The Technology Manager’s guide To

huddle rooMs

4Small, But Significant: When it comes to AV systems, one
size does not fit all, even for smaller huddle rooms.
4Creative Conferencing: Intimate, flexible collaboration has
people huddling up. Here’s what’s new in the huddle category.

Featuring:

4Collaboration AV Systems in the Age of BYOD: Sharing
is caring, but it’s not as easy as it sounds.
4Active Learning in the Arts: Northern Arizona
University’s collaborative classroom gives
students an important voice in instruction.
4When Collaboration Influences Behavior in Education: The strategy
for discovery at the Princeton Academy of the Sacred Heart.

sponsored by

from the editors of

Editor’s Note
[margot douaihy, editor, AV Technology]

To Huddle or NoT To Huddle?
Huddle room systems promise to save install hours, dollars, and cable wrangling in the small meeting room or conference room. Promoters of
huddle rooms believe that they fit a major hole in the market—especially for businesses with modest budgets, universities with dozens of small
break rooms, or hospitals with limited wireless coverage. But are they the best system for you, your facility, and your organization’s users? If you have
a room with multiple lecterns rather than tables, should you proceed to huddle? We tapped industry experts like Pete Putnam and Mike Brandes,
CTS, to weigh in BYOD, collaboration technology, and the popular product trend that seems to be huddling up all around us.

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Table of Contents
Editor’s Note ...........................................................................................................................................................................A2
FEATURES
CREATivE CoNFERENCiNg: iNTimATE, FlExiblE CollAboRATioN hAS pEoplE hUddliNg Up. hERE’S whAT’S NEw iN
ThE hUddlE CATEgoRy. ........................................................................................................................................................A4
CollAboRATioN Av SySTEmS iN ThE AgE oF byod: ShARiNg iS CARiNg, bUT iT’S NoT AS EASy AS iT SoUNdS. ............ A10
SmAll, bUT SigNiFiCANT: whEN iT ComES To Av SySTEmS, oNE SizE doES NoT FiT All, EvEN FoR SmAllER hUddlE
RoomS. ................................................................................................................................................................................. A12
ACTivE lEARNiNg iN ThE ARTS: NoRThERN ARizoNA UNivERSiTy’S CollAboRATivE ClASSRoom givES STUdENTS AN
impoRTANT voiCE iN iNSTRUCTioN. ................................................................................................................................... A14
whEN CollAboRATioN iNFlUENCES bEhAvioR iN EdUCATioN: ThE STRATEgy FoR diSCovERy AT ThE pRiNCEToN
ACAdEmy oF ThE SACREd hEART........................................................................................................................................ A16

A2

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huddle rooms

Creative Conferencing
Intimate, flexible collaboration has people huddling up. Here’s
what’s new in the category.
By Carolyn Heinze
Star Trek fans will recall that in practically every episode
(and practically every version of the franchise), there’s a
scene in the observation lounge. The Borg appear in the
not-so-far distance, and the captain and senior members
of the crew need to come up with an action plan—and
quick!—before they’re assimilated. And so off to the observation lounge they march, where they share data, call up
visuals, and collaborate on their action plan. The space is
small, but it’s equipped with everything they need to make
informed decisions.
Sound familiar? While some (the author included) are hesitant to openly admit
to Star Trek fandom, you don’t have to (even secretly) watch the series to draw the
parallel: real-life huddle rooms are like Star Trek observation lounges. And, thanks
to their immediacy (in many organizations, there are several, eliminating the
need to book them), intimacy (you can work side-by-side with key members of a
team without having to worry about the formality required for larger meetings),
and flexibility (once again, you can walk in anytime, to collaborate on anything),
they’re growing in popularity. While just a little while ago there were only a couple
of solutions that enabled people to huddle up, this year the offerings have shot
into the double digits. Here are some of the new, the notable, and the notorious:
AMX Enzo & SErAno
AMX approaches huddle room connectivity a little differently than the rest of the
industry, and hopes to lead the pack in collaborative huddle space technology.
AMX’s Enzo offers users the ability to connect wirelessly, or access files from a number of cloud storage
providers (e.g., Google
Drive, DropBox, etc.).
“Enzo also has
the capability to add
video to any web conferencing meeting, thanks to the addition of the Sereno camera to the AMX product line, this device interfaces directly with the Enzo to provide
quality audio as well as video for all online meetings,” said S. Kyle Davis, technical marketing specialist for AMX. This small, all-in-one solution packs a powerful
punch, and with a MSRP of $1,995 for the Enzo (Sereno lists for $250), it could
be the ideal olution for cash-strapped companies wanting to maximize efficiency
with huddle room technology.
Introduced last year, the Enzo Content Sharing and Conferencing Platform

