Lumens introduces new camera for broadcasting, large meeting rooms

The New VC-A70H 4K Ultra HD PTZ is designed for large-scale environments

Lumens™ Integration Inc. introduced a new 4K Ultra HD PTZ camera, the VC-A70H. The camera was designed for the broadcasting and large meeting room environments. This camera is equipped with a progressive Exmor R CMOS sensor. Compared to other cameras in the industry, the VC-A70H comes with a 12x optical zoom, 74° of a Horizontal Field of View (HFoV), HDMI and HDBaseT simultaneous video output interface and a built-in tally light. The HDBaseT interface allows Ultra HD resolution and long distance transmission up to 70 meters which carries power, video and control through one CAT5e/6 cable. The camera also supports RS232 and RS422.

The VC-A70H camera provides an audience with an enhanced image performance. The advanced image processing and circuit design ensures a pristine image during the pan, tilt, zoom and capture function. This is essential for visual communications which is lacking in other broadcasting and large meeting room cameras.

Several accessories are included with this camera. The camera comes with a standard ceiling mount bracket, IR remote control, and power adapter. In addition, Lumens provides optional accessories. For example, a cable extender, wall mount bracket and a compact camera controller.

Availability and Pricing:
The VC-A70H 4K Ultra HD PTZ camera will be available in July 2016. Customers will have the option to purchase either a white or black color camera. The MSRP price is $5,040.

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AVerMedia spotlights latest-gen 4K HEVC encoders

Wide codec support, professional quality, and supporting multi-display streaming

At InfoComm 2016, AVerMedia Technologies displayed its latest HEVC encoding and streaming solutions. They will be located at booth N1275 of the Las Vegas Convention Center from June 8th to June 10th.

Professional 4K Encoding, and Streaming Solutions

AVerMedia will display myriad encoding and streaming products, encompassing top-tier 4K HEVC/H.265 compression for UHD content to standard AVC/H.264 compression. AVerMedia’s professional products offer fantastic codec support and quality, while supporting multi-display streaming and processing. Their live encoders can ingest up to 4K content and simultaneously encode it into HEVC and H.264 streams, turning a single capture source into multiple output streams for a multitude of devices. The ability to variegate resolutions and codecs is perfect for TV operators and OTT purposes; users can provide optimal video quality for a variety of commercial uses like digital signage, medical imaging, automated inspection, and more.

At InfoComm, AVerMedia puts the spotlight on the AVerCaster HEVC RS9260 – able to broadcast live TV and 4K video to a broad audience over a network. It uses a 2U rack-mounted server employing redundant dual power supplies and Ethernet interfaces for stability. The RS9260 supports up to 4K HDMI 2.0 input and boasts a wide range of encoding, bit rate, and resolution options.

Powerful Video Capture Cards – Record 4K UHD Video at High Frame Rates

Striving to keep up with nascent UHD displays and technology, AVerMedia offers a variety of PCIe, Mini PCIe, and USB video capture devices for recording on-screen content at any resolution. Their recently-released flagship cards can capture up to 4K video at 60FPS with under 50ms latency and formidable throughput of up to 18 Gbps via HDMI 2.0.

AVerMedia offers the best broadcasting solutions, professional consulting, and a wealth of knowledge in OTT and digital signage operations. With their latest generation of video encoding, streaming, and capture solutions, users can reduce costs while improving their systems.


AVI-SPL unveils next-gen collaboration services

Enhanced proactive monitoring capabilities, cloud-based VMR features, Microsoft Corp. integration among AVI-SPL’s modern workplace solutions creating unparalleled customer experience

AVI-SPL, a provider of collaboration technology solutions and AV systems integration, will reveal its enhanced collaboration services designed to simplify the AV and IT convergence for end users at InfoComm 2016 in Las Vegas, June 8-10.

This soon-to-be-unveiled features will be the focus at AVI-SPL’s booth at InfoComm 2016, highlighting added service capabilities to Virtual Meeting Rooms (VMR) including Unify ME, the global integrator’s interoperable VMR service. This includes “one-click” collaboration, meeting recording and streaming capabilities, Microsoft Exchange integration, as well as Symphony monitoring and management platform allowing organizations to measure the quality of the meeting experience.

“This is truly the next generation of collaboration services,” said AVI-SPL’s Senior Vice President of Unified Communication, Collaboration, and Service Solutions Joe Laezza. “With our combined collaboration technology solutions and services offerings, we’ve created an unmatched all-in-one-place destination to meet the needs of the enterprise around the globe and provide comprehensible innovation to the changing workplace. You just won’t see this anywhere else.”

