Endeleo Delivers Media Distribution Technology to Classrooms
Dec 20, 2006 7:51 PM,
By Linda Seid Frembes
With such a strong focus on new construction of school buildings and all the technology tools that go along with them, it can be easy to forget about the majority of aging school buildings. According to a 1998 study by the National Center for Education Statistics, the average age of public school buildings in the United States was 42 years. The mean age ranged from 46 years in the Northeast and Central states to 37 years in the Southeast, with about one-fourth (28 percent) of all public schools built before 1950.
Given that sobering fact, it is even more important that schools have access to AV technology that is easily installed and cost-effective to maintain. Cat-5 cable, the unshielded twisted pair (UTP) cable that is omnipresent in buildings today, is a low-cost network infrastructure that can support data, voice, and streaming media. “Schools going through new construction, as well as renovations, can flood wire a building to try to future-proof as much as possible,” says Kevin Morrison, Managing Director and Vice President of AMX’s Endeleo Group.
In November, AMX announced its acquisition of Endeleo, a U.K.-based manufacturer of TV and multi-format media distribution technologies. Endeleo’s customer base includes many recognizable names such as Arizona State University, Montclair State University, Bear Stearns, New York Mercantile Exchange, the Chicago Police Department, New York City Office of Emergency Management, Sony Computer Entertainment America, and Viacom/MTV.
Endeleo products will broaden AMX’s penetration into targeted vertical markets, including financial, entertainment, digital signage, and especially education. These markets require both the integration of video distribution technology and traditional control solutions produced by AMX. “There is a massive move in the education market,” Morrison says. “Users are more tech-savvy about content and people are up to speed on switching and distribution.”
Endeleo products consolidate, switch, and distribute video signal over a single Cat-5 cable with the ability to send multimedia signal to intelligent display devices. “We are unique in this market segment,” Morrison says. “Our web appliance can take any signal input and send multi-format media over long distances.”
Rather than needing distribution units in the classroom, schools can consolidate Endeleo units in one secure area and run cable to specific classrooms or to display devices in public areas. Endeleo’s managed television distribution system, the TVM1600, is a fully configurable, multi-standard TV transmission system capable of supporting up to 192 channels per display connection. Other products include the UDM1604, which delivers any combination of video and audio formats, including Component, Composite, VGA, S-Video, and RGB.
Education applications include Manchester (U.K.) University’s School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, who is using their Endeleo system to send multimedia to large-format screens and lecture halls. The system is used in conjunction with teleconferencing to push PowerPoint slides with the lecture, switched along with live TV or VGA feeds. Live camera feeds showing lectures from other university buildings can also be pushed to large-format displays in public or overflow areas on campus. Additionally, digital media servers can be selected from the display, which provides access to pre-recorded lectures and presentations.
Multi-format video has also been vitally important to University of Cincinnati in Ohio, where live broadcasts and signage content are switched and distributed throughout the administration building for students, lecturers, and administration staff. According to Morrison, there is a need in the education market to centralize control and AV resources. “Anybody can use our devices for a classroom lecture and push it out to other classrooms and locations,” he says. “The specific content or media server is up to the end user. Historically, our products are installed in higher-education facilities but we are seeing more interest in the K-12 market; particularly because twisted pair infrastructure for data and voice are in most buildings already.”
As an added bonus to current AMX users, Endeleo’s media distribution systems can be easily integrated with AMX control and automation systems. Duet modules are available for download on the company’s website, which enable the devices in AMX’s VisualArchitect software.
Post installation, Morrison also noted that the devices are stable and do not require frequent upgrades. Management and administration of the product is simplified by the onboard web engine. Using the browser component, a user can grant or revoke TV channel rights from the web page or can see if a display is on or off. “On the TV end products, there is a very useful reporting aspect to the system. The user can determine if someone has been watching a specific broadcast. For distribution products, users can inject live messages on the broadcast stream like announcing a fire drill or other public announcements,” Morrison says.
While distributing media over Cat-5 is not new, Endeleo has given the practice a managed architecture. Morrison noted that the company will continue to enhance services and find new ways that vertical markets can use its systems.