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Be the best presenter you can

Written on November 16, 2017 at 3:20 pm, by

 
After more than 37 years of eating out of every bowl of dog food in the equation (End-User, AV Integrator and Manufacturer), I have watched presentations and the technology used evolve from tin can & string to NASA technology.

 

By no fault of anyone involved, 8 out of 10 primary “presenters” in fact have drawn the short straw and are as nervous as cats when they walk up to the podium. And, for all the advancements and money we spend to outfit a conference room with the best ClearOne equipment money can buy, it will only work as good as the person speaking and how prepared they are.

 

So, this is the first installment of just a few of the best practices and common sense tips I’ve picked up from hundreds of articles and real world experience along the ways to improve your presentation:

 

  1. Realize 90% of Nervousness Doesn’t Show: The audience usually can’t see the butterflies, or shaky hands, or sweaty palms. The problem occurs when we start thinking about these symptoms rather than focusing on the audience and our topic. By human nature, most people are focused on themselves not on you. Focus on them and two things will happen: 1) they will like you more, and 2) much of the nervousness that you feel will go away.

 

  1. Butterflies are Normal: At this point, as you practice, you might start to feel butterflies in your stomach or other symptoms of public speaking fear. Don’t worry. This is normal. However, as you practice once or twice, the nervousness should drop pretty dramatically.

 

  1. Learn from Mistakes: When you or your team has challenges, tell the story about the challenge or mistake, and then add the moral at the end to show how you learned from it. A lot of times, this can add some self-deprecating humor as well.

 

  1. Lose Train of Thought?If you lose your train of thought and feel some panic, then one of a couple of things might be happening. You likely have a bunch of bullet points that are difficult to remember. If so, go back through the earlier tips and design your speech differently. If you are feeling light headed and confused, though…

 

  1. Energy and Enthusiasm: Enthusiasm is the absolute most important public speaking secret. If you have energy and enthusiasm, your audience will love you. Be excited about your topic, and your audience will be excited about your presentation.

 

  1. Talk with Your Hands: We all naturally speak with our hands, but for some reason, when we stand up to speak, we tend lock up our body language and lose a lot of our natural energy. Drop your hands when you start a speech, then use them to explain you points. (By the way, if you tell a lot of stories, this will happen naturally.)

 

  1. Make Your Gestures Bigger than Your Body: Small gestures below the shoulders and close to your body make you look weak and timid. The higher and wider your gestures are, the more confident you appear. When we get nervous, we want a barrier between us and the threat, so the small gestures show the audience that you are threatened by them. Make the gestures bigger.

 

  1. Breathe: When we get nervous, we tend to breathe more shallowly. When this happens, the speaker will not have enough oxygen which makes the panic even greater… Which alters the breathing even more. When you feel this happening, just stop, and take a deep breath from the diaphragm. To keep this from happening, take a nice deep breath before you say your first sentence.

 

  1. Props can Add Showmanship: When legislators were trying to get people upset about the healthcare legislation in 2009, they just printed out the thousands of documents that made up the bill. The piles and piles of unreadable pages was pretty overwhelming and made a valid point. When I was starting out teaching leadership classes, I found a toy that was a tiny shipping box that, when I pushed a button, shook and said, “Let me out of here!” I used it as a prop when I talked about self-confidence saying, “we all have that confident person inside of us who is struggling to get out and be seen.”

 

  1. Have a Contest: Divide the audience into small groups and have a contest of some kind. This could be a test to see what they remember from the speeches from previous presenters or it could be a contest to see who can come up with the most creative solution to a challenge or problem that you are experiencing. Get creative, because people learn more when they are having fun

 

The Seven Deadly Sins of Presenting
 

  1. Thou Shan’t Not Go Overtime without Consent
  2. To “uh” is Human, but Too Many is Annoying
  3. Thou Shall Not Speak Monotone
  4. Thou Shall Not Use Shop-Talk
  5. Thou Shall Not Speak Whilst the Audience Reads Thy Slide
  6. Thou Shall Not Read Endless Excerpts to Thine Audience
  7. Thou Shall Not Dump Endless Data Upon Thine Audience

 
The good news is that if you follow the prior tips, you will never violate any of these deadly sins!
 
