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The Case for Audio Making or Breaking Video Communications

Written on January 3, 2017 at 3:06 pm, by

 

It’s easy to see video conferencing and collaboration as the “next step” in communications, something beyond the world of audio conferencing. However, the truth is, a video conference is only as good as its audio. The occasional dropped frame or even severe video issues can still be forgiven in a conference without interrupting the flow.

 

However, if audio becomes choppy, it quickly becomes fatiguing to listen or to repeat statements or questions… and worse, if audio is missing, there simply is no conference to be had.

 

Tune in an find out why great video collaboration can only be built on a solid foundation of superior audio. Ron Lynch, ClearOne’s Supervisor Technical Trainer, provides an overview of why strong audio is an absolute necessity in video conferencing and collaboration, in conjunction with Commercial Integrator:

 

 

See the original post from Commercial Integrator here:

The Case for Audio Making or Breaking Video Communications

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Power of AV over IP

Written on November 2, 2016 at 11:04 am, by

 

Traditionally, AV content is distributed using fixed hardware matrix solutions – a method still being used in some projects. This method will have one piece of hardware with fixed number of inputs and fixed number of outputs; all the sources and destinations being connected to this same box.

 

 

There are some major disadvantages in using this traditional method. To name just a few:

 

a) Multiple racks of equipment and more footprints are needed
b) Expensive, specialized, and source-dedicated cables are  needed
c) Complex installation and maintenance is required
d) Cable restriction for length limitation is a consideration and even it may pick up noise and distortion
e) Rigidity is a reality – the system is neither scalable nor flexible. For example: Starting with one 16×16 (sources x destinations) unit, a customer would face purchasing another entire 16×16 system should they need to add just two more channels…a 32×32 system in which only 18×18 are being used.

 

The modern and new way of distributing AV contents is through TCP/IP Ethernet network. To explain simply, the source devices are connected to a device called an “Encoder.” The destination devices are connected with a device called a “Decoder.” The Encoders and Decoders are connected with an Ethernet Network Switch.

 

 

There are countless advantages in using this new method. To name just a few:

 

a) Highly scalable: Any source to any destination in any combination of the inputs/outputs can be connected in the system. Add a device when needed and if needed.
b) No distance limitation in the network.
c) Highly flexible, including video, audio, data, and control – all in the same network. Can extend the system by increment of 1 unit (unlike the purchasing scenario above!)
d) Highly reliable with high-quality signal transmission over standard Ethernet networks, using standard CAT5e/6 cables.
e) Internet Protocols are matured and standardized for interoperability and are future-proof.
f) Highly affordable, using the existing IP network infrastructure that includes the switches and cables.
g) Ease of installation and maintenance.

 

 

ClearOne’s StreamNet technology – a high-quality, AVoIP streaming solution that provides digital media distribution with unmatched scalability and ease of deployment on existing IP networks. It supports all types of AV sources to be distributed through existing Ethernet networks to all types of endpoints – from video wall screens to single, large-display screens and laptops or mobile devices.

 

ClearOne’s VIEW® Pro delivers the highest-quality multimedia streaming & distribution on an existing IP network with 1080p60 resolution, and an H.264 codec with ultra-high-quality 4:4:4 color-space video, ultra-low latency, low & adjustable network bandwidth, self-discovery, built-in control, RTSP/UDP streams for 3rd party products interoperability.

 

 

 

Looking For Adventure? We’re Hiring!!

Written on October 26, 2016 at 9:08 pm, by

 

We’re Hiring Sales Pros!

 

ClearOne is expanding its sales power and recruiting Regional and Technical Sales Managers for the Western and Southern United States.

 

 

Check out our newest solutions in professionally installed audio, professional microphones, network media streaming, and video conferencing/media collaboration.

 

If you’re a top producer, amp it up at clearone.com/career_opportunities

 

 

If you have a resume’ all ready to go, email it to us at: recruiting@clearone.com

 

 

NOTES FROM THE ROAD… CLEARONE SALES ROADSHOW TOUR

Written on October 24, 2016 at 4:04 pm, by

 

We’re traveling the states showing off our newest products. Read about our adventure at each stop on the ClearOne Sales Roadshow Tour and be on the look out for us at a city near you.

 

 SAN FRANCISCO – 12/8

Rainy San Francisco played home to our last Roadshow of 2016 (Seems strange to call it the last -but  we’ll  be back in January with more locations!)

