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Advanced kits out mining HQ with collaboration suite

Advanced has designed and installed a new interactive video collaboration system at the Toronto headquarters of gold mining company Barrick.

The company conducts weekly meetings with 40 of its senior executives and miners who are stationed all over the world. Recently, Barrick sought to fine-tune its videoconferencing system to help streamline the remote communication and content sharing process. Advanced was called on to conceptualise, design and install a sophisticated new system built around two Prysm Visual Workplace displays and Cisco videoconferencing.

“Barrick was looking to utilise top-of-the-line technology to increase productivity during its weekly meetings with remote mining sites,” Advanced executive vice president Mark McPherson said. “We knew that the Prysm Visual Workplace display would be the perfect solution for this application. This interactive display enables collaboration and sharing in real time with an interface that is extremely intuitive and easy-to-use. Once we decided to utilise Prysm’s technologies as the foundation of the company’s content sharing, we built a cutting-edge conference system around it that truly makes videoconferencing and collaboration on content quick, easy and painless.”

Advanced’s team installed one interactive 34ft wide by 5ft high (76 tiles) Prysm display at the front of the room with a custom ‘skin’ to match the room’s décor and a modified panel to meet the room’s unique floating floor in addition to one 84in 4K Prysm LCD display at the side of the room for break-out sessions. The display’s custom skins serve an aesthetic purpose, while the customised frame beneath the display mask the entire system’s AV rack. “We provided a custom-built wraparound frame around the main display to make it appear as if the screen belongs in the wall,” explained Kevin Linton, Advanced’s VP of engineering. “Plus, it houses all of the system’s equipment.”

Through Prysm’s visual collaboration cloud, Barrick’s team can create, share and collaborate from anywhere in the world. “Prysm’s integrated software and interactive hardware solution combines apps, content, video and the web into a powerful, all-in-one interface for immersive team collaboration and data visualisation,” Linton commented. “We also deployed the ‘Prysm mobile’ app for the remotely stationed miners, which makes it extremely simple for users in remote locations to join in on the meeting without needing a professional grade videoconferencing system. Now, they can join by way of any device.”

Advanced also replaced Barrick’s existing videoconferencing system with an all new Cisco SX80, complete with dual cameras and speaker tracking functionality. A Crestron control processing and digital media system was installed with a Cisco Touch 10 control interface to program and automate certain events that simplify use for Barrick’s employees.

The newly installed interactive video collaboration system also utilises Shure Microflex Advance ceiling microphone array technology, which includes two MX910 ceiling microphones that harness the ability to pick up any voice in the room and transmit it with accuracy. “In a room of 40 people, one person can stand up and speak, and the microphones will pick up the person’s voice perfectly from any angle,” Linton said.

Additionally, the innovative microphone system includes wireless mute buttons, programmed through the Crestron control system, that enable Barrick’s senior executives to mute themselves so that they can discuss sensitive topics without having to broadcast their thoughts live to all of the meeting’s participants. LED lights installed in the corners of the ceiling tiles indicate whether or not a mute button is deployed; if the lights turn red, the microphone is muted, and if the lights turn green, they are live. “These are the most advanced ceiling microphones that we have ever worked with in this type of application,” added Linton.

According to McPherson, the entire system is configured to allow anyone to enter that room and present as a basic user. “Together with the Prysm implementation team, we have trained Barrick’s senior IT leaders and its employees to use the system with ease,” explained McPherson. “Our goal is to get employees as comfortable with the technology as possible. But with a video collaboration system this intuitive and user-friendly, that certainly won’t be difficult to achieve!”