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University Adds RevoLabs Fusion to Videoconferencing System

The challenge for many schools such as the University of Denver is implementing cutting-edge AV technology into buildings built decades ago. The school recently implemented a high-definition videocon 2/18/2009 7:00 AM Eastern

University Adds RevoLabs Fusion to Videoconferencing System

Feb 18, 2009 12:00 PM, By Linda Seid Frembes




Revolabs Fusion 8 wireless audio system

Revolabs Fusion 8 wireless audio system
Photo courtesy of The University of Denver

The challenge for many schools such as the University of Denver is implementing cutting-edge AV technology into buildings built decades ago. The school recently implemented a high-definition videoconferencing solution by LifeSize, integrated with a wireless plug-and-play microphone system from RevoLabs for the Marcella Miller Du Pont room in the Mary Reed building, a former library that was built in 1928. The room is the executive room for board of trustee meetings and executive staff, according to Chad Burnham, telecommunications network planner for the school’s University Technology Services, Network Services. “We had some feedback that the previous wired microphone system was not satisfactory due to the number of cables that criss-cross the meeting table,” he says.

The previous microphone system handled audioconferencing only. When the school decided to invest in bringing videoconferencing technology to the meeting room, planners knew it was also the right time to implement a wireless, secure microphone system. “Every member needs to be present in the meetings, but many of our trustees are businesspeople who travel or have busy schedules and can’t always make it to Denver,” Burnham says. “Adding videoconferencing was a cost-effective way to get everyone to the meetings.”

Three bids came in for a permanent system for the room— each for at least $100,000. The school decided to use a scaled-back, mobile version of the system that offered equal usability but at 60 percent of the cost. Bob Dinegar with reseller R.J. Macklin Associates in Centennial, Colo., came up with the idea to integrate the technology onto a cart that can be easily moved out of the way. The cart would also have less impact on the recently renovated space where new carpet, furniture, and paint still preserved the look of the original room.

The system resides on a Chief Manufacturing cart on wheels and includes a 52in. Toshiba LCD flatpanel display, a LifeSize Room 200 HD videoconferencing system with one HD camera on the cart and another extra HD camera in the room, and the RevoLabs Fusion 8 wireless audio system. “We were one of the first LifeSize Room 200 customers in the U.S.,” says Burnham, who managed the project. “We had to use the RevoLabs product because the omnidirectional microphone array that comes with the LifeSize system couldn’t cover our large meeting room.”




University Adds RevoLabs Fusion to Videoconferencing System

Feb 18, 2009 12:00 PM, By Linda Seid Frembes




LifeSize Room 200 HD videoconferencing system with 52in. Toshiba LCD

LifeSize Room 200 HD videoconferencing system with 52in. Toshiba LCD
Photo courtesy of The University of Denver

The team chose the RevoLabs Fusion product because of its 128-bit proprietary encryption that provides security from eavesdropping, a long battery life, and easy integration with the LifeSize system. According to RevoLabs, the company provides “all of the necessary cables to plug into any of the major videoconferencing solutions, including LifeSize, Polycom, Sony, and Tandberg.”

Burnham says he also liked the microphone system’s echo-cancellation technology. “The ceiling in the meeting room is a hard deck; there is no acoustical treatment, so intelligibility can be compromised without echo cancelling,” he says.

To set up for a meeting, six Revolabs boundary microphones are placed at regular intervals along the meeting tables. Both of the solo wearable microphones are placed at the front of the room for the person or people who are leading the meeting.

The school also purchased two LifeSize Express with Focus units to send out to meeting participants who cannot make it to campus in-person. The units are packaged in a custom Pelican hard-case for protection during shipping, as well as a LifeSize Focus HD camera with built-in microphone, an LG Electronics 19in. LCD HD monitor with built-in speakers, and setup instructions.

According to Burnham, the far-end participant needs a DSL or cable modem connection to participate via video. The codec adjusts to available bandwidth and can deliver a quality picture down to 256kbps minimum. Far-end participants do not need a RevoLabs microphone system because they can use the microphone that is built into the Focus camera. “These shippable units mean that the meetings can be in high-definition video on both ends,” Burnham says.

The school also invested in a LifeSize Transit Server 2.0, which is used to manage what Burnham calls “the far-end firewall problem”. The unit lives in the university’s server room on campus. “It serves as a gatekeeper on the network and facilitates far-end units traversing their firewalls, using H.460.18 and H.460.19 standards” Burnham says. “It helps to facilitate H.323 video calls across enterprise firewalls that are not under our control.”

Currently, the system is used once or twice per month. Burnham notes that the meetings have gone smoothly and without failure. The mobile unit remains in the secure meeting room at all times, which is alarmed when not in use.




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