A closer look at AVI-SPL’s next generation of collaboration services being featured at InfoComm 2016:

Instant collaboration

Enabled by cloud managed endpoint for huddle spaces, powered by Tely, coupled with AVI-SPL’s other collaborative cloud services. There is no need to invest in backend infrastructure, nor roadmap to evolve, or staff to maintain.

AVI-SPL will deliver a fully managed huddle space solution with a single touch to join scheduled meetings, access AVI-SPL’s “Unify ME” conferencing service, or other high quality VMR’s, and share content with this cloud-based, scalable platform.

Meeting broadcasting and recording

Live stream high quality video to any device, or record and share directly from video conferencing endpoints, Unify ME VMR, and other virtual meeting rooms with an agile cloud solution that can link to new and existing equipment.

Proactive monitoring of collaboration spaces and devices with Symphony

Powered by AVI-SPL, the leading AV integrator is releasing its first self-service module of its monitoring platform, Symphony. With a sleek, easy-to-use dashboard, Symphony allows end users, even those in mixed vendor environments, to collect valuable business intelligence regarding their collaboration initiatives through usage data and system analytics, such as room/device usage and video quality, to ensure better outcomes for every meeting.

Microsoft integration

As a Microsoft Gold Partner, AVI-SPL continues to boost its Microsoft practice with advanced expertise in Microsoft Skype for Business deployments and Microsoft Exchange integration. AVI-SPL offers support to clients with Skype for Business rollouts, providing professional services to onboard users and devices with Skype, and fostering productive adoption of the collaboration tool. In addition, with Exchange seamlessly integrating with AVI-SPL’s Symphony platform, users enable simplified call and meeting scheduling.

“Adding these features continue AVI-SPL’s pioneering of the AV/IT convergence, and remain at the forefront of today’s transforming workplace,” said Dale Bottcher, senior vice president of sales. “With our ability to offer room readiness, deploy the very best collaboration technology solutions, as well as support services to assist client collaboration strategies, we’re taking customer experience to a whole new level.”

For more details on these collaboration solutions and more, visit AVI-SPL at Booth N-1129 during the InfoComm Exhibit Hall on Wednesday, June 8 through Friday, June 10.


LiveU demonstrates ‘solo’ plug and play live streaming solution

Hosting live streaming workshops to demonstrate ease of use for corporate, education, HOW, and live event production applications

Live streaming has become a highly effective means of driving content and messaging to audiences. The most engaging content is often in the most difficult places to be live from and the creative necessity to be 100 percentmobile means you will need to rely on Wi-Fi and cellular networks to deliver your creation reliably to your viewers online.

LiveU, a provider of live video acquisition and transmission, has taken its 10 years of experience in the broadcast industry and put the same technology in every content creator’s hands.

Online broadcasters of all sizes can now live stream HD video content directly to Facebook Live or any online video provider – from anywhere – with LiveU Solo, a ‘plug and play’ live streaming portable encoder that takes multiple signals and bonds them together for consistent bandwidth even in the most unpredictable network conditions.

The entire end-to-end solution for easy and quality online video using Solo to stream straight to Facebook will be demonstrated – live – in the Content Creation & Streaming Pavilion at InfoComm 2016.

“With so many solutions available, live streaming can seem overwhelming for customers. But there can be no question that live video is fast becoming a key component of every company’s branding, marketing and communication mix,” said Claudia Barbiero, Director of Marketing at LiveU. “This pavilion is all about demystifying live video distribution and teaching attendees how to produce and deliver great quality live video online to reach their audiences in unique and engaging ways.”


Prysm boosts enterprise-wide collaboration through integrations with Microsoft applications

New integrations for the Prysm Visual Workplace leverage existing enterprise Microsoft ecosystems

To enhance offerings within Prysm Visual WorkplaceTM, Prysm announced an integration with Microsoft OneDrive for Business and Office 365, making it even easier to work with Microsoft Corp. tools and applications.

Using the OneDrive for Business API from Microsoft, Prysm has made it easy for customers to connect Prysm to their existing OneDrive for Business environments to make it a seamless experience for end users to access, search for, and sync with content from OneDrive for Business. Within a Prysm Visual Workplace project, users may now access, work within and download content from Office 365 using Prysm’s built-in web capabilities.

These new integrations are in addition to the previously announced Microsoft Skype for Business integration, built using the Microsoft Software Developer Kit (SDK), which created an exceptional user experience for Skype users on large display walls, a first in the industry. The Skype for Business integration from Prysm enables users to schedule or join an already scheduled Skype meeting from the Prysm Visual Workplace platform, allowing remote participants to fully engage in meetings with the ability to access and interact with all of the content loaded into the workplace.