 

Local Integrators and Consultants learned quite a bit about our latest solutions and found some very interesting possibilities with current projects that may now find some huge cost savings and a wealth of features with audio and video conferencing/collaboration. Many were introduced to the power of our streaming solutions, many not having previously done many of these types of installations. Wireless mics were of great interest with the simple integration and security offered with any pro audio installations.  The simplicity and flexibility of ClearOne’s integrated options really helped open everyone’s world to new solutions!

 ANAHEIM 12/6

Just next door to “the happiest place on earth” we found quite a few smiles of our own, as our local west-coast Integrators and Consultants were opening their worlds to all the newest ClearOne solutions.

 

The hands-on demos lasted quite a long time, as our attendees were finding more and more options for integrated solutions – adding industry-leading video collaboration to their pro audio installations, or vice versa, finding that video conferencing and media collaboration installations would be so much more natural and immersive with ClearOne professional audio integration.

 

Interest in streaming technology were answered with the unique ability to run powerful audio, video, and control over a single cable in a client’s existing TCP/IP network – something that opens up a lot of people’s worlds when no new wiring is required to have an easily installed mesh network for media streaming.

 

ClearOne’s wireless mics held everyone’s attention with the breadth of features and security found in such affordable packages. The flexibility of installations and the ease of use with field-upgradable products made the new wireless mics solutions a hit with everyone.

 

WASHINGTON DC – 11/10roadshow-dc

 

Our nation’s capital seems to be relatively calm after such a heated election season. We had a very productive meeting with attendees in Washington DC, with a session full of insightful questions and interactive dialogue. We heard from many consultants and integrators who were excited about all the newest ClearOne solutions and the expanded offerings they could provide for upcoming installations. Others now had the possibility of revisiting large projects already underway with the ability to offer clients solutions with the full range of features at a lower price than what may have been originally suggested.

All in all, we had a great time in Washington DC and will stay in close touch with our new contacts.  Will we see you at the next stop?

 


TORONTO – 11/1

 

Wroadshow-torontoe reached the far north this week with a visit to Toronto as our team of AV experts ran through the demos of the latest CONVERGE® Pro 2 Pro Audio DSP innovations, Spontania and COLLABORATE® Pro cloud-based videoconferencing and media collaboration (respectively), our affordable – and more importantly, highly secure – new wireless microphones, and the powerful flexibility of VIEW® Pro and its ability to stream across existing TCP/IP Ethernet networks.

 

The Canadian stop was very well-received and we thank everyone who attended! We’ll stay in touch with contacts old and new to support everyone with the latest solutions as a one-stop manufacturing resource.

 

Now it’s on to the next stop – hopefully we’ll see you there!

 

 


 

 

NEW YORK – 10/20

 

The “Big Apple” of AV practitioners’ eyes

 

 

roadshow-nyc

In the shadow of the Empire State Building, the historic Hotel Pennsylvania played host to ClearOne’s second Sales Roadshow.  High above the never-ending NYC  bustle, integrators and consultants learned all about ClearOne’s latest – ending with a hands-on tour of each major group of solutions.

 

Pro Audio has been redefined- AGAIN!  A live-listening demo of CONVERGE® Pro 2’s noise cancellation provided real-time examples of the latest and most powerful adaptive audio DSP algorithms, including acoustic echo cancellation, noise cancellation, feedback elimination, gain and level control, and microphone gating.

 

The Beamforming Microphone Array 2 raised everyone’s brows, representing the second generation of the most powerful beamforming & adaptive steering technology in the industry – something others are just beginning to explore.  The beautiful, sleek design was preserved, with some new back-panel updates and the  addition of color-matched “feet” to completely blend in with the entire piece. In addition, a standard projector mount option is now available with different suspension column lengths.

 

The affordable new DIALOG® 20 wireless microphone system proved that good things come in small packages. Just two channels, it is the affordable choice for smaller venues requiring few wireless mics – with the option to daisy-chain to expand with more channels- or even be combined with options such as the Beamforming Mic Array 2 & CONVERGE Pro 2!

 

VIEW® Pro again displayed the ease of use with auto-discovery and AV over IP streaming on existing networks. The idea of creating a full video wall and video windowing configuration using PANORAMATM in minutes without running any new cable was astounding.

 

COLLABORATE® and Spontaniatrade; video collaboration solutions fit the new work environments with their multi-use appliance and built-in cloud-based conferencing. Huddle rooms and large conference rooms alike can easily add everything from simple in-room wireless presentation to full, remote media collaboration, all with a single appliance.