A4

is designed to give users “choices in how they want to present and share content
in meetings”—namely the ability to access data from the cloud, the Internet or a
USB drive. The company announced several new features at InfoComm this past
June, including the addition of instant screen mirroring from laptops and mobile
devices. AMX will also be providing upcoming support for Web conferencing (via
its Sereno Video Conferencing Camera, which debuted in 2014), as well as a more
simplified process for launching Enzo sessions from a touch panel or keypad.
BArco clickShArE
Barco launched its collaboration
solution, ClickShare, in 2012,
enabling up to four meeting attendees to simultaneously share information on a large display. A standard configuration features four
USB devices (“ClickShare Buttons,”
which connect to PCs or Macs), the
“ClickShare Tray” (a storage basket
designed for when the Buttons are
not in use); and a Base Unit, which connects to the space’s AV system and performs
all of the processing. Earlier this year, Barco unveiled the CSM Base Unit, which
is compatible with both the ClickShare Button as well as free apps for iOS and
Android. A standard set is comprised of one CSM Base Unit and two ClickShare
Buttons; only one user may display images at a time, however, eight Buttons can
be wirelessly connected to the base unit so that those users are ready to share at,
well, the quick click of a button.
chriStiE Brio tEAM
Christie announced an addition
to its Brio family of collaboration
solutions at InfoComm 2014, the
Christie Brio Team. Designed for
smaller meeting spaces, the product supports wireless connection of
up to five computers, smartphones
and tablets, enabling informationsharing on a larger display while
streaming audio through the room’s sound system. No LAN access is required,
nor are any additional apps or external dongles needed. Users can annotate over
live content or use the touchscreen as a whiteboard and save the results for future
reference.

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Infinite Ways to Collaborate

NOW THERE’S A WAY TO MEET SMARTER
Introducing the VIA Collage, the meeting tool that allows you to connect, collaborate, and engage at the
click of a button. VIA Collage is a shared workspace for team collaboration that lets you connect wirelessly,
collaborate easily, and engage everyone in the room in the work you’re doing. It provides a common
platform for all those laptops, smartphones, and tablets in real time on one digital canvas. Your group
work gets done on the spot.

Ideal for smaller huddle spaces, Kramer brings you the
cost-effective VIA Connect Hub. Wireless presentation
has never been so easy and effective.

For further product information:
• www.kramerus.com • Toll-Free: 888-275-6311
• E-mail: info@kramerus.com
International customers, visit www.kramerelectronics.com
for your local distributor.
© 2014 Kramer Electronics, Ltd. All Rights reserved.
Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited.

huddle rooms
Crestron ConneCt It and aIrMedIa
“Crestron recognizes the need to be
able to support all sources, including
mobile devices and laptops, so users
can get their content on the display
regardless of the device it’s on,” said
Tom Barnett, director of marketing
communications for the New Jersey
based manufacturer. The Crestron
Connect It solution allows for multiple devices to be connected and selected with the push of the button, complete
with LED feedback. Crestron AirMedia enables presenters to connect wirelessly
and share content from mobile devices, as well as wirelessly mirror laptops, simplifying the already simple plug-and-play strategy. AirMedia has users presenting HD content from their laptops and mobile devices. AirMedia connects via
Ethernet to the LAN, and no additional software or control is necessary. For its
related DigitalMedia AV distribution system, Crestron recently introduced its 4K
Certification Program in an effort to help integrators and end-users make a smooth
transition to the new format.
da-LIte VIewshare
Positioned to bridge the gap between expensive, high-end videoconferencing systems and
consumer-level solutions, Da-Lite’s ViewShare
conferencing system features an HD video camera that is incorporated into the weight bar
of the company’s Tensioned Advantage Electrol
projection screen, a tabletop speaker, as well as a
microphone. Users connect their computers via
USB. Want to use what you’ve already got? A retrofit model is available that updates the manufacturer’s older Advantage Projection Screens, converting them into an HD surface.
extron teaMwork
Supporting four to six users respectively, Extron’s TeamWork 400 and 600 supports
laptops and mobile devices connected via an HDMI “Show Me” cable. Users share
their information simply by pressing the “share” button, and the system automatically turns off when the meeting is over. The entire system is made up of the HDMI
cables, a switcher, a system controller, a “Cable Cubby” enclosure with four AC
outlets, and various other system cables. An optional TeamWork VGA Kit supports
legacy analog computer sources.
Extron Electronics says that this system is ideal for collaborative study rooms,
or similar huddle spaces, on university campuses because the cables can’t be
removed, stolen or lost. Extron’s Joe da Silva, director of product marketing, notes
the importance of stable, wired connections: “Mobile device proliferation is rapidly
driving huddle room technology toward wireless connectivity, but the bandwidth
demands for high resolution computer mirroring and 4K video will continue to
make wired connectivity a requirement for the next few years.”
VaddIo huddLestatIon
Vaddio addresses huddle rooms outright with HuddleSTATION, which incorporates a camera with a sound bar, loudspeakers, microphones, and a control
dock to let users collaborate via their PCs. Connection is via USB, transforming
HuddleSTATION into the “I/O for whatever application that the user desires,