 
 

All about Power over Ethernet (PoE) – ClearOne Tech Note

Written on September 7, 2017 at 3:03 pm, by

The purpose of this tech note (full link below) is to describe information related to Power over Ethernet (PoE) and ClearOne’s PoE supported CONVERGE Pro 2 (CP2) P-Link Peripheral Pro Audio products.

 

Power over Ethernet or PoE refers to passing of electric power through twisted-pair Ethernet cable, allowing  a single Ethernet cable to provide both a data connection and electric power to devices; giving new flexibility to installations.

 

Powered Devices (PD’s) that can operate within the power specification of PoE can be located almost anywhere, without the need for electrical outlets. Power Sourcing Equipment (PSE) all provide DC power on the Ethernet cable (such as PoE Ethernet Network Switches, and PoE Power Injectors).

 

PoE has been standardized by IEEE 802.3 standards, and has two types:

  • PoE: This is covered by the 802.3af standard and provides up to 15.4 Watts of DC power.
  • PoE+ or PoE Plus: This is covered by the 802.at standard and provides up to 25.5 Watts of DC Power (over two pairs).

 

ClearOne’s CONVERGE® Pro 2 peripheral connections are supported by PoE, with the ability to daisy-chain multiple peripherals with mixers through our P-LINK connections, sharing resources and power.

 

 

Two standard PoE modes exist – A, and B, which differ as:

 

Mode A:

  • Delivers power on the data pairs of 100-BASE-TX or 10-BASE-T cable.
  • That is, pins 1 & 2 form one side of the DC supply and pins 3 & 6 form the other side.
  • These are the same two pairs used for data transmission. That is, mixed data and power.
  • This is similar to the phantom power technique used for powering microphones.
  • In summary, this mode A uses only 2 pairs for data and power.

 

Mode B:

  • Delivers power on the spare pairs of 100-BASE-TX or 10-BASE-T cable.
  • That is, pins 4 & 5 form one side of the DC supply and pins 7 & 8 provide the return.
  • These are spare pairs and these spare pairs are used for power. That is, no mix of data and power.
  • In summary, this mode B uses 4 pairs for data and power.

 

The table below shows ClearOne products that support PoE (i.e., PD’s), PoE modes supported for powering from PSE, PoE Power injectors (i.e., PSE’s) that we offer and the number of PD devices that can be supported.

 

S. No.

ClearOne PD’s

Supported PoE Modes

ClearOne PSE’s

PoE Power Injector
(910-001-004)

PoE+ Power Injector
(910-3200-202)

Product

Part Number

Mode A

Mode B

Mode A or
Mode B

Support
One PD

Support
Daisy-Chain
up to 3 PD’s

Support
One PD

Support
Daisy-Chain
up to 3 PD’s

1

Beamforming Mic Array 1 (White)

910-001-003

YES

YES

YES

YES

NO

YES

NO

2

Beamforming Mic Array 1 (Black)

910-001-003-B

YES

YES

YES

YES

NO

YES

NO

3

Beamforming Mic Array 2 (White)

910-3200-201

NO

YES

NO

YES

NO

YES

YES

4

Beamforming Mic Array 2 (Black)

910-3200-201-B

NO

YES

NO

YES

NO

YES

YES

5

CONVERGE Pro 2 GPIO Expander

910-3200-301

NO

YES

NO

YES

NO

YES

YES

6

CONVERGE Pro 2 USB Expander

910-3200-302

NO

YES

NO

YES

NO

YES

YES

7

DIALOG 20 Wireless Receiver

910-6100-201

NO

YES

NO

YES

NO

YES

YES

8

Touch Panel Controller *

910-3200-501

YES

YES

YES

YES

NO

YES

NO

* This must  be the last device in the P-link chain when daisy-chained with other PD’s.

 

For the full, downloadable tech note, please click here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

CONVERGE Pro 2’s New Control Modules

Written on August 29, 2017 at 8:30 am, by

 

As part of our ongoing commitment to provide commercial AV integrators with solutions that are easy to adopt and integrate into all of their AV system designs, we recently engaged Control Concepts, a leading AV software and services provider, to create a suite of AMX, Crestron and Extron control platform modules for our new CONVERGE® Pro 2 series of DSP Mixers, which we believe are the industry’s most advanced professional audio DSP platform for conferencing and sound reinforcement applications.