 

The UNITE® 200 PTZ camera represented the most flexible and future-proof PTZ solution for video conferencing & media collaboration, with options for USB, HDMI, and IP connections.

 

nyc-sm1

Our next stop will be Toronto – more updates to come!

 

 


 

 

BOSTON – 10/18

 

The ClearOne Sales Roadshow Tour is well underway, and Boston started off the series with a bang! Attendees learned all about the latest ClearOne solutions and experience hands-on demos of all the newest powerful technology.

roadshow-boston

The CONVERGE® Pro 2 and Beamforming Microphone 2 led the charge, as a double-shot of redefined Professional Installed Audio, providing, respectively, a completely new DSP mixer line and next-gen beamforming technology when any others are just beginning to explore the possibilities. Attendees listened in with headphone stations to experience the true power of unbeatable noise cancellation and pristine clarity.

 

DIALOG® 20 2-channel wireless mics represented a new market solution for environments requiring few wireless mics,; but still with the need for professional-quality sound. The mics were not only there to experiment, but had a starring role in the sound reinforcement for all the presenters.

 

VIEW® Pro Network Media Streaming showed the agility and power of it’s single-cable audio, video, and control streaming – with the latest PANORAMAS software for video walls and video composition. The simplicity of the software and it’s powerful self-discovery on existing IP networks could be shown on a tabletop – creating a video composition setup in minutes.

 

COLLABORATE® and SpontaniaTM provided live demos of video and cloud-based web conferencing for all attendees. The hybrid appliances now provide a full spectrum of possibilities from wireless presentation and full video conferencing- all within a single box! Attendees could download the Spontania app on mobile devices and immediately join a live conference as ad-hoc attendees at any point.

 

It’s on to New York for October 20th and more live demos – we’ll see you there!

 

 

New Product Videos of Awesomeness

Written on October 18, 2016 at 6:45 am, by

 

We recently launched our second generation of the groundbreaking Beamforming Microphone Array and the progressive CONVERGE® Pro 2 Audio Conferencing Platform.

 

These products are redefining the professional audio space once again with extraordinary audio fidelity. The Beamforming Microphone Array continues to advance the art of voice conferencing and extraordinary audio fidelity with the industry’s most sophisticated audio beamforming, adaptive steering, acoustic echo cancellation, and noise cancellation technologies; and CONVERGE Pro 2 delivers the very latest and most powerful adaptive audio DSP algorithms for stunningly clear audio.

 

Together, these technologies deliver the world’s most advanced audio signal processing for a powerful 1, 2 knockout punch.

 

View for yourself and see how revolutionary these products truly are, and how they’ll give you and your clients a superior and world-class audio and video conferencing environment that will be the envy of all their friends.

 
 

Beamforming Microphone Array 2

Read the Press Release Here

 
 

CONVERGE® Pro 2

Read the Press Release Here

 

 

Now that you’ve seen what these two great products can do, please let us know how we can help with any questions you may have about your pro audio and video conferencing needs.

 

 

contactusnow-button

 

 

 

 

 

 

HDCP isn’t just another useless acronym

Written on October 11, 2016 at 6:15 am, by

Have you ever heard of HDCP?  Ever wondered what it really means or why it exits?

 

HDCP is an acronym for High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection.  It is a form of digital copy protection that was developed by Intel with the intention of preventing the copying of digital audio and video content as it travels across connections. Being that HDCP is a digital technology, HDMI and DVI cables are used.

 

HCDP becomes relevant when it comes to moving audio and video signals over a network…..AV over IP Video Distribution.   If a signal is protected by HDCP, once that signal is put into a video distribution system, it will pass if the device the signal is flowing into is HDCP compliant.   There are two general standards in the HDCP world….1.4 and 2.XX.  Without getting into the details on either, suffice it to say that in a professional AV Distribution System, the equipment you use should be compliant with both in order to provide both a legal solution and one that is flexible for your clients needs.

 

In our industry one of the main challenges that integrators face is with Apple.  Using an Apple device as a source into an Encoder can create an issue even if the content being played is not HDCP protected.  AV Integrators have told me that their customers often call and say that their Apple Device is not passing audio and video even when the content being played is not HDCP encrypted.  By default Apple has HDCP Content protection enabled on their devices.  Apple has presumably taken this route so they will not be liable for the actions of an end user.

 

To get around this, some encoding and decoding devices have a switch that enables them to turn HDCP off.  In theory this appears to be a viable solution.  The reality however is that the HDCP licensing agreement that all manufactures who wish to be in compliance sign, does not allow for this work around.