A6

from Google Hangout to Skype, PowerPoint or WebEx.” In conjunction with
HuddleSTATION Vaddio offers the WideSHOT HD fixed camera, featuring an
82-degree field of view designed to make sure you capture everything you need to
see in a small space. The camera comes in two different models: the WideSHOT
WallVIEW SR or the WideSHOT WallVIEW USB.
VaddIo GroupstatIon
It’s notable that one of the pioneers of huddle room spaces isn’t a switching or control company, per se. Vaddio, a camera and camera control manufacturer dedicated
to “The Art of Easy,” developed a line of products to enable users to connect and
present within a huddle room, but also to add capabilities for video conferencing
through cloud-based services. Hailey Klein, Vaddio’s marketing communications
manager, points out how easy it is to use the system: “All you have to do is connect
your device via USB, HDMI or VGA, and you’re ready for your meeting. No drivers
are needed, and you can use any application you feel comfortable with.” Vaddio
offers a variety of products in the “AppSTATION” line for huddle rooms of different
sizes, making it an incredible solution for organizations who need to include web
conferencing in their “huddles.’
wow VIsIon CoLLab8
WOW Vision enables BYOD collaboration with its Collab8 offering, featuring multi-display presentation and
interactive touch capabilities, with a
maximum number of 12 participants
in dual display mode. (Up to six users
may simultaneously collaborate on a
single Collab8 screen.) Participants may
call up the main display content on
Designed by Herman Miller, this space
their own devices, take screen shots,
shows the application of what they
and make notes and save them inde- define as the “Living Office.” In huddle
pendently of the main presentation. areas next to independent “heads-down”
desks, associates from the field or other
Interactive whiteboard functionality
departments can quickly meet & share.
allows users to annotate, review, edit,
illustrate, or highlight on the digital
canvas, and then share the revised data with other participants. Users can share
files with their fellow participants or display them on the main display by dragging
the file over a cloud icon.
kraMer VIa CoLLaGe
Kramer, which recently acquired 50 percent of WOW Vision, has introduced its
VIA Collage system, which enables up to six participants to wirelessly share content on a main display (with the possibility to expanding to 12 participants and
two displays) using their laptops and mobile devices. VIA Collage allows multiple
users to annotate, edit, and
highlight images on the main
screen with their own devices.
VIA Connect, Kramer’s wireless presentation hub, provides
connection and sharing of a large screen by several users. Like VIA Collage, it supports laptops and mobile devices, and enables simultaneous sharing by multiple
users, or individual presentation. The VIA Collage solves BYOD challenges and
allows for the effective integration of PC, Mac, iOS, and Android devices, allowing users to wirelessly collaborate in any meeting. The VIA Collage also allows for

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huddle rooms
video streaming and the main unit even has an HDMI input to allow the integration of an external video source to a meeting. Up to six presenters’ screens can be
displayed on a single display device and up to 12 can be shown simultaneously
when two display devices are used. The VIA Collage also supports third party applications such as Skype, Go To Meeting, Lync, WebEx and more.
FSR HuddleVu & FSR duGOuT
Just like its name suggests, FSR’s HuddleVu is
the company’s way of getting people huddling
up. The system allows multiple users to see and
share the content on their laptops and mobile
devices on a main screen, and any participant
can be either a presenter or a member of the
“audience” at any given time. LEDs signal
which user is currently live, or when the system
is busy. No software or programming is required, and set-ups with four inputs or
less can be controlled by an external system. With education and corporate clients
moving toward pre-packaged, scalable solutions the more flexible these systems
can be with regard to space, users, time and connectivity the better, Gina Sansivero,
director of educational sales for FSR Inc., points out. HuddleVu allows users to
simply plug in a device and press the corresponding button. All cables, power, and
buttons are housed inside a durable steel table box.
MeRSiVe SOlSTice 2.0
Mersive recently introduced the next-gen of its collaboration software, Solstice,
which allows instant wireless connection of laptops and mobile devices for
display control, content sharing, and collaboration. The developer underlines
that Solstice is a pure software solution, running on a standard Windows computer on an existing WiFi or Ethernet network, and supports Windows, Apple, and
Android devices. The system offers centralized management via an IT dashboard.
ReVOlabS FlX uc 500
Looking at a different element of huddle
room technology, check out Revolabs
FLX UC 500. The kit provides echo cancellation for all of its microphones “in
the box,” so no additional processing is
required on the PC for a quality audio signal. The FLX UC 500 supports full duplex
audio at all times, allowing for audio play back and audio capture simultaneously.
Benefits include: improved PC communication application performance for meetings and online collaboration; Tweeter and midwoofer speaker elements for audio
quality, clarity, and volume; and four corner microphones provide full 360-degree
coverage of audio capture.
epSOn bRiGHTlink pRO 1430Wi
The BrightLink Pro 1430Wi from Epson
can transform whiteboards, plain walls, or
tables into interactive spaces for increased
collaboration and immersive learning.
Delivering features for meeting room efficiency and productivity, the 1430Wi offers
whiteboard sharing mode to connect
and display from multiple devices, finger

