Communicating online: Lync VS Online Rooms

Hi I’m Kev Lavery and today I’m going
to talk to you about the communication options available to you as a TAFE Queensland employee, and when and why to choose one over the other. While it’s always good to have choice, it’s
best that that choice is informed so you don’t just default to what are already comfortable with. It’s easy to get held back by
‘that’s what we’ve always done’. So, what choices do you have and how can knowing about these
make things easier for you? You will likely have either
Lync or Skype for Business installed on your computer by default – these are part Microsoft’s
“communications platform”. They are actually the same tool
– just different versions of it. You also have access to Online Rooms
through your network account. Online Rooms is the TAFE Queensland
branded version of Adobe Connect So what’s the difference?
What are the pros and cons of each? The one big similarity is that they both have
a really low skill ceiling on them – meaning it doesn’t take a huge investment
of time or effort to learn all you need to learn for both these systems. They’re pretty simple, quite user
friendly, and reasonably intuitive. Online Rooms is a web conferencing application. With Online Rooms you make an online meeting
space, populate it with resources (like videos, powerpoints, pdfs, polls, etc)
and invite users to that space. The space is located at a URL which means
that anyone with an internet connection is able to attend without needing any extra software. The space can be reused over and over again and shared amongst numerous users if needed. Lync and Skype are part of a “communications
platform” so they’re capable of doing a lot more. As users are continually signed into Lync
it can make locating people, checking availability and off the cuff communication
simpler and easier – either through their messenger function
or through the call functionality. The drawback is that it relies on those you
are communicating with having either Lync or Skype (and sometimes can rely on being
on a compatible network). This means it can sometimes be a problem for
users outside of TAFE Queensland. It is possible to join through a web app And there is also the secondary
fallback option of ‘Join by Phone’ – while this can be a suitable substitute for some
meetings it isn’t a great catchall solution (especially for meetings with a visual component). Join by phone isn’t available in Online
Rooms but users can use the Adobe Connect mobile app to join a meeting on
their smartphone or tablet – it means they still get the visual component
but it does depend on their access to wifi (or them being comfortable
using their own data). When it comes to audio quality Lync is reliably very good with each
user coming in at a consistent level. Because it’s an application it can make
audio adjustments for you without you even needing to ask – this ability to automatically adjust your
microphone levels results in everyone having a pretty close to even audio level. The audio quality in an Online Rooms meeting
can seem a little less reliable – but it’s nothing to do with Online Rooms. It’s because it’s not an application
in the same way that Lync is. Being browser based Online Rooms is a lot
more accessible but, because of this, it doesn’t have free reign over your audio
settings like an application does. It is pretty easy to sort out your
audio in Online Rooms – but it’s a matter of you sorting it out
instead of your computer doing it automatically. This is easy enough to do in Online Rooms using the Audio Setup Wizard to check your
settings and then making any major adjustments in your Recording Devices
and Playback Devices options. It can feel a bit cumbersome at first
but, after one or or two times, it pretty quickly becomes routine. Both systems offer you a chance to share content
they just do it in different ways. Rooms in Online Rooms are made up of
configurable Layouts made up of Pods and each of these Pods offers you
a different way to Share content. You can share your screen, PowerPoints, PDFs,
Polls, Links, and you can have a Chat Pod and a Q&A section for audience communication. You can also do this in Lync through the Presentable
Content area. Lync also offers you the ability to share
applications and even relinquish control of those applications to other users. So Lync certainly offers you a lot more options
in terms of how you can share content but Online Rooms can offer you
a more fluid way to do it. Online Rooms allows you to set your content
up in advance and, because it’s made up of customisable layouts of Pods
you can adjust things to suit – you could have a PowerPoint and a PDF
open next to each other for comparison without having to worry about stopping
sharing one to share the other. But Lync allows you to share a much wider
range of documents and allows for a type of collaboration that Online Rooms doesn’t. It’s also possible to run large scale registerable
events through Online Rooms. Great for information sessions, guest speakers,
and other opportunities. It all boils down to who you need it to reach,
what you need it for and why. Those three factors will go a long way to
inform your choice. If your attendees include people external
to TAFE then Online Rooms is probably the better choice. If your attendees are all TAFE
employees then either will suit. If you are expecting to move back
and forth between documents then Online Rooms is probably a better fit. If you are just talking TAFE staff through
one document (or no documents) then Lync is probably the best fit. If you are looking to share video (or share
a youtube video) Online Rooms will provide you with the functionality you need. For collaborating on documents within your
session Lync will probably be more suitable. For a quick message or a meeting
on the fly Lync is a much better fit. If you tend to reuse the same documents or
polls or whatever else then Online Rooms will allow you to set stuff up and then
just leave it in your room. Both are suitable for recording a meeting
but if you’d like to retain interactivity (like you want your links to still be
clickable and your files downloadable) then Online Rooms recordings
will be more suitable. You can also share an Online Rooms recording
via URL immediately after your meeting without any need for conversion or uploading. Hopefully this presentation has given you
some grounds from which to make an informed choice – but the more you use these platforms, the
easier and more obvious these decisions will become and you can ensure that you are communicating
in the most effective way possible. [music]