 

With ClearOne’s View Pro System we fully support the HDCP standards of 1.4 and 2.XX.  Our View Pro AV over IP Streaming Solution will never block protected or unprotected content. There is never a need to turn HDCP off.  ClearOne has taken the position to comply with HDCP Licensing to the letter of the law.

 

For more information on HDCP, visit the link below.

 

http://www.digital-cp.com.

 

As a leader in the AV community, we must provide equipment to our partners that protect their interests and their customers.

 

 

Why Limit Yourself When It Comes To Signal Distribution?

Written on September 27, 2016 at 2:33 pm, by

 

Why AV over IP?

 

Back when I first started my career in AV, signal distribution was much simpler. As we progressed in this exciting industry; along came the need of distributing signals further with much larger matrices. We then began to see the influx of UTP and Category cabling.

 

The AV industry thought these concepts and said, “Hey we can utilize this!” But this presented the problem of the number of pairs. Category cabling only has four pairs, which means distributing audio, video, and control at the same time becomes a challenge… four pairs just aren’t enough. In order to make things work, we needed to packetize. We needed to become digital – which, as you know is exactly what happened; and, to this day, works extremely well.

 

It begs the questions why haven’t we completely adopted this as an AV industry standard?

 

 

Here are a few points to think about when signal distribution is on your plate.

 

  • Will my design need to expand in the future?
  • Do I already have category cable in place?
  • Will I need to control the device at the destination of the signal or the source for that matter?
  • Do I have the need for a processing of my signal such as video wall modes?

 

All network media solutions are not the same.  ClearOne’s VIEW® Pro allows you to design signal distribution systems that are completely future-proof and fully expandable. VIEW Pro gives you the ability to take any audio, video, or control signals and stream them to virtually any location. This is what you would expect; and what most manufactures offer. However, ClearOne solutions also have processing built right in that allows you to adjust virtually every single part of your signal. In addition, we also have other integrated options such as video-wall processing and composition modes.

 

 

VIEW Pro 2×3 Video Wall Composition (6 displays)

VIEW Pro 2×3 Video Wall Composition (6 displays)

 

 

Regardless of what your distribution needs may be, please take a moment and review ClearOne’s innovative Network Media Steaming offerings. You may just find yourself also asking why this isn’t the AV Industry standard!

 

 

We’re here to help. We’d love to hear from you and discuss your AV distribution needs.

 

 

Contact Us today and let’s chat!

 

 

 

Another Successful Pro Audio Technical Specialist Training Event

Written on September 23, 2016 at 5:59 pm, by

 

We just wrapped up our first CONVERGE Pro CONSOLE 2 training this week and we had a great class.

 

Thank you to all that attended. We’re excited to launch this product and getting our most advanced Pro Audio technology  and software into your hands and ultimately in your client’s space for superior audio conferencing experiences.

 

converge-pro-2-training

 

Join our next class and learn all of these exciting topics below:

 

• Learn about the new CONVERGE Pro 2 products
• Learn about the new CONVERGE Pro 2 Console software platform
• Learn about the new Beamforming Microphone Array 2 configuration
• Learn about the WS800 Digital Wireless Microphone System configuration
• Learn about the new DIALOG 20 Digital Wireless Microphone System configuration
• Learn major features and benefits of ClearOne’s installed products
• Get functional overviews and product application information
• Learn how to quickly and confidently install ClearOne equipment
• Learn how to get better performance from ClearOne systems
• Get hands on experience with the CONVERGE Pro 2 Console software
• Earn your ClearOne University Technical Specialist certificate for Professional
Audio Conferencing Products worth 8 RU’s for CTS, CTS-D, or CTS-I

 

converge-pro-2-training-2

 

Upcoming Pro Audio Technical Training Events:

 

Please email training@clearone.com to be notified of upcoming classes.

REGISTER ONLINE NOW!

 

 

Log into your ClearOne University training account (or create one) at www.clearone.com/training

 

 

See you there!

 

 

Chasing the Elusive GUI Bullseye!

Written on September 22, 2016 at 9:43 am, by

 

CONVERGE® Pro 2 CONSOLE® is about to release! It is the most ambitious software configuration tool that ClearOne has ever undertaken. It has been several years in development.  So what does it take to develop good quality software?

 

The Software industry talks about methods, processes, development cycles and other standards. These are good, but they all fall short. There is no 100% guaranteed method, and I am not going to talk about any of them! I want to focus on the principles behind all of the methods.