 

Control Concepts was uniquely positioned to support us in this capacity because of their ability to deliver a consistent solution across multiple control systems platforms precisely because they are an authorized solutions provider of Crestron, AMX, and Extron control systems.  The modules that were developed by Control Concepts allow our consultants, resellers, programmers and users to have a uniform and standardized experience regardless of the platform they prefer to work with.

 

The ClearOne CONVERGE Pro 2 outperforms in any size room, audio environment and application and is optimized to work with 2nd generation Beamforming Mic Array 2 and DIALOG® 20 2-Channel Wireless Microphone System through its native connection.

 

From the perspective of Control Concepts the newly developed modules help to simplify control system programming and integration of the CONVERGE Pro 2, ultimately

ClearOne CONVERGE Pro 2 Digital Signal Processor- Crestron Controller

creating more effective and adaptable solutions for consultants, integrators, and programmers working with the equipment.  In fact, this partnership provided Control Concepts with a valuable opportunity to collaborate with us during the critically important development stage, which helped to ensure that their clients’ control system needs are fully supported upon product release. Having multi-platform, consistent modules and a support relationship will help us to increase adoption and integration of their products.

 

The CONVERGE Pro 2 DSP mixers give further flexibility and affordability in choosing features and functionality. Scalable connectivity and powerful architecture provide up to 12 mic/line inputs, each with next-generation Acoustic Echo Cancellation®. Noise Cancellation with Adaptive Ambience with advanced microphone gating, and faster convergence span the full line, with different options for built-in VoIP, Telco, USB, and Dante. It creates a neat, economical solution to what might otherwise require a more expensive design.

 

 

ClearOne’s Unique Solution to Comb Filtering Issues in a Conference Room

Written on July 27, 2017 at 4:41 pm, by

 

In conferencing situations, it is quite possible that multiple microphones at different distances may gate on for a single person’s voice. Due to the delay time in traveling to the more distant mic, peaks and notches are created in the frequency response of the mixed signal called “comb filtering, “causing a hollow, distant feeling; like sound traveling through a tunnel.

 

This will reduce the intelligibility of voice transmitted to the far end during a conference call.

 

We at ClearOne deal with this problem in a unique way, by implementing our very effective First-Mic-Priority Algorithm to our Audio Conferencing solutions.

 

First-Mic Priority  helps maintain maximum audio intelligibility by allowing only one mic to gate on a participant’s voice. The algorithm does allow more than one microphone to be activated at same time— but it simply restricts mics from gating on to the same audio source. The first-mic priority feature evaluates each channel and  only allows the microphone with the loudest pickup to gate on.

 

If this feature is disabled, users will notice the undesirable effect of two or more microphones gate on when only one person speaks. Keeping the First-Mic Priority feature enabled in your mixer configuration which will translate into a cleaner pickup of voices with less “phasing” of the audio.

 

Take a look at CONVERGE® Pro 2 and hear the best quality in the industry.

 

 

 

 

 

Yes, 4K Really DOES Matter!

Written on July 13, 2017 at 11:58 am, by

 

I recently read an article titled “Does 4K even matter?” It was a good article with some salient points. I would argue that 4K does matter for a variety of reasons; and I agree with the author that 4K is a tool…and the right tool is going to depend upon the job. 4K makes sense when all the parts in the entire system support 4K or when a customer wants to future-proof an installation and install as many 4K-compatible devices as possible in the project.

 

VIEW® Pro 4K – Encoder

Just as our currently-shipping 2K version of VIEW® Pro; the 4k version supports all of the awesome licensed features that make our ecosystem unique. We offer a composition feature that allows the user to create video walls and/or multi-viewer compositions. The number of sources that can be shown on a video wall or even a single screen is virtually unlimited — and it’s incredibly scalable with no requirement for a video wall processor. Applications span almost any vertical market- from Command and Control Centers to medical appliactions; any customer that requires the highest resolution, best color space (4:4:4), and finest detail.

 

Using both H.264 and H.265 video coding compression, VIEW Pro 4K can ride on existing networks. These streams are 1/10 to 1/100 the size of comparable streams using Motion JPEG or Uncompressed Video offering incredible scalability. In addition, our current VIEW Pro 2K solutions can be intermingled and work in the same installations as our 4K solutions.

