Corporate work is keeping many of the region's AV rental and installation companies busy over the summer months. One rapidly developing area of corporate events is the provision of telepresence or videoconferencing facilities. S&S takes a look at some of the most impressive systems on the market.
Combining 1080i high resolution and a high frame rate of 60 fields per second, the PCS-XG80 offers impressive live video quality for a natural alternative to face-to-face meetings, according to Sony.
The system is back-compatible to offer users the flexibility to choose to connect with HD video quality through high bandwidth connections or by using their existing legacy SD systems over IP and/or ISDN. The PCS-XG80 product also features BrightFaceTM technology, which is designed to improve video quality in poorly lit environments as well video annotation and RF remote features.
The PCS-XG80 is an expansion of Sony's current HD PCS group systems range and incorporates many of the functions and features of the PCS-HG90. From PowerPoint and animations to live DVDs, it allows users to share PC data in HD at 30 frames per second.
The dual stream functionality enables users to send two separate streams of live, HD information in parallel. This allows the live camera view and a second data stream, such as a PowerPoint animation, to be displayed simultaneously in HD on two different screens or projectors at the remote site.
Featuring six-site multipoint conferencing, users can call up to five additional remote sites at any one time. The system also features multi-language support for 20 different languages allowing users to easily navigate through the menus. Wide-band stereo audio also enhances the overall meeting experience for users, delivering crisp and clear sound.
"We have drawn on more than 25 years of high definition leadership in the broadcast industry to design a high definition videoconferencing solution that is affordable and flexible, yet delivers an unparalleled user experience," says Kees Hoogstraate, European marketing manager of Videoconferencing for Sony Europe. "We believe the PCS-XG80 delivers the best available video and audio quality on the market for those looking for cost-effective, best of breed and proven communication technologies."
Middle East distributor: Sony Broadcast and Professional Middle East (UAE based).
Almost two years after the launch of Cisco's TelePresence technology, the company now offers four versions of the virtual communications system.
Cisco claims the Telepresence 3000 system is the original application that includes a virtual table for groups of 12 or more.
Cisco TelePresence delivers real-time, face-to-face interactions using advanced visual, audio, and collaboration technologies. These technologies transmit life-size, high definition images and spatial discrete audio. The technology makes it easier than ever to discern facial expressions for those crucial business discussions and negotiations across the "virtual table", according to Cisco.
The components of Cisco TelePresence include familair, everyday technologies, such as a standard telphone, in conjunction with specialised applications and hardware to create an approachable solution using the network and unified communications as core components.
Cisco TelePresence incorporates the most up-to-date standards and technologies to offer audio and visual results, including native 720p and 1080p high-definition cameras and encoding/decoding. Multichannel spatial audio, with echo cancellation and interference filters, eliminates feedback from mobile devices.
The system uses the standard IP technology deployed in corporations today and runs on an integrated voice, video, and data network. The system supports high-quality, real-time voice and video communications, with branch offices using broadband connections.
It offers capabilities for ensuring quality of service, security, reliability, and high availability for high-bandwidth applications, such as video, particularly high definition video, which can require 1 Mbps to 5 Mbps, depending on the resolution.
The Cisco TelePresence package includes purpose-built office furniture, which incorporates cameras and displays, lighting, speakers, microphones and projection capability into a specially designed table for larger rooms, or in smaller configurations, into existing office furniture.
Cisco TelePresence works with IP-based phones and call-processing systems from the major networking and telecommunications vendors. This can simplify launching calls because it uses a familiar telephone system instead of a complicated remote control device. Integration with enterprise groupware solutions (such as Microsoft Outlook and Lotus Notes) accommodates easy scheduling of meetings and access to corporate information.
Cisco says the TelePresence system enables easy scheduling, management, reporting, billing, and metrics applications to ensure proper tracking and bill-back of activity on the system, as well as real-time support services.
Telepresence is also available in a larger format, the 3200, for even bigger groups as well as the 1000 for small office use and the 500 for one-on-one personal use.
Middle East distributors: Getronics Middle East (KSA); Mannai Trading Company (Qatar); Emirates Computers (UAE); Emircom (UAE).
Videoconferencing specialist Tandberg and display manufacturer Barco have introduced a jointly developed, 1080p HD tele-collaboration solution. The large screen format enables organisations to visually collaborate and analyse complex sources of data in real-time.
Organisations that scrutinise large amounts of rich data and collaborate in real-time among multiple locations, including government and oil and gas sectors, can benefit from the integration of Barco's multi-windowing display systems with Tandberg's high definition video solutions, according to the companies.
The technology allows distributed teams to observe and react to complex datasets in real-time. Remote expertise can immediately be brought in through a common interface from any standards-based video system for live analysis and discussion.
"As decisions become more complex, they often involve input from a larger number of experts and data points" says Fredrik Halvorsen, Tandberg CEO. "Together with Barco, Tandberg is simplifying tele-collaboration for industries that rely on cooperation between multiple facilities to share and review complicated data."
With this tele-collaboration solution, multiple desktop applications and productivity software, such as SAP, can be integrated with telepresence to deliver complete situational awareness.
Additionally, the flexibility to resize image windows that contain rich media content allows experts to focus on a particular scenario at any given point in a collaboration session.
"Tandberg's ultra high definition 1080p video allows teams to see remote colleagues in natural, life-like detail and they will still have direct and easy access to the data they need to discuss," says Michel Vandeplas, president for Barco's Presentation and Simulation Division.
The new custom solution includes Tandberg's C90 Telepresence Engine and HD cameras, integrated with Barco's user-friendly XDS Control Centre software suite.
This multi-windowing software runs on a variety of Barco platforms, including LCD panels, projectors and single- or multi-channel projection systems. The latest of these is the XDC-3000, a single-projector 10 megapixel display system that allows users to visualise multiple sources simultaneously in their native resolution.
Middle East distributors: Tandberg Middle East (UAE based); Barco Middle East (UAE based).
Polycom's RealPresence Experience High Definition (RPX HD) range of telepresence equipment combines high definition video technology in a cinematic view, with its own stereo surround sound system.
Polycom claims by removing devices such as cameras, microphones and speakers from the user's view, the RPX HD is a far less distracting interface.
Polycom RPX HD 400 series suites offers a comprehensive video suite, including furnishings, studio lighting and acoustic walls.
The unit is modular and is easy to install within a room, and can be moved between different facilities if and when required.
Large format video screens allow for an uninterrupted view of the adjoining room with a cinematic view of up to eight feet of video. With no obstructive bezels, the visible area is even clearer, according to Polycom.
The 24:9 aspect ratio of the RPX 200 series is designed to offer users the greatest visibility into the other room. As users enter the suite, everyone can be seen in full view, even if they move to the second or third tiers, users are seen in full height.
In order to ensure the feeling of being in the same room, the company has aimed for exacting symmetry, clean lines and consistency in furniture, wood finish and chairs.
The package includes a ceiling cloud of acoustic baffling, studio quality lighting, sound panelling back wall, full-screen video on the front wall. Polycom says the calculated table-height, matching that of the endpoint, rounds off what it calls the "immersive experience".
Middle East Polycom distributor: FVC (UAE, Lebanon, KSA, Egypt, Morocco).