difficult spaces.


Evolve2 75

Jabra’s Evolve2 75, the latest headset from its Evolve Series, has been specifically engineered for hybrid working to keep you connected and productive everywhere you go. Groundbreaking dual-foam patent pending technology, eight precision-placed microphones, and Jabra Advanced Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) create incredible sound quality in even the noisiest environments, to increase flexibility and easily enhance performance wherever you work. A unique ear cushion design lessens pressure and improves ventilation for all-day comfort and crystal-clear audio—everywhere.



TeamConnect Ceiling 2 with TruVoicelift

Sennheiser’s TeamConnect Ceiling 2 dynamic beamforming, is now available with TruVoicelift and advanced zone control, combining the advantages of a boundary microphone and a microphone array. TCC2 is the best solution for both (video) conferencing and in-room audio for classrooms, lecture halls, boardrooms, and more. TCC2 now offers unparalleled levels of control with the addition of a priority zone, five advanced exclusion zones (for pinpoint targeting and removal of unwanted noise sources) and more. Easy to install and, due to a flexible microphone ceiling mount system, easy to integrate.



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LHM2-N & LHM2-P Active Optical Cables

Opticis USA’s LHM2-N & LHM2-P Active Optical Cables were recently unveiled. The two additions to Opticis’ active optical cable (AOC) line-up are the LHM2-N (fixed-end) and LHM2-P (detachable). These two new HDMI 2.0-based additions to Opticis’ AOC lineup offer simple plug-and-play installation and deliver true 4K (4096x2160) resolution for high-speed video and audio signal transmission up to 100 m (328 ft) without any degradation. The all-new LHM2-N and LHM2-P are made explicitly for mission-critical, digital signage, and cinematic display applications using a plenum-, LSZH-, or TPU-graded hybrid cable. These high-performance active optical cables support a high dynamic range (HDR) with digital cinematic initiatives (DCI) that display vibrant images and offer incredible theatrical experiences for movie enthusiasts.



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M3 Hanging Ceiling Microphone

The Audix M3 is an innovative, tri-element hanging ceiling microphone designed for applications where aesthetics, sound quality, and ease of installation are critical, such as corporate conference rooms, classrooms, courtrooms, and medical applications. The M3 incorporates three independent, phase-coherent hypercardioid capsules with tailored frequency response for greater effective coverage area and optimized speech intelligibility. Low noise preamp circuitry is employed for the highest possible signalto-noise ratio and studio-quality sound. The silicone-jacketed cable offers a balanced, shielded signal and a very clean look. The unit features flexible mounting options for drop ceiling or hard lid applications. The M3 is available in white or gray, as well as both analog and Dante versions.




Hall Technologies’ EMCEE200 is a multi-view presentation switcher scaler with Picture-in-Picture (PIP) and Picture-Over-Picture (POP) capabilities. It can process up to four 4K@60 video sources with zero latency, and offers dedicated confidence monitor and presentation HDMI outputs in different window layouts. EMCEE features a built-in dual mic mixer and a wide range of audio embedding and de-embedding options. It can not only record the presentation to an external storage device, but also provides USB3.0 4K capture to stream live with no additional hardware. EMCEE200 is the perfect companion for seamless presentations.



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Phonum Wireless Bluetooth Speakerphone

beyerdynamic’s Phonum wireless Bluetooth speakerphone is an excellent option for audio in conferencing. It’s ideal for broadcasting to remote students, huddle spaces, home offices, and anywhere else quality audio is desired. Phonum gives excellent voice transmission, whether speaking on one-to-one calls, moving around the room, or meeting with several people. It’s ideal for video conferencing, meetings, and presentations thanks to its highly developed and precise microphones; intelligent, down-firing speaker; Gecko 360-degree technology; and a special microphone arrangement. Universities and houses of worship find it to be the perfect affordable solution for many needs.



