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Yearly Archives: 2013

Beamforming Microphone Array Voted One of the Most Innovative Products of 2013

Written on December 30, 2013 at 12:16 pm, by


 
Two years ago, the editors of Sound & Video Contractor started creating a list of 30 innovative products that they had noticed during the year. They determined that innovation could be defined as anything from years of R&D to a stroke of inspiration, and they acknowledged both mechanical innovations and electronic ones. This list has become a way to honor the work of designers, engineers, and manufacturing technicians.
 
This year, voting was up to readers of Sound & Video Contractor for the first time. Thousands of votes were cast to choose the most innovative from among more than 60 submitted products. To be eligible for this award, products must have been designed for the professional AV market and have shipped between Oct. 15, 2012, and Oct. 15, 2013.  ClearOne’s Beamforming Microphone Array was voted on the Most Innovative Products of 2013 by the readers of Sound & Video Contractor,
 
The Beamforming Microphone Array is the Pro-Audio industry’s first professional-grade microphone array with beamforming and adaptive steering technology and ClearOne’s next-generation Acoustic Echo Cancellation. The ultra-sleek design fits into any conferencing environment and delivers the clearest audio pickup available. Twenty-four microphone elements steer pickup patterns towards participants and reject unwanted noise and reflections, offering superb and unmatched performance for group conferencing environments.

     

  • Beamforming & adaptive steering technology
  • Next-generation Acoustic Echo Cancellation
  • 24 microphone elements
  • Mono and stereo modes for diverse applications
  • Flexible mounting for ceiling, tabletop and wall modes
  • Works with CONVERGE® Pro products: 880, 840T, 880T, 880TA
  • Expandable for larger room applications by daisy-chaining up to three arrays per CONVERGE Pro unit
  • Adaptive acoustic processing automatically adjusts to room configuration for best possible audio pickup
  • Replaces up to 10 traditional microphones, with twice the pick-up range

 

 
Thank you to the readers of Sound & Video Contractor for voting us as one the Most Innovative Products of 2013!
 
 

New Technology and Creative Design are Reinventing the Modern Office.

Written on December 12, 2013 at 4:38 pm, by


Companies are constantly searching for the smartest and brightest employees, and the modern workspace is becoming more and more crucial to help recruit and retain them. Gone are the workspaces of cubicles, blank walls and a small break room with a ping pong table. Employees today are looking for places to allow them to create their best work, to feel like an individual who matters and not just a corporate drone.
 

At Airbnb, software developers gather in a room modeled after the War Room in the film Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb and features a ClearOne Beamforming Microphone Array.

Airbnb is a community marketplace for people to list, discover, and book unique accommodations around the world. They connect people to unique travel experiences such as spending a night in a cabin in Australia, a weekend get-a-way in a designer studio in the heart of Paris, or even a week in a windmill in the United Kingdom.
 
This unique company wanted to design their workspace to become a visual manifestation of their company brand. So their 200 San Francisco employees work in one of eight environments that replicate their exotic property listings— from a Copenhagen pad with faux timber beams, to Balinese home with potted palms and a woven grass ceiling.
 
So why is ClearOne, a global company that designs, develops and sells conferencing, collaboration, streaming and digital signage solutions for audio and visual communications talking about office design?
 
Well, we were already known as a game changer in the pro-audio industry. Our Beamforming Microphone Array is the first professional-grade microphone array with beamforming and adaptive steering technology and ClearOne’s next-generation Acoustic Echo Cancellation. It has twenty-four microphone elements steer pickup patterns towards participants and reject unwanted noise and reflections, offering superb and unmatched performance for group conferencing environments.
 