 

Another important feature of VIEW Pro is the ability to both ingest and create RTSP streams to work with 3rd-party decoders like VLC. 4K video playback on VLC does have some specific requirements for it to work successfully, including enabling the GPU accelerated feature in VLC. By using the processing power of the graphics card, it will reduce the load on the processer. Newer operating systems with the latest drivers will be required for 4K decoding to work smoothly. Consider an application in a medical or dental school where a professor streams 4K via RTSP for students to pick up on their laptops. Through a 3rd-party control, the professor can switch these streams at will.

 

ClearOne’s 4K VIEW Pro continues the lineage of providing the best value, greatest flexibility, and interoperability with 3rd-party control systems that earns it’s moniker of being the only “true video DSP” in the streaming marketplace.

 

4K encoders and decoders have their places in the AV world, and adoption will continue to grow as the entire industry matures and expands, with all pieces in the chain become 4k-enabled.

 

Learn more about the ClearOne VIEW® Pro 4K Multimedia Networked AV Streaming Solution that was Awarded InfoComm 2017 – Best of Show.

 

 

 

 

 

Why Beamforming Technology with Adaptive Steering?

Written on July 5, 2017 at 2:07 pm, by

 

Why remain seated?

 

Let’s face it, when it comes to most meetings, conferencing etiquette is not a top priority. No matter how much everyone tries, most attendees can’t sit with perfect posture while speaking up; and some may even be a little shy. While there are many ceiling-style microphone solutions to choose from; they are all very different and far from equal.

 

Here are a few bullet points to think about when you are about to choose a ceiling microphone solution:

  • Do I need microphone coverage across the entire meeting space?
  • Are there members who speak extremely quietly most times?
  • Is my room multipurpose and will the furniture need to be moved around depending on the meeting style?

 

Despite the large variety of ceiling-style microphones available; today’s most popular are beamforming arrays such as the ClearOne’s Beamforming Mic Arrays. Beamforming technology has been around for quite a long time; however, ClearOne was the first to innovate this technology into a conferencing environment with powerful echo cancellation.

 

 

One of the most important features— still not to be found anywhere else—is the incorporation of adaptive steering (thinks of it as “smart beam selection”) into the ClearOne Beamforming Mic solution. This important feature truly makes the array very different from any other offerings. It’s very important to note this feature, and how it moves far beyond static beams that are simply focused in any one area.

 

Beamforming Microphone Array table mount

Beamforming Microphone Array table mount coverage.

Beamforming Microphone Array ceiling mount coverage

Beamforming Microphone Array ceiling mount coverage

Beamforming Microphone Array wall mount

Beamforming Microphone Array wall-mount coverage

 

 

The Beamforming Array’s adaptive steering allows the microphone’s beams to adapt to attendees in a meeting in real-time, as they move around the room, without ever being lost. Despite speakers who may be on their feet, moving around as they speak, they are never “out” of the pickup pattern of the microphone. Arrays that do not have this technology certainly work well; but they only pick up the static, given area which has been pre-programmed for coverage. There may be scenarios in which these static coverage areas may be desired; but certainly not ideal for most audio or video conferencing environments.

 

It seems that the point of using a Beamforming Mic Array in a conferencing environment is to know your participants’ audio will be picked up no matter where they are or how softly they talk. Using a ClearOne Beamforming Mic Array gives you piece of mind knowing that you won’t miss a word during that all important conference call.

 

If you are thinking of using a beamforming style microphone array please take a moment and review ClearOne’s innovative offerings and don’t hesitate to ask for a demo!

 

 

 

 

Getting Creative With AV over IP

Written on June 22, 2017 at 4:30 pm, by

 

One of the interesting things about AV over IP is that it offers a unique way to accomplish AV communication goals.  The rules change when your sources and end points are routed over a network; and this offers a great deal of flexibility.  An integrator recently presented some design requirements that allow an advantage with this flexibility.

 

The system called for 16 IP cameras on a network that needed to be routed to and controlled from a separate network without any Ethernet connection between the two networks.

 

The 16 cameras are connected to a layer-3 switch.  The IP addresses of each of those cameras are entered as a proxy on the decoder which has an RTSP license for hosting 3rd-party streams.  Each IP camera can provide different resolutions; and by using lower-resolution streams, the decoder does not to scale the video.  With the decoder hosting these RTSP Streams, the decoder now becomes the source into the encoder.  Usually we think of the decoder as the end point, but not in this scenario.  The connection between the two is an HDMI cable.  This addresses one of the primary requirements of the system which is security.  The customer does not want the IP cameras accessible from the network on which they are being viewed.