Prysm Visual Workplace offers a unique and innovative environment enabling its users to access all of their content and data at the same time; while many traditional systems allow you to only bring up one piece of content for review at a time, when in a group setting. Working with unlimited amounts of data and file formats in a single space, users can interact and collaborate from any location or device, spurring innovation both in-office and among remote participants.

With Prysm Visual Workplace, applications, content, video conferencing and the Web are all combined into a visual workplace where teams can create, edit and share. These interactive workplaces are stored in the cloud and accessible from any device so that everyone can contribute — whether they are in the meeting room, or on the road. As enterprises are constantly looking to maximize technology investments, through this integration Prysm users are able to leverage their current Microsoft portfolios within the Prysm Visual Workplace to expand their collaboration capabilities. The Microsoft applications are added as a content layer to enable a seamless experience from the desktop where content is created to the meeting room where it is reviewed and edited by groups.

As data and content are shared throughout the enterprise, security is a key priority in the Prysm Visual Workplace. Specifically, Prysm Cloud is built on top of Microsoft Azure, an open, flexible and enterprise-grade cloud computing platform. Azure meets a broad set of international and industry-specific compliance standards, such as ISO 27001, HIPAA, FedRAMP, SOC 1 and SOC 2, as well as country-specific standards like Australia IRAP, UK G-Cloud and Singapore MTCS. The Azure platform is deployed by 85 percent of the Fortune 500.

“We want to make collaboration as easy as possible for our customers and will go above and beyond to make sure they have every application that enables them to seamlessly collaborate with colleagues, customers and partners, no matter their location or device,” said Paige O’Neill, CMO, Prysm. “Content aside, data security is one of our top priorities. As Microsoft is synonymous with enterprise applications, cloud computing and security, our work with Microsoft is incredibly important. With this integration, enterprises are not only able to leverage their existing Microsoft investments but remain confident that their shared data is safe and secure.”

The Prysm Visual Workplace Microsoft Office 365 integration is available starting in Q3, 2016. Prysm will demonstrate the new capabilities at InfoComm 2016 in booth #N305.


The 5 un-sexy higher-ed issues candidates should discuss

Many say the presidential candidates’ debates and discussions lack a focus on higher education—here are the issues the candidates should research and discuss.

The presidential campaign and debates among candidates have shed light on the issues most important to the U.S. public—and among those issues is higher education, from financing it, to institutions’ accreditation, to accessibility.

As Generation Z takes ownership of its higher-education future, the following issues will become even more important as a new president takes office.

Here, we offer a handful of higher education issues, along with important developments pertaining to each issue, which should be on the presidential candidates’ radar and present in their debates as November nears.

Did some issues not make the list? Be sure to include your suggestions in the comment section below.


1. The cost of higher education and the student loan debate

“We agree that real opportunity requires every American to get the education and training they need to land a good-paying job,” President Obama said during his Jan. 12 State of the Union address–the last of his presidency.

“And we have to make college affordable for every American. Because no hardworking student should be stuck in the red. We’ve already reduced student loan payments to 10 percent of a borrower’s income. Now, we’ve actually got to cut the cost of college. Providing two years of community college at no cost for every responsible student is one of the best ways to do that, and I’m going to keep fighting to get that started this year,” he said, referencing his America’s Promise proposal, which would make two years of community college free to students meeting certain requirements. The proposal has yet to gain traction in Congress, though some states are passing their own versions of the plan.

Hillary Clinton has proposed that federal efforts and money should help make college more affordable.

Clinton’s New College Compact proposes that students should not have to borrow money to pay for tuition or books at a four-year public college in their state. Family contributions will be evaluated to ensure they are affordable and realistic.

Republican candidate Donald Trump has touched on higher education as well, saying in interviews that the federal government should not make money off of student loans.

Increasing financial pathways to college accessibility should be among the presidential candidates’ top concerns. Recommendations from the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Governors’ Council outlined three critical reforms to increase college accessibility.

While colleges and universities seem to have recovered from the recession, students still bear much of the cost to attend. In the next year, institutions will have to get creative with existing funding in an effort to ease the financial burden that so often comes with higher education.

(Next page: Four more higher-ed issues the presidential candidates should cover)


College launches VR and AR certificate program

Courses will address content development for both technologies

Cogswell Polytechnical College has launched a new virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) certificate program, which addresses the development of content for VR and AR.