 
Lisa Bottom, a principal at Gensler, the global design firm behind the Airbnb and Facebook offices said that the design for Airbnb “…was to be an enabler of their company’s culture.” One of the conference rooms recreates one of the most iconic movie sets of all time — the War Room from Stanley Kubrick’s 1964 classic Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. The sleek Beamforming Microphone Array, with a high glossy white exterior made it a perfect choice for this unique room design. This single unit is able to cover all attendees in the room with pickup patterns that steer towards the speaker, and cancel out unwanted noise, echo, reflections, and more. It’s form matches the functionality perfectly, and give Airbnb the quality audio they need along with complimenting the design of the room. The War Room at Airbnb is so cool, it even has its own check-in on Four Square!
 
The design on the Beamforming Microphone Array also is a visual manifestation of our company brand. Its ultra-sleek and modern design reflects the pioneering and leading-edge thinking that defines ClearOne as a company. The Beamforming Microphone Array has a low profile that can subtly blend into the ceiling, or wall, or a clean and eye-catching display as a table microphone with its attractive blue LED lighting. Businesses no longer want dozens of ceiling mics creating a busy sightline in the executive conference room, and this one unit can replace up to ten traditional microphones. The unit’s flexible mounting allows designers to have the freedom to create a beautiful workspace, and the installer is able to produce the crystal clear audio that you expect from ClearOne, no matter where it is mounted in the room.
 

 
Read more about modern office design at Airbnb and other companies here: http://www.modernluxury.com/san-francisco/story/workspace-arms-race
 

Forecast Weather Via RSS For WebSuite

Written on November 19, 2013 at 4:41 pm, by

 

blog-add-rss-forecast-weather

 

The RSS feed feature within WebSuite’s crawl region is great tool to pull current news and other up to date information.

We’ve recently found a website that creates a 3-day weather forecast in RSS feed for your city. I thought I would share that with you so you can jazz up your digital signage content by adding it to one of your crawl regions in your WebSuite project.

Below are the instructions on where to find the feed and how to insert it into your project. I’ll use our Corvallis, OR location as an example.

To begin, go to rssWeather.com

 

 

Step 1. Locate your State.

 

step-1

 

 

Step 2. Locate your County.

 

step-2

 

 

Step 3. Locate your City.

 

step-3

 

 

Step 4. Go to the RSS icon and click the link that says, “Subscribe to the CITY, STATE RSS Weather Feed”.

 

step-4

 

Step 5. Copy the RSS URL from the browser’s address bar.

 

step-5

 

 

Step 6. In WebSuite, go to the Layout tab and choose which overlay region you want the RSS feed to display in. Click New Content, choose RSS Feed as the Type and the past the copied RSS Feed URL from Step 5 into the URL section. Type any Prefix message you like and then choose Titles and Descriptions for the Data set.

 

step-6

 

 

Once you’ve gotten this far, you simply need to publish your project over to your Aavelin media player and when the RSS syncs with the refresh page, your Forecast weather will display in the crawl region you chose.

 

That’s it. The forecast weather RSS feed for your location will refresh every time there’s new data from the rssWeather.com’s server. Enjoy!

 

 

Notes:

 

  • rssWeather’s name and logo are trademarks of rssWeather.com
  • rssWeather.com may change the RSS URL feed structure at anytime, so please refer to their customer support for updated RSS feed information if the feed stops working.
  • Current Aavelin desktop Composer users can use this RSS feed using our RSStoCrawl MagicWidget.Contact us for more information if you’re interested.

 

Digital Signage: The Future of Customer Engagement

Written on November 19, 2013 at 10:51 am, by


Recent research suggests that companies are delaying the installation of digital signage for their offices and stores, or are removing their existing installed digital signage solutions based on claims of high introductory costs, and difficulty in creating engaging content for their audiences.
 
Those claims sounds daunting, except they aren’t accurate. Large, full HD monitors have dropped almost 40% in cost over last several years, and are more affordable than ever. These new screens are larger, cheaper and offer a much more engaging presentation than was possible even a few years ago. The WebSuite Digital Signage Platform from MagicBox allows users to layout graphics and information that are easy to create and implement, and even a novice can create a professional looking signage array in very little time.
 