 

The encoder that is connected to the switch has an RTSP license that allows it to send RTSP streams to 3rd-party devices.  Viewers with access to the “viewing” network can use a soft decoder like VLC to pick up the stream via a URL.  The viewer sees whatever is on that URL which could be any of the 16 camera feeds or a combination of multiple cameras in a layout created in the VIEW® Pro Panorama Software.  The switching between these sources and layouts is accomplished using our VIEW Virtual Matrix software (see links to sample videos below) or our free Virtual Control software.  This GUI can even be accessed via a mobile device.  For more extensive control we offer free modules for all of the popular control systems.

 

https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0B0sUvEZJUaAMMnhIOThUTmRtVWc

 

From the ClearOne side, all this requires is a single Encoder with and RTSP License and a Single Decoder with both and RTSP and a Composition license.  While it’s not something you run into every day, it is a unique way to solve a problem.  The end result is a very flexible, scalable and certainly a very cost effective solution.

 

 

 

See all of our VIEW® Pro Streaming solutions.

 

 

 

We Have a Facebook Contest Winner!

Written on June 12, 2017 at 4:05 pm, by

 

We know that you’ve been on the edge of your seat waiting in anticipation for the announcement of the winner of the ‘MEDIA COLLABORATION KIT’.

 

Ladies and gentleman with out further ado, we give you the winner, Colby Cox!!!!

 

CONGRATULATIONS!

 

 

All of these awesome prizes are yours! You’re now the talk of town and super famous.

 

Thank you to all who entered our Facebook Contest. It was really fun and was a raving success.

Be on the look our for the next contest with even more great prizes to give away and you too can be cast into the limelight of the Pro AV industry.

 

 

 

 

Video Walls Cannot be That Simple

Written on June 8, 2017 at 10:15 am, by

 

It can seem daunting – creating content on such a large canvas for public consumption. Video walls make a huge impression (pun intended) for lobby areas, informative signage, or even retail use. Even with the hardware setup, just configuring the sources to appear as desired can be a time-consuming task… at least until now.

 

Auto-discovery of sources can be key to saving time — and sanity — with a video-wall project. The foundation of a fully expandable mesh network of sources and endpoints makes the concept nearly nirvana, and VIEW® Pro delivers. It’s really that simple, with one screen or many, and the PANORAMA software license, you can add a video wall to your existing network, and configure it literally in minutes.

 

Watch these examples, to see just how easy it can be with our latest VIEW Pro Features and Tips:

(4 videos in Playlist)

 

 

Corporate AV Should Be Exceptional

Written on May 26, 2017 at 11:35 am, by

 

Corporate AV has become ubiquitous in almost every setting, as digital devices seem to be constantly in-hand, and the expectations of immediacy and flexibility in sharing information is driving our business decisions more than ever. Meetings with remote participants have evolved not only to include video with an unfailing audio foundation; but also the flexibility to share content from multiple people— and multiple devices —with an assumed ease-of-use.

 

Flexible Cloud and Room systems are the key to true adoption, and efficient remote meetings in which key decisions can be made. Users require the full gamut of media collaboration from rich video and web conferencing Cloud-only services, to total solutions for huddle spaces and conference rooms that also include Cloud plus multi-user wireless presentation, recording and streaming, traditional video conferencing— all with audio conferencing & PTZ camera endpoints. Solutions for “bring-your-own familiar app” are a new necessity for true adoption of conferencing spaces.

 

For conference spaces to truly be used to their full potential, systems need to include Cloud access, as well as flexible and intuitive room systems with built-in Cloud collaboration; the foundation of ClearOne’s COLLABORATE® Pro and Spontania. With true ease-of-use and flexibility, conference spaces become busy and utilized for small ad-hoc meetings and large, formal meetings alike. User needs are satisfied- from the ability to share content from more than one person simultaneously, to more flexibility for content sharing with smartphones and tablets. The ClearOne lineup delivers a host of features that are right-sized for any collaboration space or need.

 

This InfoComm International infographic (used with permission) hits some key points in this burgeoning age of video collaboration, the need for flexible systems that can handle audio conferencing, traditional video conferencing, Cloud video collaboration with familiar web applications, BYOD, wireless presentation, and even the needs for recording and streaming. We’ve become so attuned to video, that we stay more focused when non-verbal visual cues are present in meetings – with a higher likelihood of watching video or visual content than reading documents.