A8

touch annotation capabilities, and improved email functionality, such as address
book access and up to 10 recipients, for increased productivity. The BrightLink Pro
1430Wi works like an appliance; users can turn the projector on and start writing
with no PC required. Unlike traditional whiteboards, users can add up to 50 blank
pages for virtually unlimited writing space, as well as save, print and email notes.
The BrightLink Pro 1430Wi supports gestures, up to six fingers for annotations, as
well as dual-pen support. It also offers easy-to-use videoconferencing capabilities,
PC- and software-free capabilities, and support for Chromebooks.
THe ciScO TelepReSence SX10 Quick SeT
The Cisco TelePresence SX10 Quick Set
is a video collaboration set-top solution
offering business-quality video communications for small team or huddle room
meetings. Designed for simplicity, Cisco
says that the SX10 is so easy to install
and use that users can just connect it to
a screen and speakers, register to the network, and be on their first call in just a few
minutes. The SX10 is affordably priced for SMB/emerging market adoption or for
scaling throughout the enterprise. The SX10 is designed for easy installation and
use, and fits perfectly in small meeting rooms or huddle spaces.
kRaMeR’S k-TOucH cOnTROl SOluTiOn
The K-Touch system is a simple to use, customizable control system that gives users all of the right
features to control pro AV systems. Control is done
from the mobile device that users are comfortable
with using every day—ideal for huddle room
systems. Kramer’s line of K-Touch compatible controllers provides IR, RS-232, IP, Relay, RS-485,
and GPI/O control. Price-wise, K-Touch fits
into applications where users were previously
forced to use push button control interfaces. K-Touch is also a scalable control system, with the ability to start small and grow into an advanced level control system
without having to swap out controllers or infrastructures. The K-Touch admin and
screen builder programs are online cloud based systems.
VideO FuRniTuRe inT’l’S cOllabORaTiOn pORTFOliO
Video Furniture International offers a
diverse portfolio of huddle room and
collaboration tables, including the T324
T3. The package consists of table T324
+ CR3000EX + PM-S-XL or PM-DTV
mount + PM-CVR cosmetic cover for the
base. Minimum room size 12’-0” x 11’-6’.
Designed primarily for huddle rooms, this
table features cable management and standard cutouts for grommets with 2x PC-PATCH panels for accommodating tabletop
power for laptops, or USB keys and displaying on screen. Its built-in equipment
10U rack can house a codec or PC with easy access from front and rear. Thermal
wrap finish available in many colors. It is also offered as a stand-alone table.
(*Extra charge for custom CNC cutouts by VFI.)
Mike Brandes, CTS, DMC-D, contributed to this story.

O c t o b e r 2 0 1 4 | av networ k. c om | T h e Tec h nology Manager’s Guid e to hud d le room s

InfoComm 2014

ELECTRIC
LIFT

TLF4X8 Quad Lift Collab/VC Table

Affordable & Functional
Tables for Collaboration / Huddle Solutions

T324
www.video-furn.com

T526

T628

190 Don Hillock Drive | Aurora | Ontario | L4G 0G9 | 1.877.834.3876

huddle rooms

Collaboration AV Systems
in the Age of BYOD
Sharing is caring, but it’s not as easy as it sounds.
By Peter H. Putman
Halfway through the second decade
of the 21st century, two clear trends
have emerged with respect to meetings: First, meeting presenters and participants are relying more on tablets,
smartphones, and “phablets” than traditional computing platforms to display slides, photos, and videos. And
second, meetings are taking place in
unusual spaces, including areas without traditional desks, chairs, whiteboards, and projection screens.
Sales of tablets and smartphones, also known
as “bring your own device” (BYOD) products, have
grown at exponential rates in the past four years while
cutting into the sales of traditional notebook and
desktop computers. That should be no surprise, as
BYODs are actually powerful computing platforms
with fast CPUs, gigabytes of flash memory, sophisticated operating systems and touchscreens, and highresolution display screens.
Unlike notebook computers, BYODs can easily
travel anywhere with their owners. As a result, many
of us use our tablets and phones around the clock and
feel lost without them (particularly Millenials!). So
it’s logical that we’d want to share the contents of our
BYOD display screens with others in meetings, rather
than drag along and boot up a laptop.
It’s nIce to share, but…
Until recently, the most practical way to show
PowerPoints, documents, and photos from a tablet or
smartphone has been to employ a Wi-Fi connection
and some sort of “bridge” device, a.k.a “collaboration hub,” to display them on a projection screen or a

A10 O c t o b e r

An example of a BYOD-supported collaboration hub by Mersive.

