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Videoconferencing Saves the Day in Wake of Iceland Volcano Eruption

As airlines deal with the largest wave of flight cancellations since September 11, businesses, government and everyday travelers are seeing firsthand the necessity of contingency planning and the flexibility of collaborative technologies such as videoconferencing.

Officials at Cisco Systems Inc. say they’ve seen “a huge spike in usage” since the Iceland volcano erupted.

The CEO of Dolly Dimples, one of Norway’s largest restaurant chains, was unable to attend a board meeting thanks to a canceled flight. Rescheduling the meeting would have taken almost a month and disrupted operations. Rather than waiting, he used videoconferencing technology to meet with board members hundreds of miles away in Oslo.

European transportation officials are also holding meetings via videoconference to discuss emergency measures and analyze the effects of the ash cloud.

Millions of travelers worldwide are stranded due to the ongoing flight delays. Some are finding creative alternatives to canceling plans.

Sean Murtagh, 24, and his wife, Natalie, 30, were en route to West London for their wedding celebration when they were grounded in Dubai. Rather than rescheduling their nuptials, the couple used videoconferencing technology to broadcast their wedding vows to guests over the internet.

To learn more about how Cisco videoconferencing technology can help your organization, visit our Cisco TelePresence™ Solutions page.

AMX’s SchoolView Provides a True Digital Convergence


If you were asked to create a wish list that would guide the future of your school district, what would it include? Would controlling costs be at the top of your list? How about improving teacher effectiveness by making classroom technology easier to use? Or, is your district faced with the need to provide a safer environment for students and staff?

The SchoolView solution is a hardware and software package that utilizes a school’s existing data network, and is scalable to allow for the integration of future technologies. It permits a district administrator to manage a school or an entire district from one location. Additionally, campus administrators and teachers in their classrooms can control programmed features of SchoolView through a small, easy to use touch-panel unit.

SchoolView provides true digital convergence for K-12 school districts, bringing together many technologies that were previously operated independently:

  • SchoolView takes advantage of existing school data networks to streamline bell schedules, to bring networked precision to clocks and deliver audio paging and streaming video.
  • Using an intercom mounted to the wall, teachers may communicate with colleagues in the principal’s office, at the front desk, or any other designated area on campus.
  • SchoolView provides the teacher direct control over audio volume, projectors, DVD players, cable boxes and media center DVRs.
  • SchoolView’s energy management application allows you to quickly and easily automate management of energy-consuming resources like computers and AV equipment.

With SchoolView, administrators and teachers will be on the cutting edge of classroom control!

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Crestron Adds the Power of Digital Connectivity to Your Classroom

Today’s instructors have the latest MacBooks, but how do you use their power to add connectivity to your classroom? Crestron has simple solutions for adding digital connectivity to existing analog rooms, whether they are basic, single-projector or MPS/QuickMedia® (QM) systems.

Single-Projector Room.

The Challenge:
You need to add a digital input at the podium and transmit HDMI more than 30 feet to the projector.

The Solution:
Install a Crestron HD-TX1-F transmitter at the podium to add the digital input for the MacBook, and an HD-RX1-F at the projector. Transmitter and receiver are connected with one pre-terminated, multimode fiber strand, such as CresFiber® CLEAR, which is transparent similar to fishing wire. The clear fiber is practically invisible laid along baseboards and moldings, so you don’t have to break walls and to provide a clean, professional installation. This is an easy, inexpensive solution that won’t disrupt classes. Extend HDMI, IR and RS-232 up to 1000 feet and add DVI and DisplayPort multimode connectivity to the room without any programming.

If you need more digital inputs – say you want to add a Blu-ray player too – use the HD-TX3-F/HD-RX3-F pair, which additionally extends analog audio and USB keyboard/mouse. Also, an Ethernet port enables network connectivity to RoomView™ asset management and help desk software.

Add Room Control

An MPC-M5 Media Presentation Controller™ is simple to install in the podium or on the wall. The MPC has an intuitive Composer wizard that sets up the room in minutes, without programming. Simple, labeled button presses on the MPC are all the instructors need to power on the projector, choose the video or computer source and adjust volume.

Optional Audio Enhancement

Instead of relying on low power, built-in projector speakers, add sound reinforcement with the optional MP-AMP30 amplifier and Crestron FS6 speaker pair. Just a couple of check boxes in the MPC Composer wizard and even students at the back of the class will be able to hear clearly.

Existing MPS/QM Room

The Challenge:
You want to add digital connectivity to an existing analog room, but you don’t want to replace currently installed equipment or tear open walls.