VR is a new human-user interaction paradigm utilizing computer-generated immersive environments. Users participate in VR using headsets which project images within a closed visual space, special immersive sound technologies, and optionally, articles of clothing that provide tactile sensations that increase the sense of “presence.”

AR overlays interaction with the physical world with computer-generated three-dimensional visual and auditory sensory information to provide an enriched experience without excluding the surrounding environment.

The program is a six-course set of specialzed classes that will be offered weekday evenings and weekends to accommodate the schedules of industry professionals. The purpose of this certificate program is to provide professionals in the computer graphics industry the opportunity to join development teams that create VR or AR content.

Students in the program will earn:

  • Cognitive and perceptual aspects of VR/AR experience
  • Human/computer interface and interaction (HCI) design
  • VR design principles
  • Applications of VR/AR in storytelling in a project-based learning environment

Who should apply:

  • Computer graphics (CG) professionals
  • Computer Engineering professionals
  • Professional Digital Artists
  • Recent graduates in Digital Arts or Engineering Programs
  • Current students in Media Art or Game programs
  • Students who have completed courses in 3D modeling

How the certificate is earned

The first four requirements are subject courses that are taught in a traditional lecture/lab format and last 7 weeks each. VRAR400 (Perception, Cognition and Presence in VR) is the entry-levelc course, although VRAR450 (Human Computer Interface & Interaction Design) may be taken concurrently. VRAR500 (VR Design Principles 1) is taken next, followed by VRAR525 (VR Design Principles 2).

With all of these requirements completed students may then enroll in the two-course VR/AR Studio Project (VRAR550) & (VRAR555). Following the completion of the studio project, the certificate program is complete and students will be awarded their certificates.


New learning pilot targets Interstate Passport Initiative

Six institutions to use Aqua by Taskstream to assess student learning and proficiency as part of a new framework to aid student transfer and improve graduation rates

The Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) and Taskstream – a provider of assessment management and e-portfolio solutions for higher education – just announced the formation of a new partnership to pilot a mapping process in support of the Interstate Passport Initiative‘s new framework for the block transfer of lower-division general education based on learning outcomes and proficiency criteria.

With the cost of higher education under constant scrutiny, the goal of the Interstate Passport is to eliminate unnecessary repetition of academic work after students transfer, improve graduation rates, shorten time to degree, and save students money by developing a new framework for transfer based on learning outcomes and transfer-level proficiency criteria. The new framework is being developed and tested by faculty at institutions in 16 states.

During the first two phases of the development of the Passport (funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Lumina Foundation), faculty representatives from participating institutions developed the Passport Learning Outcomes (PLOs) – what a student should know and be able to do – and attendant Proficiency Criteria – examples of assignments faculty use to determine that their students achieved the learning outcomes – in nine knowledge and skill areas to build the new framework.

The nine areas, which reference the LEAP Essential Learning Outcomes developed by the Association of American Colleges & Universities (AAC&U), include oral communication, written communication, quantitative literacy, natural sciences, human cultures, creative expression, human society and the individual, critical thinking, and teamwork and value systems. Each participating institution constructs its Passport Block – a list of courses or learning experiences by which its students can achieve proficiency with the PLOs and earn a Passport. When a student with a Passport transfers to another Passport institution, his learning is recognized as a block; he will not be required to repeat or take additional courses to meet lower-division general education requirements in the Passport’s nine areas.

Now entering Phase III of the Passport’s development, funded by a First in the World (FITW) grant from the U.S. Department of Education, the initiative is conducting a pilot study to look at ways faculty map their assignments to the PLOs. The study will also examine the related student artifacts for the selected assignments. Six institutions – pairs of two-year and four-year institutions from Colorado, Montana, and New Mexico are participating in the pilot. The National Center for Higher Education Management Systems (NCHEMS) is developing two new sets of rubrics to score the assignments and student work samples.

This pilot will provide an external evaluation of the validity of the framework’s processes, provide recommendations on future improvements, and inform how this process might be expanded to guide future candidate institutions in applying for Passport status or in improving their performance in the Passport program.

“By engaging faculty in a closer look at how and what types of assignments are being used to determine proficiency with the Passport Learning Outcomes within and across institutions, our goals are to share ideas in proficiency assessment among participating institutions and to expand faculty understanding and choices of assignments in courses they include in their institution’s Passport Block,” said Pat Shea, Director of Academic Leadership Initiatives at WICHE and Project Director for the Interstate Passport.