People are becoming more and more accustomed to multimedia exposure throughout the day. From television and media players in cars, to digital menu boards in restaurants, digital signage is becoming more mainstream. Customers expect to be engaged with information and entertainment, and successful businesses are using digital signage technology to capture new customers— especially a younger demographic with a higher disposable income.
 
Some worry that the technology is intimidating, and that digital signage will require too much valuable time with designing and programming content. With the Aavelin and Websuite from MagicBox, you have a scalable, complete, turnkey digital signage & video messaging system for broadcast or hi-definition applications. It’s the digital signage market’s leading system for ease-of-use, allowing you to you use your own Windows PC to create prescheduled or ad-hoc multimedia content for playback on your dedicated Aavelin player. Use Aavelin Composer Software to create, schedule, and manage dynamic digital messages in the background, leaving your PC free for other work. Control a single player or multiple units from a remote location, saving time and money. WebSuite technology provides even further flexibility, allowing you to update all of your signage pieces from the cloud using a web browser, and with Android mobile devices. .
 
WebSuite from MagicBox has a robust and user-friendly interface that allows you to easily create high-definition graphics, text and more for your display. No need to hire a full-time designer; you can easily add eye catching graphics, directed marketing pieces, and special offers to your customers.
 
Sports bars are installing monitors in their restrooms, so customers never miss a game-changing moment. Restaurants are creating digital menu boards in the lobby to allow customers to view the menu and daily specials before even being seated. Department stores can now offer displays with maps to guide customers to specific areas, and also provide them with special discounts and offers that encourage additional sales. Digital signage is the future of customer engagement, and it’s time to stop asking how you can afford it, but instead, ask how you can afford to continue without it.
 
Visit our website at http://www.magicboxinc.com to learn more. You can also call our offices at 541-752-5654 or email us at info@magicbox.com
 

 

ADVANCED BEAMFORMING MICROPHONE ARRAY TECHNOLOGY FOR CORPORATE CONFERENCING SYSTEMS

Written on November 11, 2013 at 12:03 pm, by

Beamforming arrays date back over 100 years, and were first used in the military for determining the bearing and location of aircraft, ships, and submarines. Until the mid 1970’s, when microprocessors became widely available, these arrays were 100% acoustic and fairly primitive. Modern software development and digital signal processing techniques have substantially advanced the state of the art of this technology. With good design and engineering, it’s now possible to employ an advanced microphone array system to capture desired sounds and produce a highly intelligible, superior-quality audio signal.

Also known as spatial filtering, beamforming can be applied to both sound waves and radio energy, and thus is sometimes discussed in the context of cellular telephones, wireless networking, biomedicine, sonar, seismology, and even radio astronomy.

This paper focuses exclusively on beamforming as a method of sensing and filtering acoustic waves for enterprise video and telephone conferencing applications, and describes emerging techniques and technologies to improve the capture and processing of acoustic patterns, and the clarity of human speech in corporate conference rooms.

Acoustic Beamforming Theory

Research Scientist Andrew A. Ganse of the Applied Physics Laboratory at the University of Washington explains that “The basic point in beamforming is, when you set multiple transducers next to each other sending out signals [or listening for sound waves], you’re going to get a kind of interference pattern, just like you see in a pond when you throw several stones in at once and create interfering ripples. If you select the spacing between your transducers and the delay in the transducers’ signals just right, you can create an interference pattern that’s to your benefit, in particular one in which the majority of the signal energy all goes out in one angular direction.”

Certain interference patterns from multiple transducers can be spaced to act beneficially

By combining elements [i.e., antennas or microphones] in a phased array, so that signals at particular angles experience constructive interference while others experience destructive interference, beamforming can be used to achieve spatial selectivity and elimination of unwanted signals.

Beamforming microphones are part of a larger family of mics considered to be high-directionality, or perhaps ultra-directional microphones, due to their stunning sound quality, advanced performance, and similarities to phased-array radar.