The Solution:
A DM-TX-200 (or DM-TX-200-2G) DigitalMedia™ (DM) transmitter paired with a DM-RMC-100 DigitalMedia™ receiver gives you a simple, seamless upgrade path for adding digital sources to your existing systems.

Instead of the analog outputs of the MPS going directly to display device, use the VGA output to transmit all those signals to the DM-TX-200. A recent upgrade to the MPS enables all analog signals to be sent over a single VGA cable. The DM-TX-200 also features HDMI and USB inputs. The USB port accommodates keyboard/mouse control and the HDMI port can also handle DisplayPort from Macs using a standard adapter. All analog and digital signals are transported long distance over a single DM cable to the receiver, which outputs HDMI to the display.

If you need more digital inputs, use a DM-MD6X1 6X1 switcher in place of the TX-200. The 6X1 accommodates (1) digital input, (1) component and (3) DM inputs.

Crestron DigitalMedia accepts and distributes all analog audio and video, high-res computer, HDMI, DVI, DisplayPort, Ethernet and USB keyboard / mouse control over a single DM copper wire or fiber.

The Crestron Experience Center: See Control and Automation Systems in Action

Ever since Crestron opened its 8,000 square foot Experience Center in October, 2009, it has averaged five groups of visitors per day from all over the world, resulting in hundreds of millions of dollars in new business. As Vincent Bruno, Crestron Director of Marketing explains, “There is no better way to understand how effective and accessible our technology is. It’s one thing to read a spec sheet or flip through a catalog; when you can step into real-world environments and experience it firsthand, every other option pales in comparison.”

Representatives of major corporations, universities and consulting firms are finding that a visit to Crestron world headquarters in Rockleigh, NJ inspires a level of trust that simplifies purchasing decisions and closes business faster. For example, one community college placed a $1.8 million order following a Crestron tour.

These exclusive tours are scheduled in advance and tailored to each visitor’s needs and interests, which can include the multimedia presentation room, digital boardroom and Theo Kalomirakis Home Theater. An expansive design lab features more than 500 Crestron products on display; at their leisure, visitors can use, compare and evaluate working, fully programmed entertainment systems, touchpanels and remote controls, lighting and HVAC systems.

The hands-on Crestron Experience Center quickly instills confidence in product availability and performance. The Rockleigh campus is a small city dedicated to innovation, engineering and client support, and provides invaluable insight into what a real technology partner looks like. Many guests are genuinely impressed to discover that Crestron develops, manufactures and warehouses all of its 1500+ products in northern New Jersey, has high-tech technical and customer support departments, and a substantial inventory to ship product quickly.

All of this helps decision makers determine where to find the best solutions and long-term service that today’s projects require. In addition to the Experience Center, tours available on a more limited basis include the 100,000 square foot Research Center, where more than 400 engineers are developing the products and technologies of tomorrow; the 150,000 square foot manufacturing plant; the 50,000 square foot pre-production facility, and the 50,000 square foot worldwide distribution center.

The Crestron Experience Center has a digital infrastructure, wired with Crestron DigitalMedia™ (DM) Cable and DM components installed throughout, giving visitors the chance to experience the only end-to-end digital solution available today. Fully functional, state-of-the-art rooms demonstrate how the latest technology looks, sounds and functions. The reception area alone features a 7.1 in-ceiling surround sound system, Digital Projection HD projector and Stewart Filmscreen StarGlas screen, Hubbell Lighting fixtures, Philips Color Kinetics three-color LED chase lights, Renaissance Lighting LED downlights, a custom made wave-shaped stainless steel counter with a quartz countertop and leather high-back stools. LED lights are installed throughout the center, and are dimmed and controlled from Crestron touchpanels to establish the desired ambiance for various occasions, such as a sales meeting or corporate event. The presentation room is fully furnished with high-tech solutions including a Digital Projection dVision projector and a Stewart Filmscreen 123″ wall screen, and the boardroom is equipped with a Pioneer 50″ HD LCD display and Hunter Douglas motorized shades. Both feature Crestron audio, video and control systems.

The Theo Kalomirakis Home Theater delivers the highest quality HD video and surround sound experience, with Crestron PROCISE™ 7.3 HD surround sound processing, ADMS Intermedia Delivery System™, Digital Projection TITAN three-chip 1080p projector, Stewart Filmscreen 143-inch CineCurve screen, Revel speakers, RPG acoustical room treatments and Acoustic Smart reclining theater seats.

“These aren’t simulated or mock application vignettes. These are actual, installed systems in fully-operational rooms,” Bruno affirms. “Check out our next-gen technology for yourself; seeing truly is believing.”

Contact your local Crestron sales representative to schedule a private Experience Center tour or meeting today – you’ll be pleased with the results.

Click here for an overview of AVI-SPL’s Crestron product line. »