large, self-contained display.
All BYODs have Wi-Fi radios built-in and support
Transport Control Protocol / Internet Protocol (TCP/
IP). That’s led to the development and sale of several
collaboration hubs for the AV market. These devices
connect to a projector or direct-view display and allow
multiple users to log on and share, copy, edit, and
annotate presentation material.
Indeed, the collaborative AV product space is “hot”
right now. These products are designed to operate as
“plug and play” interfaces, automatically configuring
IP addresses and supporting a wide range of software
applications. Corporate, government, non-profit, and
higher education markets have shown a strong interest in these products to support a growing number of
BYOD platforms (Windows, iOS, and Android).
not as easy as It sounds
With these collaboration hub products and 802.11n/
ac wireless protocols, sharing and viewing static imag-

es is easily accomplished. But that’s not the case when
video is played back. Most tablets and smartphones
capture video at 1920x1080p resolution with a 30 Hz
frame rate, and some new smartphone models can
record 4K (3840x2160p) at 30 Hz! So it’s not unreasonable to expect our collaboration hub product to
support these frame rates.
While TCP/IP is a versatile protocol for send and
receiving email and files, it does not provide any
error correction or stream management to play video
at high frame rates. The result is herky-jerky video
through collaboration hub products that frequently
locks up or drops out, not unlike what you’d see at
home when streaming Internet video to your computer screen.
GettInG It rIGht
It’s time to go back to the drawing board and design
a collaboration hub product that employs various

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(continued on page A15)

huddle rooms

Small, But Significant
When it comes to AV systems, one size does not fit all, even for
smaller huddle rooms.
By Mike Brandes
Over the past few years colleges, universities and corporations have adopted a more agile approach to meetings and
working in groups. One of the ways companies are making this change is by implementing huddle rooms, which allow
for more flexibility, and better opportunities to collaborate or to meet, whether it’s a decision making meeting or a group
brainstorming session.
Huddle rooms, or small conference and meeting costly and have extraneous features, for example
rooms, are designed in such a way as to reduce the room scheduling, might not yield the best ROI.
clutter, so to speak. These rooms are often smaller Universities with Microsoft Lync might could greatly
than a traditional conference room and feature a benefit from selecting a huddle room system that intesmall table, and likely a flat panel display. Users can grates with users’ laptops to provide video teleconferwalk into the room, plug in to a cable cubby, or con- encing, whereas those without a soft-codec based VTC
nect to a wireless display appliance and they are off system might not get the same return. These are a few
and running in just a few seconds; certainly stream- products that have stood out as viable solutions for
lined over a traditional conference room
or boardroom setting.
There are a number of available
options when it comes to sourcing hardware, or software, for huddle room presentations. Seemingly every manufacturer
in the switching and control market has a
huddle room product, and from the number of press releases I receive on a daily
basis, the quantity and quality of huddle
room technology is only going to increase.
Whether the application is for presentation, group study, collaboration, or even
videoconferencing there is no shortage to
the supply of huddle room solutions.
When thinking about potentially outfitting a huddle room, there are solutions
that run the gamut from simple plug-andplay options, to wireless technology, to
small solutions that incorporate full control systems as well as videoconferencing A BYOD breakout room powered by Crestron.
capabilities. It’s imperative for technology
managers to evaluate products not only on the qual- any huddle room space, from familiar manufactures
ity of the technology, its consistency, reliability, and that will integrate well into any existing environment.
ease-of-use but also to make sure the solution meets We explain them in greater depth in the previous
the application.
feature in this Guide.
For an organization that uses huddle spaces spo• AMX Enzo
radically, investing in huddle room systems that are
• Crestron Connect It and AirMedia

A12 O c t o b e r

• Epson BrightLink
• Extron TeamWork
• FSR Inc. HuddleVu Dugout
• Kramer VIA Collage
• Vaddio GroupSTATION
Look for the best fit
This is a small sample of the products available to
help outfit a room with flexible huddle
technology. Although huddle rooms are
the latest technology, and aren’t going
anywhere, for some organizations, technology managers must measure whether
or not implementing huddle rooms at
all—regardless of technology available—is
the best fit for their organization.
first: focus on bYoD
Huddle rooms are designed largely to
operate with BYOD technology. A user
brings their laptop into the room, sets it
on the table and with a plug-in here and
a few clicks there their content is displayed
on the screen. This is exactly what huddle
rooms are designed for—quick and easy
presentation and collaboration designed
to increase efficiency. For an organization
which relies heavily on meeting spaces
with a built-in AV operator, these rooms
can be confusing, challenging, and ultimately won’t be utilized as frequently, limiting the
ROI.
How can tech managers deal with managing
BYOD when we are still also using more traditional technologies, such as PCs? According to Tom
Barnett, director of marketing communications at

2 0 1 4 | av networ k. c om | T h e Tec h nology Manager’s Guid e to hud d le room s

+1 800.326.1088
info@revolabs.com

Where Ideas are Huddled,
Not People

The ideal collaboration system of the future will support a variety of mobile devices, as well
as digital and legacy analog signals. Extron says that its TeamWork solution was designed
to meet any huddle room or collaboration need.