BlueJeans Meetings with Dolby Voice


Bose Videobar VB1

BlueJeans Meetings with Dolby Voice from BlueJeans by Verizon is a breakthrough in video conferencing audio that eliminates “Can you hear me?” frustrations. Innovative technology from Dolby engineered into the BlueJeans Cloud elevates the meeting experience by allowing attendees to hear clearly and communicate naturally regardless of their location—desktop, mobile, or meeting room. Spatial audio presents each person’s voice from a distinct location, so everyone hears as if they were together in the same room, making it easier to focus on the conversation content. Everyone can be heard, even when voices overlap, so participation is easier, dialogue flows without delays, and work gets done.

From Bose Professional, the Bose Videobar VB1 is an all-in-one USB conferencing device that brings premium audio and video to huddle spaces and medium-sized rooms. Six beam-steering microphones automatically focus on voices in the room and reject noise. A 4K ultra-HD camera with auto framing delivers crystal-clear video, helping remote participants feel like they’re in the room. Proprietary Bose sound supports multimedia presentations, plays Bluetooth audio, and ensures voices on the call sound natural. Single-cable connectivity means there’s no need for separate audio and video cables at the table, reducing clutter. Bose Videobar VB1 helps you huddle up, see more, hear more, and work better.



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4098 CORE Supercardioid Microphone

DPA’s 4098 CORE Supercardioid Microphone works well in a wide range of conference situations. In addition to its compatibility with the brand’s DM6000 table/ceiling mount, the mic is available in varying lengths and mounting options, for any application. This flexibility allows the 4098 to be used for any size conference room down to a single office Zoom setup. When paired with the brand’s MMA-A Digital Audio Interface, any space can become a conference room. Compatible with most Apple devices, the MMA-A is a dual-channel pre-amp and A/D converter, and ideal for mobile applications.



EXPAND Vision 3T

EPOS Audio’s EXPAND Vision 3T is a simple and intuitive video bar designed specifically for small meeting rooms of up to seven participants. Today’s workforce demands video conferencing solutions that ensure effective collaboration and productivity. Certified for Microsoft Teams Rooms, the EXPAND Vision 3T was developed with intelligent picture framing, enhanced PTZ, voice tracking, and EPOS AI n ​ oise cancellation to emulate the in-person experience. The more general use EXPAND Vision 3 is expected to be released in Q1 of 2022.



EasyIP CeilingMIC D

Vaddio’s EasyIP CeilingMIC D overhead microphones with Dante networked audio deliver professional audio quality for superior conferencing experiences. It features plugand-play design—with installation as simple as connecting a Cat5e cable between the network switch PoE port and the microphone receiver. With a three-element array head providing full 360-degree pickup coverage, one EasyIP CeilingMIC D provides excellent coverage for an average size meeting room table. Ensure clear coverage of all meeting participants in larger spaces with multiple ceiling microphones—the number of microphones is only limited by the availability of network switch ports. Centrally manage microphone routing and system configuration with free Dante controller software.



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MAS-A100 Beamforming Ceiling Microphone

The Sony Electronics MAS-A100 Beamforming Ceiling Microphone is a hands-free lecture and presentation solution with advanced speech reinforcement technology, enabling truly hassle-free lectures and presentations. This microphone system has dedicated channels for speech reinforcement and recording, with comprehensive audio volume stabilization and clear audio processing to produce sharp recordings. The dedicated recording channel records with a wider capture range and optimal intelligibility—perfect for lecture capture. Supporting Dante and PoE, MAS-A100 links with third-party systems via a single cable connection. Auto-calibration streamlines system configuration, and settings can easily be adjusted via the network using the free MASM-1 management software.


Atmosphere X-ANS

AtlasIED’s Atmosphere X-ANS ambient noise sensor uses patented adaptive filtering technology rather than a microphone to accurately measure the noise level of a commercial environment and adjust automatically without picking up voice. The information is transmitted to the audio processor as data—not as voice programming—lending more enhanced security and volume adjustment accuracy than conventional ambient noise sensors that simply send audio to the processor for analysis and compensation.