 

 

Care about the user!

 

Ultimately, the software is going to be used by someone. Developers need to be reminded about this because we get so close to the GUI we quit seeing. It becomes difficult to see the “forest for the trees”.

 

Keep in mind, the end user changes the way you build software! You have to ask yourself “What does the user want to accomplish?” We set a goal for the CONVERGE CONSOLE program: to be able to configure a simple conference room in less than 10 minutes. The attitude of keeping the user first went very deep.

 

Another important concept that we embraced was educating and training the user on how the software functioned. This was reflected in many ways – multiple navigation menus, user-friendly error messages, and screen layouts.

 

The development team always started with a picture (or a mock up) of a screen, which were manipulated and drafted until they looked good.  The mockups were even shown to a few select users. But once we had the screen functioning; sometimes it just simply did not work. Pictures are great because they save you time and can be used to work out many interface programs; but they are lifeless and static. When things started to move and function (became dynamic), many times they just did not get the job done. It’s all part of keeping the users’ needs in the foreground.

 

The software evolved through this process and went through many iterations.

 

 

Plan for the future

 

One thing that always happens in any project is change. Change is always knocking on the door. Instead of fighting change, we embraced it. CONVERGE CONSOLE software was designed to be adaptable.  There are many ideas and features that we plan on adding in the future.  The best is yet to come.

 

 

Communication is King!

 

Seriously, don’t underestimate the value of collaboration and communication! Communication needs to include all  the “Stake Holders”. Everybody needs to help in order to make a product great. The users, administration, marketing, quality control, hardware engineers, and software engineers are some examples of “Stake Holders”.  There were several times when the requirements changed, and the software development team had to start over.

 

 

Feedback is a Gift!

 

Feedback is something that is generally thought of as being negative. The development team instead embraced the concept of feedback as a gift. Feedback can be a gift!  It lets you know when things are not working. The GUI might look like the greatest thing in the universe; but if it does not make sense to the user, it’s just wrong (after all, who are we developing this for?).

 

We sought out feedback early and often from people. Many times this caused the need for the development team to rethink the software architecture. There are 2 main keys to receiving feedback:

  1. Listen without judgement, and
  2. Check your ego at the door.

 

Listening is key. You never know where a good idea can come from.  But if you don’t listen and try to understand the feedback, you will miss the issue. We try to get to the heart of the problem. Many times we had people telling us how to code the GUI, but when the underlying issue was uncovered, there were better ways.

 

If we had not listened and sought the feedback (without judgement) the software would have not evolved as quickly.

 

If you don’t check your ego at door when receiving feedback, you will try to defend what is already established.  This does no good for the giver nor the receiver of the feedback. It just turns into a contest of wills. The software suffers and bears the scar.

 

What’s the bottom line? If you want to be part of a software development team learn to communicate. You also need to learn to listen to the Users.

 

We’re excited to release the CONVERGE CONSOLE software. We’re putting it’s final touches on it so it’s not ready, but here’s a Sneak Peak of what’s coming your way. (Click Image to Enlarge)

 

CONVERGE Pro 2 CONSOLE Software

CONVERGE Pro 2 CONSOLE Software 1

CONVERGE Pro 2 CONSOLE Software

CONVERGE Pro 2 CONSOLE Software 2

CONVERGE Pro 2 CONSOLE Software

CONVERGE Pro 2 CONSOLE Software 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tell us your thoughts, ideas, and the methods you use to improve and maximize software development for the best possible experience an end-user can have.

 

 

IT/AV – AVoverIP Connected Devices and Privacy Concerns – Our Viewpoint

Written on September 16, 2016 at 2:33 pm, by

 

IT/AV’s latest issue (September 2016) has a great article written by Shonan Noronha, EdD and  titled, “Viewpoint: Security and Privacy Concerns. How do you ensure data security and user privacy?

 

The increased use of collaborative applications, mobile devices and IP-connected AV devices such as streaming appliances, along with the explosive growth of social media integration into applications such as digital signage has brought security and privacy concerns to the forefront…
Michael Braithwaite

ClearOne’s Senior Vice President, Michael Braithwaite, CTS shared his viewpoint on the topic and had this to say:

 

“…ClearOne is serious about state-of-the-art security and individual privacy for our largest, most demanding national security customers, as well as our smallest private enterprise users…”

 

 

READ HIS FULL RESPONSE HERE  and the rest of the article for more detailed insight into this topic.

 

Let us know your thoughts on today’s network security as it pertains to streaming media.