control technology provider Crestron Electronics Inc. in Rockleigh, N.J., in
today’s meeting space, you need to be able to support all sources, including
mobile devices and laptops. “Your goal ought to be that the user can get their
content up onto the display, regardless of the device it’s on,” he said. Crestron has
addressed this with its DigitalMedia distribution system, which manages both
point-to-point wired and network-based wireless infrastructures. Its AirMedia
component enables presenters to share content wirelessly with their laptops,
tablets, or mobile phones.
Barnett says that one of the issues in getting content off devices and onto a
screen is compatibility. “If you are building an all-AirPlay infrastructure, you’ll have
a difficult time with Android and Windows devices,” he said. “It’s important to find
the solutions that are cross-platform. Ideally, once you get into the device age you
have a single solution that can be used for laptops as well all of the mobile device
platforms,” he said. He also notes that a lot of BYOD solutions feature built-in
wireless access points, which can compromise security. “We encourage people to
think very hard before adding a wireless access point that is not already in their
enterprise security policy. You want to treat BYOD collaboration devices like standard network appliances.” AirMedia, he notes, can be managed similarly to other
network assets like printers.
What do your users need?
For organizations, which don’t regularly hold small, or stand-up, meetings a
huddle, room might not be the best fit, either. Yes, the technology is great, easy
to operate, and relatively inexpensive, but if there’s no need for the space, then
there’s no need to buy the technology. For some organizations, presentations are
only done to large audiences, and smaller, decision-making, meetings are often
done in an office with no presentation capabilities. Designing a huddle room for
an organization with these qualities would be akin to putting the proverbial cart
in front of the horse.
Technology managers: if your organization has decided to migrate from conference rooms towards more agile huddle spaces, there are endless options. But also
know, just because the technology exists, doesn’t mean it’s the best fit for your
organization.
Mike Brandes, CTS, DMC-D, is a regular contributor to AV Technology.

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Four microphones with 360 degree
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huddle rooms

Active Learning
in the Arts
Northern Arizona University’s
collaborative classroom gives students an
important voice in instruction
By AV Technology Staff
It’s the ultimate challenge for higher education: finding ways to help students
develop thinking, learning and problem-solving skills, while at the same time
absorbing the fundamental facts of a given profession or field of study.
That’s especially true in the arts, where the univer- seats students together in five groups of four, rather
sity must impart a detailed knowledge of art history than individually in rows of tables. Each student uses
and current practice while helping students embrace an iMac connected to the university network as well
their creative natures and develop an ability to work as to a shared 55-inch monitor through a Crestron
skillfully in a variety of media.
DigitalMedia system. Each workgroup is also conAt Northern Arizona University (NAU), profes- nected to a DM switching system, so the instructor can
sors in the School of Visual Communication have send workgroup images to a classroom projector and
begun experimenting with a new tool, a collaborative to any or all of the shared screens.
graphic arts classroom, that promises to help
“Our goal was to get students more involved
with both challenges. The technology in
in the learning process, so that classes
this room encourages a more demowould be less lecture-based and more
cratic approach to education, where
hands-on, sharing material while
integrator:
students can learn more actively,
working on various projects duraVdomotics
retain knowledge more effectively
ing class,” Williams explains. Some
www.avdomotics.
and develop higher level thinking
com
skills.
Andy and Charlie White of
Sedona, AZ-based AVDomotics provided the system designs, relying on Crestron
DigitalMedia and AirMedia to provide a platform on
which the technology in the room is based.

info

Understanding edUcational
User needs
According to Taryn Williams, Interior Design Project
Manager for NAU’s Facility Services Department,
plans for the new classroom evolved over the last
two years as she studied collaborative learning spaces
at various universities, then visited one at Phoenix
Biomedical, part of the University of Arizona. The
new classroom she designed, in collaboration
with its users, is the first of its kind at NAU. It

A14 O c t o b e r

Crestron’s AirMedia

instructors have taken a flipped-classroom approach,
asking students to watch or read the day’s material
before they get to class, and then devoting class time
to discussion and hands-on practice. According to
Rodrigo de Toledo, who initiated and managed the
project for the School of Communication, it’s up to
individual professors to use the space as they see fit.
They will learn, by doing, the best uses for the new
technology. One class, focused on package design,
uses unique, real-world tools, including a 3D printer,
to help students learn and practice the art. Animation
and motion graphics classes, which are taught in the
same room, benefit from SoundTube FP6030-II parabolic ceiling speakers that provide individual sound
focused on each of the five work tables.” The room, de
Toledo says, has created a new dynamic that’s attracting a great deal of attention from professors and students. “We’ve been approached by other departments
wanting to try the new classroom, but the room is
already scheduled from 8:00 to 6:00 every day.”
integrating the technology
According to Andy White, one of the main challenges in developing the technology for this room
was a need for a highly flexible, high-speed infrastructure. “There are 21 computers permanently installed,
each showing very high resolution images, including
1080p video and potentially 4K video.”
“That’s one reason we used the Crestron platform,” notes Charlie White, lead programmer. “From
our experience, Crestron offers the best and most
comprehensive video switching and system control.
Its sophisticated programming environment is the
only platform we would trust to support the scope,
performance and reliability requirements of this project.” In addition, NAU wanted the ability to test this
implementation with various types of classes, digital
material and software. “It would be a guinea pig for
future projects, and so they wanted to implement
Crestron’s AirMedia, Apple TV and hard-wired switching and find out which would be the most appropriate for different applications,” Andy White says.
In this classroom, all of the iMacs are connected
via a hardwired DigitalMedia nested switch topography using a Crestron 8G+ network. “At each table,
we used a 6x4 DM switch with a DM 8X8 head end
switch set up in a star topology,” Andy White
explains. “This allows each table to operate independently yet collaborate with the rest of the classroom at any given moment.” It’s an economical
and very flexible solution.
In addition, an Apple TV device can connect
an iPad or iPhone directly to the main switch and,
through the switching network, show its screen