As all sound professionals know, an omnidirectional microphone is one that picks up sound from all directions. The disadvantage of omni mics is that they often result in a sound feed that is reverberant, or hollow, and full of ambient noise from all directions in a room. A basic directional microphone still in common use today is the cardioid mic, perfected in the early 1940’s. Cardioid mics sound less reverberant and less noisy than omni mics because they attenuate off-axis reflected audio and noise by reducing sound pickup from the sides and rear. But cardioid mics have limited selectivity or filtering capabilities, which can be surpassed using beamforming technology.

Beamforming can be used to select, or focus on, just those sounds or voices that you want conference participants to hear, while rejecting all unwanted sounds. Selecting desired sound sources and rejecting undesirable sounds has been the goal of audio engineers for most of a century. With acoustic beamforming and integrated digital signal processing made possible by modern microprocessors and software, this is now technologically possible.

Traditional directional microphones may be used in conferencing applications to perform limited spatial filtering to improve audio quality. These microphones have an acoustic pattern that selectively picks up desired sound waves in one region of space and rejects others.

Beamforming is a signal processing technique carried out by a processor using input from the beamforming microphone array. The signals from the various microphones are combined such that signals at particular angles experience constructive interference, while others experience destructive interference.

Superior spatial selectivity can be achieved using beamforming techniques so that certain regions (sound directions) can be amplified, and other regions can be significantly attenuated. Beamforming processing components can also be configured to attenuate unwanted sounds originating from the direction of a door or window into the conference room.

To adjust and tune the directionality of the array to focus on desired sounds, a beamforming array system adjusts the phase and amplitude of the sounds reaching each microphone, to create a pattern of constructive and destructive interference in the wave front. Information from different microphones is then combined such that the expected acoustic pattern is preferentially processed and fed into the conferencing audio stream.

Advanced beamforming techniques employ interference patterns to change the directionality of the array, so that information collected from the various microphones can be combined to give preference to the expected acoustic patterns. Adaptive beamforming algorithms may also be included to automatically adapt to different situations and environments.

The most advanced, state-of-the-art enterprise video and teleconferencing systems today employ professionally engineered beamforming microphone arrays and associated components and processors.

The Emergence of Beamforming for Conferencing Applications

It’s common practice in audio/video teleconferencing systems to deploy a grouping of cardioid microphones, placed on a tabletop or mounted in the ceiling. When each directional mic is properly aimed at an individual and connected to a professional conferencing mixer, excellent audio pickup can be achieved. Similar results can be accomplished with wireless lapel or hand mics.

In a boardroom environment, however, there is frequently a desire to maintain a clean, cultured, corporate image, and a collection of microphones resting on tabletops or hanging from ceilings can be visually disruptive and damaging to interior designers’ esthetic goals. Integrated three-microphone arrays offer a reduction in the number of visible microphone elements, but nonetheless have a hard technical look that may also inhibit an ultra-clean, styled appearance.

Other disadvantages of tabletop and ceiling microphone strategies include the extra work that goes into maintaining numerous microphones, checking wireless batteries and sound levels, the inconvenience of worrying about whether everyone has remembered to clip on their wireless mics, whether any noise is being introduced, and constantly optimizing mixer levels. There are also high costs associated with mics, mounts, stands, cables, installation, and upkeep.

In contrast, a modern beamforming mic array delivers the ultimate in convenience, speech intelligibility, sound quality, and reliable communications. Beamforming arrays are less visually intrusive, and when mounted strategically, can disappear unobtrusively into the background.

With an array on a conference room table or mounted on ceiling or wall, the various microphone elements in the array, along with associated steering algorithms, digital signal processing, and echo cancellation can “zoom in” acoustically on individual conference participants and deliver sound quality that is superior to traditional conference room sound-gathering methodologies.

World’s First Professional-Grade, 24-Element Beamforming Microphone Array

The convergence of modern conference room interior design with advances in acoustic technology and digital signal processing is accentuated by the recent availability of the ClearOne 24-element Beamforming Microphone Array, the first solution of its kind in the professional audio industry.

