Tuesday, March 12, 2013

AV and IT Converging in Judicial and Law Enforcement Arenas

Add judicial and law enforcement facilities to the growing list of places where AV and IT are converging. And like their counterparts in general enterprise and other sectors, legal technology professionals face a variety of challenges, from security concerns to usability.

Enterprise IT managers often balk at allowing AV traffic such as video to run over their networks for reasons such as security and bandwidth. There and in the legal sector, that resistance is starting to wane, partly because technology has evolved to address their concerns. Case in point: the use of video for applications such as remote arraignment and testimony.

“In early 2005, we saw an early adoption of videoconferencing over IP,” said Adam Lofredo, ExhibitOne strategic account manager. “This was an IT nightmare since video consumed a lot of bandwidth! Eventually the videoconferencing manufacturers co-created the H.264 video standard, which was a compression algorithm that allowed decent videoconferencing calls at much lower bandwidth: typically 384 kbps. “At the same time, the IT industry started making investments in the 10/100 MB switches. This combination allowed us to see most videoconferencing today run over IP.”

HDbaseT and Audio Video Bridging (AVB) are two other technologies increasingly used in courthouses and other facilities so audio and video can share the same Cat cabling. The next step is to have AV and IT share that and other infrastructure.

“We are currently not seeing the AV systems run over an existing network because of the network demands that AV requires,” Lofredo said. “However, the IT and AV networks are being run in parallel and cohabit in the same backbone pathways and server rooms. Over the next few years, as IT departments deploy gigabit backbone systems, we will most likely see a harmonic convergence where AV and IT are all run on the same network.”

It’s important to ensure that sharing infrastructure doesn’t make AV vulnerable to eavesdropping or create a back door into IT systems.

“It is critical to keep data secure, whether it’s streaming video or sensitive data that is on the courthouse’s network,” said AJ Shelat, Hall Research vice president of sales. “As AV has evolved, so has IT, and they each have the tools to share the physical space and keep sensitive data secure.”

“While the AV systems may be managed and maintained by someone who is highly trained and experienced, depending on budgets, it is often likely that the user of the system will have only basic training to use the system efficiently in order to get the job done,” said Hall Research’s Shelat. “Whether it is the bailiff or someone else, the responsible person in the room already has a core job, and controlling the AV routing is just an added responsibility they are charged with."

One reason for limited training is money. “In a world where everyone is trying to cut their budgets, there are an increasing number of those responsible for these systems that have not been properly trained in AV,” said Patrick Herlihy, Media Vision USA senior product manager.! “This makes it incumbent upon us as AV professionals to ensure that the technology we bring to the table is designed and integrated to be as user-friendly and intuitive as possible.”

When comparing vendors and integrators for an AV or IT project, another thing to look for is their ability to train staff on newly installed systems.

“Proper training for basic features and operation should be a major consideration,” Shelat said. “We have seen the knowledge level vary considerably from one facility to another, but also from one bailiff to another. It is the job of the dealer and/or installer to provide adequate documentation and training for each installation.”

“Judges have told us that trials that would have taken a week or longer now only take days due to the ability to share evidence with the jury, judge, witness, and counsel simultaneously or selectively," said AJ Shelat, Hall Research vice president of sales. “For example, before there were highresolution document cameras and monitors in front of the jurors, they would spend a lot of time just passing evidence material between the jurors, not to mention everyone else involved.

Reducing the time in which trials can take place has a huge impact on the average per-trial cost and should be taken into account when assessing the ROI.”

Monday, February 18, 2013

George Washington University's School of Business Presents the Latest Video Wall Technology

The George Washington University enhanced its School of Business with a new state-of-the-art audio visual system. The plan was to create an impressive showpiece in the facility's atrium lobby. Supported by GWU Associate Craig Linebaugh and the Academic Technologies Department's Assistance Vice President, PB Garrett, Robert Hines, Manager for AT Support Services explained, "The Business School atrium is a collaborative environment, a common area for students as well as the passing public. The university wanted a high impact display system that would engage students and passersby in the University venue."

The George Washington University School of Business showpiece lobby captivates students and public viewers with its two multi-screen video walls powered by RGB Spectrum's MediaWall® processors.

To devise a captivating display system, the University enlisted the services of audio/video technology integration specialists, The Whitlock Group, in Alexandria, Virginia. According to Randy Stewart, Director of Engineering for The Whitlock Group, "The objective was to create a versatile display medium that could present an extensive variety of live and pre-recorded video as well as computer-generated visuals. The design team conceived of two video walls comprised of 2 x 2 displays. RGB Spectrum's MediaWall controller was selected as the video wall processor. The MediaWall was an easy choice. It delivers the full capability and real time performance the project required at a lower cost than other systems."

Content on the two video walls is dynamic and varied, designed to be informative and entertaining. Viewers can watch television news, sporting events, financial information, closed circuit university broadcasts, pre-recorded videos, and information on University curriculum, events, activities, and programs.

The MediaWall processors support up to six video and six computer sources. Video sources include high definition and standard video over-the-air television broadcasts, HD DVD players, and VCRs. Computer inputs include PowerPoint presentations, digital signage, and video teleconferencing.

Each MediaWall controller merges the visuals and outputs them to four Clarity Margay 50-inch rear-projection displays at their native 1280 x 720 pixel resolution. Up to twelve separate images can be displayed on each video wall simultaneously. Any image can also be displayed across the entire wall.

Operators use an AMX touch screen controller to remotely select content for viewing and display configurations. The MediaWall provides limitless display alternatives, giving operators complete flexibility to create any arrangement desired. Pre-programmed display arrangements can be implemented at the touch of a button. The MediaWall processors allow operators to choose image sources, resize, move, zoom, and pan images with click and drag simplicity. Features include custom borders, window titling, on-screen digital clock, and colored and shaded backgrounds.

Stewart concluded, "The MediaWall system operates 24/7. It is a rock solid, reliable product. Its combination of exceptional performance, signal versatility, expandability, ease of use, and low price point make MediaWall the best value in the video wall market."

Hines commented, "The MediaWall system is indeed impressive. The system has received rave reviews from visitors and students. Image quality is superb."

Casio LampFree Projectors

Casio LampFree™ Projectors use a Hybrid Laser/Led Light Source that lasts up to 20,000 Hours,Giving You Crisp Clear Images and Rich Colors for years of maintenance free operation.

Up until now, any projector brighter than 2000 lumens has required a high pressure mercury lamp. Casio has announced what it says is the world’s first data projectors capable of delivering up to 4000 lumens in a well lit room that tick the green box by doing away with the use of mercury.

The Green Slim projectors light source uses blue light emitted by a blue laser, green light converted from blue laser light using a fluorescent element, and light emitted by a red LED through a DLP chip. The resulting light means a room no longer needs to be darkened for data projection, with Casio stating that the hybrid LED, laser and fluorescent light source improves the purity of color compared to traditional mercury lamps.

Maximum brightness is possible in eight seconds, with no cool down required, and an auto-correct function does away with vertical distortion should the projector be nudged. Energy efficiency is big on the agenda with Casio promoting the life of the lightsource to be approximately 20,000 hours – almost ten times that of conventional Casio projectors