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huddle rooms
image on any combination of the room’s displays.
An AirMedia gateway can connect up to 32 Apple,
Android or Windows devices and offers quadview,
the ability to show up to four images simultaneously on a split screen delivered to any combination
of displays.
In addition to the iMac connections, AVDomotics
installed Crestron’s new FT-TS600 five-inch flip-top
touch screen to control local table switching and
volume levels and allow students to connect their
own laptops and video devices. There’s a Planar
55-inch commercial display for local viewing and a
SoundTube 30-inch sound-focusing speaker above
each worktable for localized sound. AVDomotics
technicians also installed a BenQ 1080p-resolution
projector and an 8.5-foot wide projection screen, a
lectern with a podium mic, and a 10-inch Crestron
touch screen for the instructor’s use. Two Crestron
four-channel amplifiers provide audio for each of
the worktables and the classroom as a whole; four
Crestron Excite ceiling speakers provide overall classroom sound.
InteractIve learnIng partners
An unusual service that the Whites provide has been
particularly helpful in launching this new classroom.
“Most AV integrators will only allow the client to
ask for programming changes for 30 days after installation, unless they buy a service contract,” Charlie
White notes. “Yet a truly custom solution like this
takes time to develop in an educational environment,
with many iterations of changes needed to optimize
workflow.” In this case, NAU can request changes to
the user
interface throughout the spring semester. De
Toledo says he is excited about the chance to teach in
the new classroom, as are others in the department.
“It’s a big step for us,” Williams adds. “It’s a great
addition to what we offer as a university.” Andy White
says that AVDomotics is so committed to this project
that they are offering NAU a unique partnership in a
class to be taught next fall. “One of their curriculum
areas is interactive user interface design. We have
offered the Crestron user interface we created as the
basis of a class project.”
“We worked hard to provide the best operational
workflow, but these students will take apart our interface and see if they can improve on it,” Charlie White
adds. “We see this as a tremendous opportunity to
get a fresh perspective on what we do every day.”
That’s what this collaborative classroom is all about:
taking bright, creative people and giving them the
opportunity to develop their skills, their abilities and
their minds.

Collaboration AV Systems
(continued from page A10)

protocols in creative ways, instead of being limited
by them. There’s nothing wrong with using Wi-Fi to
connect users, but it doesn’t make sense to rely on
TCP/IP to handle every type of media we want to
use in a presentation.
The appeal of BYODs lies in their being true
plug-and-play devices. Just power them up and
launch an app—that’s all there is to it. There’s no
reason why our “ideal” collaboration hub product
can’t be just as easy to use, and it certainly shouldn’t
require any special add-on dongles that are incompatible with tablets and smartphones.
Instead, let’s take the lead from BYODs and
switch to a downloadable app to log into and operate our collaboration hub. Thinking further about
the design, our hub should be expandable to a
large number of users—equal to the largest block
of IP addresses it can assign, which would be 256
simultaneous logins. And for end-users that require
secure connections, strong encryption (1024-bit)
should be a standard feature, along with dynamic
room codes.
How about image tiling? Any one user can
command the display screen. How about two?
Three? Four or more users? Given the low cost
and size of LCD displays today (and their full HD
resolution), there’s no reason why we can’t easily
show four, five, and even six simultaneous images
on the screen, re-sized and tiled automatically by
our collaboration hub. By adding support for a
second screen, we can expand that to 12 simultaneous images.
The next step is to tackle the trickiest problem
of all—streaming video. As we learned earlier, TCP/
IP isn’t a good choice for real-time video playback;
not unless we add some sort of real-time transport
protocol with adaptive bitrate streaming to support
the higher frame rates (30 Hz and 60 Hz) that
tablets and phones are capable of when operating
in playback mode.
Surprisingly, none of the current collaboration
hub products can do this. Yet, video streaming
problems through collaboration hubs are still
the #1 complaint of end users, particularly in the
higher education market.
But our ideal collaboration hub will support
full-motion 1080p/60 video streaming from multiple platforms—Windows, Mac OS, and even
Android. Not 15-frame video, not 30-frame
video—full 60-frame video, free of dropped frames