The Making of Crestron Mercury

Prior to Mercury, people would deploy a
number of technologies in the meeting space. They might have a conference phone, they might have a USB speaker phone, they may have a large flat-screen display in the room with a cable. They may have a video conferencing system that’s tied to one
dedicated video conference, like Cisco or Microsoft Skype For Business or these types of technologies. – Well, what ends up
happening in those solutions is it’s a bunch of disparate experiences that don’t necessarily go together and work together seamlessly for the user. If you’re actually to support
rooms like that at scale, it becomes crazy. – Before Crestron I was working at ESPN managing conference rooms
and video conferencing, inside our headquarters
in Bristol, Connecticut. I was running into a lot of obstacles where we needed extensive integration, and custom programming, and a lot of different boxes to achieve some very simple conferencing needs. Crestron had been such a good partner that I brought it to
our sales representative my concept for what would
be an ideal solution for an environment that would give me all the functionality we’re looking for, present, call, collaborate, and that also was
manageable on the network and easy to deploy. When I made the jump to come to Crestron, I spent my first few months
here working collaboratively with the engineering
team and with Dan Jackson to bring those concepts
I had at ESPN to life in a product here at Crestron. (light, echoing electric guitar) – The feature set that Mercury has was pretty much everything that
Crestron was already doing. We already had wireless presentation. We had wired presentation. Our touch screens could
already make SIP phone calls. We already had the ability to route USB and do all these other things. What we had to do was take
all of these feature sets and make it into a single box that was cost-effective
and easy to deploy. – We felt that another key piece of this was that the form had
to follow the function. It had to be an attractive device, so we started on the road of doing a lot of different industrial
designs as concepts. Certainly we had some
things that were very kind of interesting to look
at but impractical to produce, or impractical for end
users to try to use. – We wanted something iconic, but it also needed to be
sleek and low profile, and then separately we had to be able to deliver a premium audio experience. How do you design the microphones so that they they work well in a room, built into that device, along with a very powerful speaker, right? How do you keep the
feedback from coming back into the microphones? We had to proto-type all of those things. – From all those iterations of testing, some of the things we came
up with were that we needed to have a unique
arrangement for microphones. We settled on a flower petal arrangement where we actually offset the microphones 45 degrees from the traditional alignment so that we had clear coverage rotating around the device and on the table. Given that we were able to
decouple the speaker box from the main unit, we were able to use a
higher quality driver than a lot of our competitors, and were able to port that speaker box that the driver was floating in, so it gives us a great dynamic range and the ability to
produce sound far beyond what you need for a phone call. The microphone and the speaker
pieces don’t mean anything unless you have the ability to
process the sound correctly. For that we leveraged
some of the technology in our Avia DSP. We’re able to do auto
echo-canceling, auto gain control, auto noise-canceling, all out of the box. – Honestly it’s by far the
best device that exists on the market just for audio calling, because we took so much care with that. – People that I’ve known for 15, 20 years within the industry of
unified communications looked at the product,
saw its implementation, and quite frankly said, “There’s nothing here that
you’ve missed, you’ve got audio, “video, wired and wireless
presentation, you’ve got a great “form factor, you’re
delivering tremendous sound “for in-room participants
and out-of-room participants, “and perhaps the biggest thing going “is you support all video
conferencing applications.” – We felt the right path was to support bringing your own device, you know, BYOD. Effectively you could
walk in with your laptop, and no matter what call you
had on whatever service it was, you’d be able to walk into that room and use that room to it’s
fullest effectiveness to make that call. As our culture increasingly
becomes global first, you have to provide that
premium mobile experience. We build Bluetooth into Mercury so that you could walk into the room whether you’re on a regular phone call, you could be on a Skype For Business call or any other app that’s out there, you could walk into Mercury and get a premium audio
experience in that room on any service through your mobile device. One of the other pieces that Mercury has is a built in occupancy sensor. That was critical for two reasons. Number one, we want the
room to be able to respond when you walk in to make
it feel inviting and warm, and have everything light up for the user. On the backend that
enables us to understand and analyze how that room is used. – Reporting back to Crestron Fusion, you could understand
when the room was booked, when the room was occupied, and what devices were used in the room, and that gives you a complete picture of utilization for that space. – Unlike other technologies, you’ve got a network-based appliance with all of the relevant security and network permissions built in, so that you can install
these simply and easily. You can maintain these
systems via standard IT tools. – You can walk into a
room, place it on a table, connect it to the internet, and then through the cloud
provisioning service, your administrator, wherever
in the world they may be, can log in and remotely configure every single setting on the device. It enables somebody to manage
a huge number of devices across any number of geographic locations all from one single cloud portal. – It really was the first time in all of my years of experience, that I’d seen all of these
capabilities brought together in a very simple to
use, simple to install, and simple to maintain solution
set, that quite frankly, delivers at a price point
that’s never been seen before in the marketplace. Customers literally asked
us, “Can we have this today?” They’d been used to using
a variety of technologies, and for the first time
Crestron Mercury delivered on all the promises they
needed in the meeting space.

