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Stony Brook University brings communication capabilities up to speed

Technology operators at this prominent learning institute sought productive conferencing equipment to enable effective communication across its computer science facilities

The largest conference room on campus at New York’s Stony Brook University is part of the school’s Computer Science department and was in need of a wholesale communication system upgrade. The department also wanted to add a videowall to its main lobby. John Schappert of Adwar Video turned to ClearOne, knowing that its full array of communication solutions would produce a highly productive conference room and an engaging videowall.

The ability to collaboratively communicate, and do it effectively, is of paramount importance in higher education settings. Lectures and presentations ranging from simple board meetings to complex PhD defences are conducted in on-campus conference rooms at universities of all sizes.

Voice capture
Peter Ruland, associate director of operations for Stony Brook’s Department of Computer Science, comments: “Academics are not big fans of lapel microphones, as they tend to stand up and move around to talk. One of the challenges in this conference room was that we were having a hard time capturing people’s voices and leveraging the echo cancellation during the videoconferencing of our lectures because of the old setup we had.”

Schappert knew ClearOne’s Beamforming Microphone Array 2 product would be the perfect solution for a conference room of this size bringing the communication capabilities of the space up to speed.

“The audio pickup with the Beamforming Microphone Array 2 is super clear,” explains Schappert. “And for a large conference room, with the nature of presentations, with presenters walking around, the 24 microphone elements move the pickup to the participants and reject unwanted noise. These were precisely the issues the department wanted to correct.”

ClearOne’s Beamforming Microphone Array 2 features ClearOne’s Acoustic Echo Cancellation and Noise Cancellation technology that addresses the echo issues the large room was experiencing under the previous outdated system. According to Ruland, the ClearOne system’s scalability has also been a major asset and the department’s staff likes the flexibility of being able to add mics when the need arises.

Due to the effectiveness of the ClearOne Beamforming Microphone Array 2, the room only required one of the mic set-ups, despite the size of the space. “All the audio problems we were having were solved with just the single installation,” says Ruland. “We dropped it in the middle of the room and it worked perfectly, zero audio issues ever since.”

To upgrade the videoconferencing capability in some of the Science Department’s smaller to mid-sized conference rooms, Ruland was also pleased with Schappert’s choice to install ClearOne’s Unite 200 PTZ cameras. It is a versatile, professional-grade, HD video camera, which includes USB, HDMI and IP connections.

“We had several ClearOne Unite 200 PTZ cameras installed in some of our other conference rooms,” states Ruland. “This was great as instead of having to use a hard video codec for videoconferencing, these cameras let the user, because they have a USB interface, use Skype, Hangouts or Webex – anything they want really. Again, very flexible and allows us to give users choices.”

Adwar Video was also briefed to fit a videowall in the department’s main lobby as this was a project Ruland admits the department had started a while back, but never quite completed.

“For the videowall we used the ClearOne VIEW Pro Encoder E120 and VIEW Pro Decoder D210,” explains Schappert. “They provide such a simple, install-ready set up that delivers excellent video quality as well. Stony Brook wanted this done quickly and we were able to easily meet that demand.”

ClearOne’s VIEW Pro is a video processing and management solution for needs ranging from a single videowall to a large video distribution network.

“The videowall is also very scalable and we can stream to it and customise the layouts in any way, shape or form we want,” says Ruland. “It is just a really cost effective way for us to do just about anything we want to do with it. The ClearOne tech is even allowing our research labs to do interactive content using tech like facial recognition and we are streaming that right to the videowall.”

Schappert concludes: “ClearOne’s commitment to offering the industry’s broadest range of solutions, in-depth product support and training, coupled with a string of successful ClearOne installations under challenging circumstances made the decision to spec ClearOne products into the new computer science building a no-brainer for us.”