Made possible by ClearOne’s beamforming technology, digital signal processing, adaptive steering – think of it as smart beam selection, and next-generation acoustic echo canceling processes, the 24-element Beamforming Microphone Array system is a groundbreaking, integrated teleconferencing system consisting of microphone capsules, on-board-processing, advanced software, and a connected digital electronics mixer stack.

As many as ten traditional microphones can be removed from a conference room and replaced by the sleek, attractive enclosure of the beamforming array. The on-board intelligence, spatial filtering, and signal processing capabilities of the integrated system give it twice the pick-up range of other microphones and significantly reduce height, distance, and angle constraints.

Each Beamforming Microphone Array unit operates in collaboration with a ClearOne CONVERGE® Pro conferencing system, which shares processing tasks and provides echo cancellation, noise cancellation, filtering, gating, level control, and adaptive acoustic modeling to deliver the most natural conferencing audio experience possible.

The combined beamforming and signal processing technologies automatically steer tightly-focused audio pickup beams towards people speaking, and filter out unwanted sounds and reflections to reduce room noises and eliminate those hollow reverberant sounds that commonly plague conference room environments.

Beams that would be aimed towards unwanted regions, such as windows, doors, or noise sources, can be disabled by the installer in software. Up to three beamforming arrays can be attached to each supported CONVERGE Pro system, and as many as sixteen beamforming arrays along with six required CONVERGE Pro conferencing systems can be networked together to provide coverage in multiple regions, rooms, or portions of a building.

Simplicity and Ease of Installation

The ClearOne Beamforming Microphone Array is a plug-and-play device that can be easily configured, customized and installed. Minimal configuration is required, since the technology is completely internalized. The array’s sophistication, and its associated software, processors, and electronics are so intelligently implemented, that a technician with average audio conferencing skills is capable of performing the installation and configuration.

+ The ClearOne Beamforming Microphone Array is no more complicated to install and setup than any other microphone. Integrators experienced in the installation and configuration of typical conference microphones can easily configure the array.

+ The only connections required are a single Power over Ethernet (PoE) and one audio connection to the expansion bus of the CONVERGE Pro unit. No custom cables, no wiring terminal blocks, or any other onnections are needed.

+ Although completely customizable to meet the needs of nearly every application, the ClearOne Beamforming Microphone Array default configuration works right out of the box. Unlike standard conference microphones which require experience in configuring proper gain structure between devices, the Beamforming Microphone Array is pre-configured to work directly with the internal gain structure of the CONVERGE Pro. When installed according to ClearOne guidelines, the only adjustments will be minor gain changes to customize levels for your application.

The Ultimate in Teleconferencing Sound Quality

In the world of professional audio and video teleconferencing – beamforming microphone arrays and their associated mixers, digital signal processors, and echo-canceling functions represent the newest, most advanced technological innovations, breaking new ground for teleconference sound fidelity, clarity, and intelligibility.

Modern beamforming technology has the proven ability to surpass traditional techniques for clearly capturing and reproducing human voices in conferencing applications, and rejecting unwanted sounds, to optimize collaboration and understanding among conference participants.

When conveniently installed in conference center ceilings, walls, or tabletops, beamforming microphone systems deliver the best, most unobtrusive options for the physical placement of microphones, making them the superior choice for flawless conferencing audio in any setting.

The Beamforming Microphone Array fits any application with flexible mounting for tabletop, ceiling, and wall modes

 

New Study: Digital Signage On the Rise

Written on November 4, 2013 at 11:24 am, by


Digital signage is on the rise and here to stay.
 
A new study from the global market research and consulting company MarketsandMarkets estimates that the digital signage market will be at 13.2 billion by 2016.
 
We at ClearOne continue to innovate with our digital signage products and services, as part of this dynamic market.
 
Digital signage has been a mainstay in our lives and this study confirms that the growth we are seeing will continue to be ever present in sectors like retail, corporate, university and many, many more.
 
To read more about this study, please refer to the article from Digital Signage Today or go straight to the source at MarketsandMarkets here.
 