and frozen images. And it will do this over conventional TCP/IP wired and wireless networks with no
special protocols required.
While we’re at it, why not include the ability
to show the main display screen on our tablet or
smartphone? (And all simultaneous images, too.)
That function is easy enough to implement, as is
an electronic whiteboard overlay for annotation
and picture-in-picture (PiP). If our primary display
is a touchscreen monitor, then its functions should
also be supported by our hub.
Let’s finish off the package with native app hosting, multi-user file editing and manipulation in
real time, and quick file sharing capabilities. If one
user wants to send another a file, they simply send
it while a session is in progress. If several members
want to mark up or edit a document, they simply
edit it. And we can also support remote users who
log in via Skype, Lync, WebEx, GoToMeeting, and
other conferencing programs.
a bIg leap forward
The system we’ve created looks and works a lot
differently than any collaboration hub product
offered today. But the truth is; none of the technology it relies on is exotic. What’s different about our
collaboration hub is that it mixes and matches
apps, protocols, image processing, and interactivity to best advantage. It’s just a more intelligent
approach.
Now, we have a collaboration hub product that
is really designed for end users, and not for engineers who appreciate technical complexity. What’s
more, we can use this new hub with existing AV
switching and distribution equipment to expand
its capabilities, such as connecting multiple digital
display inputs and outputs, or using wireless HDMI
to connect our collaboration hub to displays that
are mounted in in so-called “ad hoc” meeting
spaces with no walls and high ceilings.
Best of all, our collaboration hub is platformagnostic: Mac Os, Android, or Windows will all
work with this system, free of dongles or other
hardware plug-ins. Logging in is an intuitive process, as is file sharing, annotation, and exchanging
ideas. All of these features and advances add up to
define a big leap forward for collaboration systems
in the age of “Bring Your Own Devices”.
Peter Putnam is a technology consultant with
Kramer Electronics USA.

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A15

huddle rooms

When Collaboration
Influences Behavior in
Education
The strategy for tech & discovery at the
Princeton Academy of the Sacred Heart.
By AV Technology Staff
When the Princeton Academy was planning their massive school renovations, one of the new technology rich spaces Michael Taggart, Instructional
Technology Coordinator at Princeton Academy of the Sacred Heart, envisioned
was a small group collaboration area that would allow for intensive cooperative sessions for both students and faculty. Princeton Academy is an innovative
school, emphasizing technology and active learning in all their classrooms.
They wanted an extension of their technology rich classrooms in other areas of
the building; one in the form or a modern group collaboration space.

Tune into the Princeton Academy of the Sacred Heart
YouTube channel to learn more about their pedagogy,
community, and technology services.

Princeton Academy
of the Sacred Heart
Princeton Academy of the Sacred Heart is an independent Catholic school for boys in Princeton, NJ, supporting Junior Kindergarten through Grade 8. They are
committed to academic excellence within the context
of a faith-based community. AV and technological

While researching furniture for the space, Taggart discovered
tools are utilized to help prepare students for success.
a table perfectly in line with his vision. The Backbone Media
Platform by KI is a media sharing platform that supports
technology in a collaborative setting and is designed for
PRINCETON
up to six users. Knowing the school had standardized to
ACADEMY OF THE
HDMI connections, the next piece of the puzzle was to
SACRED HEART
www.princetofind the specialized technology to support the interactivnacademy.org.
ity requirements. Taggart says, “FSR’s HuddleVu fit the bill
perfectly.” It worked not only with the design of the table,
but allowed for the type of reliable, intuitive collaboration
that the school desired for the room. With simple and quick
installation, the students didn’t have to wait long to start sharing.
Two months after the Princeton Academy started using the HuddleVu
system in their new “Technology Discovery Lab” or TDL for short,
Taggart says the system has been working like “a champ.” They have had
phones, laptops, and iPads hooked into the HuddleVu connections, each
working seamlessly. The room is running all day during school hours,
and the students “cannot wait to get into the TDL.” The lab has a posted
“Norms for Conduct” that include requirements such as: each student
must be on the top of his game, be the best student he can be and respect
the work of others while in the TDL. Taggart claims that these norms are
strictly followed “because the students want to be in that space, so they
The Technology Discovery Lab is using the FSR HuddleVu to support phones, laptops, and iPads
adhere to the rules of the lab.”

info

A16 O c t o b e r

2 0 1 4 | av networ k. c om | T h e Tec h nology Manager’s Guid e to hud d le room s

Complete wireless HD presentation
from any mobile device and any platform
Today, you want to “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD) to
meetings to present, collaborate, and share content wirelessly.
With Crestron AirMedia™ you can and it couldn’t be easier.
Using AirMedia you can walk into any meeting space and
wirelessly present PowerPoint®, Excel®, and Word documents,
PDFs, photos, and screen shots from your personal iOS® or
Android™ mobile device on the room display. Mac® and Windows®
notebooks also connect seamlessly, making presentations and
collaboration from almost any device incredibly fast and easy.

Learn more at crestron.com/airmedia

All brand names, product names and trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Certain trademarks, registered trademarks, and trade names may be used to refer to either the entities claiming the marks
and names or their products. Crestron disclaims any proprietary interest in the marks and names of others. Crestron is not responsible for errors in typography or photography. ©2014 Crestron Electronics, Inc. AD2014_09