QSC Audio Products’ NV-32-H (Core Capable) from QSC is a multi-purpose, software-configurable video endpoint native to Q-SYS, offering two distinct operating modes based on the needs of the application. Core Mode transforms the device into a fully integrated Q-SYS processor with local HDMI switching capabilities. Peripheral Mode allows multi-stream video encoding or decoding for network-based HDMI video distribution. Like all Q-SYS devices, the NV32-H offers native integration and control, simplifying setup and configuration while eliminating the need for advanced programming knowledge.



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The Renkus-Heinz DC12/2 is an ultra-compact, steerable array—delivering clarity, intelligibility, and control to compact spaces. Designed for tight control and invisible aesthetics, the DC12/2 addresses the needs of smaller, more challenging installations. Additionally, the DC12/2 is the first digitally steerable array with smartphone and tablet control. The DC12/2 features new updates as of Q4 2021. The upgrades deliver improvements to multi-unit configurations and a new full-range performance mode. An additional software update includes delay and discrete gain control for spaces such as conference and meeting rooms.



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Nureva XT



Nureva XT is a unique and highly integrated combination of audio, video, device management, and product services designed for educators who want the flexibility to extend the in-classroom experience to remote students. Easily combined with existing classroom technology products, Nureva XT enables live participation of remote students, while also supporting full-classroom audio pickup—all via a single USB connection to the instructor’s computer. There are four solutions, each combining a Nureva audio system (HDL300 for standard, Dual HDL300 for large) with the new Nureva CV30 classroom camera kit and a three- or five-year subscription to Nureva Pro.

Xilica’s Sonia range of networked amplifiers and ceiling speakers modernizes installed audio systems for IT-friendly collaboration spaces. The series includes the Sonia C5, a compact 5.25-inch in-ceiling speaker with a wide, even dispersion pattern that enables fewer speakers in large spaces. Sonia C5 is powered by Sonia Amp, a PoE+-enabled amplifier with integrated network switch that can power up to eight Sonia C5 speakers in daisy-chain. The Dante-enabled, plenum-rated design creates a single CatX drop to the ceiling for a full-room audio system. When paired with Xilica Solaro DSPs, Xilica’s VoiceMatch technology optimizes room audio and acoustics for highly intelligible speech.



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Rally Bar

The Konftel C2070 is an innovative collaboration kit featuring the Cam20 conference camera and Konftel 70 speakerphone that can, together, streamline video conferencing in huddle spaces as well as medium-sized meeting rooms. With the Konftel Cam20 USB conference camera, a clear and balanced image of participants and their colleagues is assured. Its WDR technology automatically adjusts to achieve a great picture in different light conditions, and its 4K video resolution enables superb digital zoom. Its counterpart, the Konftel 70, creates balanced, natural, and lifelike conversations using noise suppression and echo cancellation as part of Konftel’s acclaimed OmniSound technology.

Logitech’s Rally Bar is an all-in-one video bar solution for Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and other leading video conferencing services that transforms meeting rooms with its cinema-quality video, crisp audio, and stunning design. With advanced audio engineering, Rally Bar features ultra-low distortion speakers that provide crystal-clear sound to every corner of the room. The video bar’s AIbased RightSound technology focuses on the active talker and auto-levels loud and soft voices, while suppressing unwanted noise. Plus, users can easily accommodate larger groups and spaces with Rally Mic Pods. Now, everyone joining conference meetings can hear and be heard with outstanding clarity.




SoundTube IPDTSB2.0 Soundbar

MSE Audio’s SoundTube IPD-TSB2.0 STNet Dante-enabled soundbar is ideal for audio conferencing. The IPD-TSB2.0 Soundbar brings Dante connectivity from end to end in conferencing and boardroom video installations. Making the soundbar interoperable with other Dante products gives integrators additional flexibility when designing and installing audio systems. Built with high-quality materials and stylish, brushed metal cosmetics, the IPD-TSB2.0 Soundbar is a reliable, unrivaled solution for any audiovisual system. With a built-in amplifier, digital signal processor (DSP), and AES67 compatibility, it provides outstanding dialogue and clarity along with an open, wide sound stage. Wall-mount and table-top hardware are included.


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