Contact us today to see if we have a Digital Signage solution that’s right for your business.
 

If you have any questions about or products and services or would simply like to talk with us, give us a call at (541)752-5654 or send us an email to sales@magicbox.com

 

 

THE VALUE OF STANDALONE VIDEO ENDPOINTS – Part Two

Written on October 28, 2013 at 12:58 pm, by

This post continues our discussion on the value of standalone video endpoints.
 

 

Cloud-based Conferencing

 
Cloud-based video conferencing gives organizations the benefits of video conferencing without major investment in infrastructure or network that is often required for many deployments. Cloud-based services deliver the value of high-quality video conferencing without the upfront costs for equipment and staff that are usually needed to set up and manage video calls.
 

Cloud-based conferencing is cost effective and easily accessible from anywhere


 
Cloud-based services make video easily accessible to anyone, anywhere whether they are using video in a room, at the desktop or on a mobile device. Video service in the cloud offers opportunities for businesses of all sizes to access video conferencing technologies in a way that is easy to use, affordable, and not dependent on in-house IT resources.
 

Applications For Standalone Systems

 
A large pharmaceutical firm used a standalone video unit when there was a need to have a subject matter expert, located in a foreign country, participate in a seminar held in the United States. The availability of a standalone video unit made it easy for the firm to connect the individual into a call. A phone line was used as a backup in case the video call failed. There was no worry about in-house infrastructure or the need to find a firm to host the call.
 
The value of a standalone video unit was useful to engineers from a packaged goods company who needed to immediately focus on an assembly line problem. In the past, traditional video conferencing units and in-house infrastructure issues made it difficult to handle problems with a moment’s notice. Video conferences had to be planned.
 
Standalone video units, with an embedded MCU, recording & streaming capabilities, make it easier to hold a video call when needed. Cloud service offerings can be used to reach outside firms (B2B) or consumer locations (B2C). Now true video conferencing portability is a reality.
 

ClearOne’s COLLABORATE® Room Advantages

COLLABORATE Room, soft-codec based video conferencing


 
ClearOne COLLABORATE® room solutions are standalone, serverless video units that offer best-in-class video conferencing and collaboration at a price-point and feature set vastly superior to competing room conferencing solutions. Collaborate Room systems are available for small to large sized rooms. These systems are plug & play devices that are easy to set-up, operate and upgrade. ClearOne’s COLLABORATE® offers the following advantages:
 
+ Self-contained, Serverless
+ Multi-standard – H.323 and SIP
+ Embedded MCU
+ Embedded Recording
+ Embedded Streaming (both uni-cast & multicast)
 

Summary

 
Deployment and usage of video conferencing systems no longer need to be difficult. No longer is there a need to invest in cumbersome in-house infrastructure, nor is there a need to deploy systems that are time consuming and difficult to install when considering video conferencing at secondary sites. Standalone, server independent deployment is now available to allow organizations to grow their adoption of video conferencing and offer easy to use, full-featured, technology. These systems are designed for small and medium-sized organizations or for secondary sites of larger enterprises.
 
S. Ann Earon, Ph.D., is president of Telemanagement Resources International Inc. and Founding Chairperson of IMCCA, the non-profit industry association for collaborative conferencing. She can be reached via email at annearon@aol.com.
 

New Study: Digital Signage On the Rise

Written on October 25, 2013 at 9:40 am, by

Digital Signage Market Growing

 

Digital signage is on the rise and here to stay.

 

A new study from the global market research and consulting company MarketsandMarkets estimates that the digital signage market will be at 13.2 billion by 2016.

 

Wow! What a great industry to be a part of and we at ClearOne are excited to help drive that market upward with our own innovative digital signage products and services.

 

Digital signage has been a mainstay in our lives and this study confirms that the growth we are seeing will continue to be ever present in sectors like retail, corporate, university and many, many more.

 

To read more about this study, please refer to the article from Digital Signage Today or go straight to the source at MarketsandMarkets here.