3 Easy Ways For Teams to Video Conference with Logitech


Logitech MeetUp Overview: 120° Field of View, 4K Optics & Advanced Audio

logitech® Let’s think about today’s business conference calls, more than 50% are small with just two or three people meeting in a room for quick discussion or focus collaboration. Often these meetings rely on imperfect technology where everyone crowds around a laptop straining to see in here. Now there’s a better way Meet up is Logitech’s premier conference cam for huddle and small conference rooms. It’s super wide 120 degree field of view ensures that everyone in the room can be easily seen and it’s high definition 4k lens with pan tilt and zoom capabilities allow you to quickly change focus is needed. An optional mount attaches meet up to a flat panel monitor or TV So you can make the best use of tight spaces meetings can sound as great as they look with meetup. It’s compact all-in-one design includes three beamforming mics and a custom tune speaker for larger rooms you can add the expansion mic from unit to extend the voice pickup range up to 14 feet. Starting a meeting with me up is simple just connect it to the usb port in your computer and start your preferred video conferencing application it’s that easy to get clear audio and razor-sharp optics in a small room. Logitech Meetup, optimized for huddle rooms designed for the way you meet. logitech®

Logitech PTZ Pro 2 Overview: Exceptional Optics & Smooth Pan/Tilt

logitech® What does simplicity mean in the context of technology. Simplicity is elegance. Simplicity means obvious answers to tough problems. Hi I’m David Zhai product manager at Logitech. In designing the PTV pro 2 we set the bar high. To improve one of our most popular video cameras. To do this, we manufacture our own lenses to create a camera with exceptional optics, brilliant resolution and outstanding color. The mechanics were we re-engineered to enable direct preset preset movement for an even smoother pan and tilt that captures all the action. Video quality was improved to achieve greater clarity whether up close or across the room. So every person in the room is shown naturally and accurately PTZ pro 2 is the smart choice for conference rooms,
classrooms,auditoriums and medical facilities or as the ideal complement to your existing audio conferencing system. Using the PTZ pro 2 couldn’t be easier, a power adapter and USB cable is all you need to get started. Just plug and play. And at half the price of comparable models, the PTZ pro 2 is surprisingly affordable. Simple yet elegant, PTZ pro 2 is the answer to all of your video needs. logitech®

Biamp Devio: The Collaboration Tool for the Modern Workplace

Meetings are the lifeblood of business. Whether
you’re discussing the latest product offerings with a client or collaborating with team members
to solve a problem, meetings help propel businesses forward. And as companies convert their office space
to open floor plans, collaboration spaces – or huddle rooms – offer a place where employees
can hold meetings without disturbing colleagues. Huddle rooms get used a lot, so there’s
an increased demand for a cost-effective audio and video conferencing solution for these
small spaces to help people communicate effectively. Introducing Devio. We designed Devio with simplicity in mind,
making it straightforward to install and manage. Meeting participants can use technology that’s
familiar, because they can use their own laptop and USB camera with Devio. Or, they can use
an in-room computer to run the meeting and share content from their own laptop. But one of the best things about Devio is
that it can be used with any meeting technology or soft codec, so whether your prefer GoToMeeting,
Skype for Business, WebEx, or other services, Devio just works. “Hey, Buddy. How’s it going?” Devio also brings Biamp’s exceptional audio
quality to huddle rooms, helping you sound great to your partners and customers on the
far end. “Well, I know the numbers do look great.” The secret is in our signal processing – we
cancel out acoustic echoes and other unwanted noise so that the audio they hear is crisp
and clear. “Told you, great job.” Another way we ensure audio is optimized on
both ends of the call is with Devio’s autosetup feature. With the push of a button, Devio
maps out the audio landscape of the room, and calculates the best result for the audio
signal. If anything changes in the room, just push the button again to re-tune and re-optimize
the space. Devio comes packed with other conferencing
features, including Biamp’s advanced beam-forming microphone. During a conference, the beam-forming
mic makes adjustments in real time to maintain audio consistency as people move around the
room. This enables far-end conference participants to experience the conversation naturally,
as if they were all in the same room. Devio can also distribute video outputs to
HDMI displays and offers USB ports for connecting to other devices (like a USB camera) providing
the flexibility to create your ideal huddle room set up. To satisfy IT requirements for remote monitoring
and control, Devio includes SNMP traps for determining whether someone is plugged into
a unit and if audio is passing, so that IT can identify if the room is in use. And firmware updates can be deployed to Devio
devices via group policies, eliminating the need to send a technician out to each huddle
room. Now let’s look an example of time savings
using Devio. On average, Devio saves about 5 minutes of setup time per call. How does
that add up? Let’s say there are 250 business days per year. If the room is used for 4 meetings
a day, that comes out to about 5000 minutes – or more than 80 hours – of recouped efficiency
per room, letting you focus more on running your business. We believe every meeting space, no matter
how large OR small, should allow people to communicate effectively. Devio can help meet
that goal. Contact us at for more information.