As the technical partner on this project, Taskstream is collaborating with WICHE and NCHEMS to refine plans for the pilot – including the design and testing of new rubrics directed at the Passport Learning Outcomes – and providing the technology to support scoring exercises involving faculty and NCHEMS staff. Faculty from the six pilot institutions will score assignments in lower-division general education courses as well as the responding student artifacts in Aqua by Taskstream. Faculty will self-score these samples at their home institutions before they are cross-scored by faculty at the five other institutions and then by Peter Ewell from NCHEMS.

“We’re excited to help advance the Interstate Passport Initiative,” said Webster Thompson, President at Taskstream. “We see this as a natural progression from the work we are doing with the Multi-State Collaborative to Advance Learning Outcomes Assessment (MSC) and our mission to help institutions, states, and consortia improve student learning through meaningful outcomes assessment.”
All regionally accredited, public and private, non-profit institutions across the nation can apply for Passport status beginning July 1.


All about IT’s critical role

Catch up on the most compelling higher-ed news stories you may have missed this week

Every Friday, I’ll recap some of the most interesting and thought-provoking news developments that occurred over the week.

I can’t fit all of this week’s news stories here, though, so feel free to visit and read up on other news you may have missed.

This week is all about IT, from the technology needed to support a credentialing system, to a new online learning portal at the University of Colorado, to a total network overhaul. Together, these stories highlight how important it is for IT teams to be able to work together to support university initiatives.

Read on for more:

Why Teachers College blew up its wireless network
What would you do if you could blow up your school’s entire wireless network and start all over again? That’s exactly what Teachers College, Columbia University has done, as the storied institution seeks to position itself for the 21st century, complete with cutting-edge online instruction and highly automated classrooms.

5 must-have’s for viable credentials
A much-needed accessible and easily understood system for viable credentials could have a major impact on learners, employers and education providers.

University of Colorado launches online learning portal
The University of Colorado this week officially launched “Connect,” an online platform that links prospective students to all online course and degree offerings across CU’s four campuses. The website, formerly known as University of Colorado On Demand, is a hub for fully online degrees, online certificate programs and online classes. The website had a soft launch last fall.


Crestron unveils new audio solutions for meeting spaces and venues

New precision-engineered Avia DSPs, amplifiers, and software tools dramatically simplify audio programming, integration, and expansion in commercial and institutional applications

Crestron, creator of AV control and automation technology, introduced new solutions that aim to simplify audio in conference rooms, lecture halls, sports and entertainment venues, courtrooms, and other spaces.

Headlining the new audio technology is the full line of Avia Digital Signal Processors (DSPs) featuring a DSP programming tool, as well as a robust selection of amplifiers that support audio over IP using Dante™ audio networking. All new audio solutions integrate natively with DigitalMedia™, touch screens, Crestron Fusion® Cloud, and unified collaboration technology as part of a comprehensive Crestron solution.

“We designed our Avia DSPs and new amplifiers to specifically address the audio issues that leading commercial integrators told us they face on a daily basis,” said Dennis Fink, Audio Technology Manager at Crestron. “The key to our success is our exclusive new DSP Tool which provides a massive leap forward in terms of simplifying the process of programming, tuning, integrating, and expanding audio performance in meeting spaces. When audio pros see the new DSP Tool, they immediately realize this is a big deal for the industry.”

The new DSP Tool provides a powerful and intuitive workspace that streamlines audio design and programming. The unique channel-strip architecture simplifies configuration, allowing programmers to save, modify, and manage a library of custom strips. Built-in tools include a spectrum analyzer, virtual mixer, EQ editor, and Crestron speaker profile library to ensure quick acoustic setup. New controls and functions can be added on-the-fly so programmers no longer need to “re-wire and recompile” to make changes. I/O expansion amongst Avia DSPs, amplifiers, and third-party vendors is easy using integrated Dante controls. On top of all those benefits, the DSP Tool enables programmers to drag and drop audio controls and even VUs directly into VT Pro-e® software for flawless touch screen UIs in one room or hundreds of rooms – in minutes.

“Crestron is known for best-in-class products for the enterprise AV market,” said Lee Ellison, CEO of Audinate®. “Dante has become the standard for high quality audio-over-IP networked systems, and this alliance with Crestron will enhance the Dante ecosystem with better, more widely available networked solutions.”

The new Crestron audio offering includes five Avia DSP models, a companion line of network-controlled and monitored amplifiers, as well as a convenient line of modular utility amplifiers that allow integrators to mix and match capabilities in less than 1U of rack space. Rounding out the new products are the latest updates to the Saros® line of speakers including a new Saros® sound bar for commercial applications.

Visit Crestron in booth #C7008 to see all of the new audio solutions as well as an interactive demo of the DSP Tool.