The All-In-One Conferencing System Delivers of Ease of Installation, Integration, and Use With Superb Audio Quality for In-Room and Virtual Students
The Systems and Industrial Engineering department at the University of Arizona was the first systems engineering academic department founded in the United States. Students who enroll in this major are often passionate about creating solutions for humans and machines to work together efficiently. Naturally, a successful systems engineering education requires intuitive, high-quality AV classroom technology as all lectures in the department are recorded and saved for students to review and study on their own time.
In early 2022, the department decided one of their classrooms was due for a technological upgrade. The group mandated Zachary Chapman, senior systems administrator, to redo the room’s AV technology, particularly the microphone and speaker system. The room is a multi-purpose classroom used mainly for recording lectures, and at times, for video conferencing.
Though the teacher’s voice is the main voice required for audio pick up, students also ask questions and contribute to the conversation during classes; and in some cases, remote students join the class virtually. However, the room’s previous audio solution did not adequately support students’ voices. One webcam atop a TV struggled to pick up sound from anywhere other than someone standing directly in front of it.
The department assured Chapman that they had the budget to support any solution he chose. Their main requirement? Ease of use.
As Chapman began to research audio recording and conferencing solutions, ceiling microphones surfaced as a forerunner for their use case and soon became his main focus. When a local vendor recommended Yamaha ADECIA, Chapman found the solution promising and quickly began to consider its effectiveness in other spaces as well, including a classroom for the university’s Mining and Geological Engineering Department. What stood out to him about the solution? ADECIA’s uniquely simple installation.
The easy-install solution is comprised of four Yamaha products: the RM-CG ceiling array microphone and RM-CR signal processor, as well as Yamaha’s long-trusted PoE switches and VXL Series line array speakers. Featuring Yamaha’s unique dynamic beam tracking technology, the ADECIA ceiling microphone utilizes four beams to automatically track voices within the room simultaneously, ensuring lively conversations are picked up and delivered clearly to the far end while eliminating unwanted background noise.
The complete solution immediately detects all components of the system and configures them to be optimized for the room environment, accounting for the location of speakers and microphones, reverberation, and echo behavior. Setting up a room is done through the system’s configurator in four effortless steps. With USB, Bluetooth®, Dante, and analog connections, this flexible system can fit a variety of meeting spaces.
“A big reason why we went with Yamaha was the setup. It was extremely easy to do,” said Chapman. When looking at solutions made by other manufacturers, he realized that he would need to buy separate components and then figure out how to configure these individual devices so they would be interoperable. Conversely, ADECIA came as a packaged deal, with only one PoE network cable. “It felt a lot like plug-and-play,” he said.
Chapman worked closely with the facilities management team to install and test the ADECIA Ceiling Solution, first in the mining department’s classroom, then in the systems engineering classroom. Both solutions were integrated with an AVer 530 camera, a Kramer Room Manager, and a Barco ClickShare. Instructors appreciate that ADECIA is software-agnostic, as they already rely on and feel comfortable with their recording process, which requires a lecture recording software called Panopto. The instructor is able to immediately start class on either a room laptop or their own devic without having to configure the recording software each time.
Amazingly, each classroom only required one Yamaha RM-CG Ceiling Microphone, demonstrating its powerful room coverage. The systems engineering classroom seats 30-40 people, while the mining department’s classroom seats up to 50 people. The team installed the ceiling microphone towards the front of each classroom, in the vicinity of where the professor normally stands and speaks. Thanks to ADECIA, despite the room’s large size, students asking questions from anywhere in the room are now successfully picked up by the ceiling microphone.
“That is a huge value add for us,” said Chapman.
Another benefit to switching to a Yamaha ceiling microphone was the hands-free element, which is an increased priority following COVID-19. Not having to worry about sanitizing lapel microphones or handheld microphones contributed to the solution’s ease of use.
Furthermore, unlike other types of microphones, the ADECIA ceiling microphone doesn’t require users to charge batteries or alter anything manually before speaking and recording. Chapman recalls past situations where microphones died during lecture recordings, often requiring professors to rerecord lectures.
“With ADECIA, there are far fewer troubleshooting calls to the IT department,” says Chapman. “That’s a success, in my opinion.”
Overall, feedback from staff, teachers, and students has been consistently positive. “Everyone on the far end can easily hear the in-room participants clearly, even if they walk around the room,” said Chapman. “The microphone picks them up clearly, without picking up background noise from the room’s air conditioning unit.”
Not to be outdone, Yamaha’s line array speakers have also proven successful at replacing the room’s previous amplifiers. “The speakers provide sound to encompass the whole room,” said Chapman. “It just sounds fantastic.”
The University of Arizona is also currently installing ADECIA in a conference room and actively considering additional ways to improve audio quality and pick-up in various use cases across campus.