EdTech Planning Group
N E W S L E T T E R Volume 2 Issue 4
Greetings!
 
Welcome to this edition of EdTech Planning Group's Newsletter.

Video teleconferencing can be accomplished in a variety of settings ranging from, on-the-go,  using  a laptop computer with a video cam, to a full scale telepresence room with high resolution, lifesize images of remote participants.  In this issue of our Newsletter, we explore the creation of high end meeting/presentation/ video teleconferencing facility that can meet a wide range of user requirements in the academic and corporate environment.
 
Often times, a dedicated video teleconferencing facility is underutilized, because it has limited flexibility, and cannot be easily used for different of meetings or numbers of participants.  In this illustration, we show how a room can be created for local as well as remote collaboration, for seminars, departmental meetings, collaboration with other institutions, etc.   

Questions or comments?  Please email me at mleiboff@edtechpg.com
 
Michael David Leiboff
 
 
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EdTech Planning Group is an educational technology and facilities planning consultancy, working primarily with colleges and universities around the United States.
 
Phone 914.613.3303
 
 
The Perfect
Video Teleconferencing
Room
 
Video TC Rom 
 
The room shown in the accompanying pictures provides an excellent case study on the right way to design a VTC room. The room architecture, integrated equipment, furniture arrangement, and infrastructure all work together to accommodate a wide variety of meeting types.
 
How is the room typically used? In ways that may not immediately be obvious: 
  • A standard meeting space for about 14 people seated at a conference table.
  • An audio teleconferencing room typically used for meetings of about 3-6 people or more.
  • A sophisticated collaboration conference room for 2 or more local participants, to use laptops to brain storm a presentation, review a budget, prepare a grant proposal, etc.
  • An advanced presentation conference room with dual video display capabilities.
  • A computer-enhanced collaboration facility typically used by two or more participants, combining audio and computer conferencing, to work with remotely located parties on a project or have a meeting.
  • A video teleconferencing-equipped conference room, used by a few as one or as many as 10-25 people, to have a meeting. 
There are a number of characteristics about the room which should be noted.
 
Room Size & Shape 
           
The room is sized to accommodate an equipment storage area (about five feet in depth) behind the front display wall.  The room has a triangular shape, with the base of the triangle being the wall with monitors.  Though not obvious from the photos, there is a fair amount of space behind the seat at the narrow portion of the table.  This area is used for additional "on camera" peanut gallery seating when necessary, to accommodate larger numbers of participants.
 
The size of the room accommodates a good amount of circulation around the conference table, which makes long meetings more tolerable, as it invites meeting members to move easily about the room.
 
The Table
 
The unique shape of the table takes into consideration that video teleconferencing meetings often times will involve only one, two, or perhaps three people.  The narrowness of the end of the table allows for a limited number of people to sit closer together, making a better video shot (larger head sizes) than if individuals were more physically separated.
 
The table has a series low profile of microphones embedded within it, which is a better location than if they were ceiling mounted, both for technical acoustic and aesthetic reasons.
 
The table also has several panels which reveal network and power access when necessary, as well as interconnections between table located laptops and the two video displays at the front of the room.
 
It should also be noted that the surface of the table is a light color, which helps reflect light onto the meeting participants' faces, improving how they will look on television.
 
VTC Rm Tabletop
 
Front Wall Configuration 
    
Integrated into the wall at the front of the room are two flat panels, which are used to display output from meeting participants computers, as well as video images from remotely located parties.
 
Utilizing two monitors has some important advantages in terms of simultaneous display: 
  • Images from more than one computer can be viewed.
  • Images from a computer and a video teleconference can be displayed.
  • Images from more than one remote location can be seen.
Also located on the front wall, between the two displays, is a remote control pan/tilt/zoom video camera.  This is the preferred camera location for video teleconferencing, as local individuals viewing the monitors are also looking into the camera, which results in a more pleasing and natural appearance to the remote party.

Overall Room Environment 
 
Mounted in the ceiling are speakers used for program sound, as well as lighting fixtures which focus room lighting primarily in the vicinity of the meeting table.  Extraneous daylight from outside the room is virtually eliminated, during video teleconferences, by using drapery.  When no video origination is involved, plenty of natural light can stream in, and monitor visibility remains excellent.
 
The room has been acoustically treated to minimize excess reverberation (echoes caused by parallel hard surfaces), and the HVAC (air conditioning system) has been designed to be as quiet as possible.
 
Although the space is referred to as "The VTC Room", in truth, it really is a multi functional multi purpose space, and is in use almost every hour of every day.