 

Contact us today to see if we have a Digital Signage solution that’s right for your business.

 

If you have any questions about or products and services or would simply like to talk with us, give us a call at (541)752-5654 or send us an email to sales@magicboxinc.com

MagicBox Composer – Certificate of Networthiness (CoN) from the U.S. Army

Written on October 24, 2013 at 1:10 pm, by


 
Composer allows users to quickly and easily create and schedule digital signage content. Although Composer is designed for the ClearOne’s Aavelin line of digital signage players, the software is compatible with all players that put out a variety of video signals, including: Composite, S-Video, VGA, and DVI-D. This latest version of Composer also supports MPEG4 and DivX video playback.
 
“This is a great opportunity to continue working with our U.S. Military customers around globe” said Tom Searcy VP of Digital Signage for ClearOne. “ClearOne is looking forward to more developments in the digital signage market; providing strong solutions across a wide variety of vertical applications.”
 
Download MagicBox Aavelin Composer 4 CoN paper here
 
Questions: sales@clearone.com

THE VALUE OF STANDALONE VIDEO ENDPOINTS – Part One

Written on October 21, 2013 at 11:07 am, by


 

Introduction

 
As organizations continue to deploy video conferencing units in a wider variety of conference rooms there is a desire to install systems that are standalone endpoints, which don’t require the need to invest and deploy a cumbersome in-house infrastructure. Additionally these server independent units provide flexibility, immediacy and portability.
 
Even though there is a growing trend to desktop and mobile video conferencing, there is still significant demand to conduct conferences in pre-set rooms or executive offices equipped with dedicated devices with higher quality audio systems and cameras.
 
Standalone video systems can be used to host small conferences with their embedded MCU (multipoint control unit) and provide recording and basic streaming services. When needed, these systems can use cloud services for better reach and capacity for both B2B (business-to business) and B2C (business- to- consumer) use cases.
 
The concept of standalone endpoints marries well with the BYOD (bring your own device) trend and can reduce cost and complexity for SMB (small/medium businesses) and secondary sites for larger organizations.
 

History

 
In the earlier days of video conferencing many room systems were large and unwieldy appliances with complex user interfaces. This resulted in video conferencing being cumbersome and not user friendly. The appliance was eliminated from room based systems when video conferencing set top boxes were introduced. These units were easier to install and sat on top of a television monitor. Eventually there was a drive to PC-based systems with self contained codecs that worked with web cams. Software based video conferencing products were bundled with a camera and microphones.
 
Standalone video endpoints were initially designed to sit on the desktop for personal participation in a video call. Today these standalone video endpoints are useful in any room, on any desktop and as a mobile app. for a variety of B2B and B2C applications.
 
The technology has evolved from large, cumbersome systems to systems that are stand-alone and portable with all functionality bundled into the system. This evolution now makes it possible to install self-contained, full-featured video conferencing systems wherever they are needed.
 

Videoconferencing is now just a click away


 

The Value

 
Standalone video endpoints are inexpensive and easy to set up. They provide flexibility and allow for instantaneous meetings in the office or away from work (mobile and serverless), since the technology is easy to install and inexpensive enough to allow installation at secondary sites (i.e. home and smaller office sites). Users like the immediacy of the technology and are using these units for a variety of applications. No longer is there worry about cumbersome in-house infrastructure or the need for a multipoint control unit.
 
Until the advent of self-contained systems, organizations wishing to connect more than two sites together had to use a multipoint control unit (MCU) to make these connections. Standalone systems now have an MCU embedded in them, thus reducing the complexity and cost of using an external MCU and avoiding firewall issues.
 
Additionally, these units offer the value of recording and basic streaming services so information from meetings can be saved and others, at a distance, can view the meeting either as it happens or afterwards.
 
We’ll continue our discussion of the value of standalone video endpoints in our blog next week. In the meantime, what are your thoughts about Video endpoints? What value does it add to your clients? We’d love to read your thoughts in our comments section.