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Exclusive insight: Learning fast in a fast changing world

By Shannan Brooksby, senior account manager, Pro AV Solutions Queensland

In early 2020 there were a few privileged Pro AV Solutions attendees to ISE 2020 in Amsterdam, early February. At the time we were acutely aware of the Pandemic sweeping an urban city of China called Coronavirus. The apprehension of travel and leaving our families to another part of the world was heavy on everyone’s mind. Taking the risk we settled into our first long haul journey from our mainland to begin what was our last trip to Amsterdam for the ISE event.

We knew already as our feet hit the ground in the Netherlands the world was going to change. And fast. This was the beginning of a steep learning curve for the need to find the most appropriate solutions to allow the world to be able to communicate in a way that was clear, precise and simple to adopt and deploy. 

Rapid journey

Our key clients in the education industry, particularly in the HE sector, had also realised the need for a rapid journey and had tasked their departmental management to design a way to build systems that were capable of providing the initial requirement as an in room experience but allow the solution to have added building blocks with tech sets that could engage the ability to connect the room to the outside world.

The university sector was already adopting to utilise Teams and Zoom as software platforms to let the content provided in room was easily shared and engaged remotely as if the remote participant was present.

The two technology stacks that became a requirement for this solution to work was auto tracking PTZ cameras and Ceiling mount microphone arrays with appropriate audio DSP and interfacing for a USB PC connection. A good amount of suppliers were already in this space and a discovery journey to find the best of breed began at the trade floor of ISE. Shortly after our return to Oz, we had arranged loan equipment from various suppliers to allow our key clients to do in house proof of concept testing and pilot room deployment.

Best in breed

Today we look back at the last ten months having gone on a journey with various clients and enabled the best of breed to develop a requirement for large teaching spaces to capture whole of audience speech  and smart camera technology to auto frame key speakers or audience participants that accompany the primary device that is responsible for the link to the outside world. The humble house PC.

Our efforts with the clients who looked to our knowledge of their requirements and the key vendors spending a good part of their wallet on R&D and revision after revision  to provide fit for purpose solutions had allowed rapid deployment of the building blocks into the teaching spaces.

When you work within a network of clients and manufacturers who want to achieve excellent results for their ability to remotely connect and engage these collaborative technologies and you have a pandemic on your doorstep, it is quite amazing how clear the picture really becomes and the need to start with clever technology to simplify the user experience. This is rapidly now spreading because of a real urgency.

We are fortunate to have years of engagement with both our suppliers and customers and for the extra efforts to make things fall into place is well worth seeing the outcomes.

Rooms that may even be empty with a lecturer presenting to themselves is connecting on every level to provide clear precise and simple education models for a very real engagement to all participating (remotely).