Understanding Collaboration Needs

needsContinuing from the last post about aligning system design with collaboration needs, start the requirements process with open-ended questions about the customer’s needs:

How do the teams want to collaborate?

While this seems like an obvious question, it can lead to interesting insights into how the system should be designed. Do they want to see the remote participants (impacting screen size, video conferencing, microphone and loudspeaker requirements)? Or, do they just want to hear the remote participants and share data/content to other sites?

Are dedicated conference/meeting rooms even required?  Are multiple conference rooms required?  Are open spaces needed?

Does your customer sometimes have large meetings and sometimes smaller meetings?  This could lead to some split and combined room discussions or desired reuse of a space in ways that may have different audio requirements, such as reinforcement over a larger space. (more…)

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In Audio, Blog

Aligning “System design” with “Collaboration needs”

level_bubble_400x400Every successful AV system, especially any audio or video conferencing and collaboration installation, starts by understanding the customer’s needs.

As collaboration can take many forms from presentation systems to audio and video conferencing to data sharing and collaboration, each new system is an opportunity for the end user to get closer to their long-term strategic collaboration goals – whether that is to video-enable workflows, have seamless data collaboration, enable easy team collaboration, or other objectives.

While end users generally have a good idea of ‘what’ they want to do, they don’t necessarily understand ‘how’ to achieve their objectives. Conversely partners understand the ‘how’ very well, but can’t know the ‘what’ until they discover it from the end user. (See our previous post about the ‘what’ and the ‘how’ as background.)

So how can partners quickly align the ‘what’ and the ‘how’? The best way to do this is to have a formal discovery process/set of interactive and open-ended questions to understand ‘what’ the end user wants to achieve.

Remember, the end-user may be the AV/IT/facilities person who is responsible for the room or may be the line of business owner from whom the budget is coming.

Over the next few posts, we’ll investigate some of the questions, why they should be asked, and how to best use that information.

A some of the questions we’ll consider include:

  • How will your teams collaborate?
  • Is the space reconfigurable?
  • How will local room participants’ audio be heard in the room?
  • If there is remote collaboration, is audio and/or video conferencing required?
  • How important is audio quality?
  • and more!
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Top Mistakes in DSP configuration files

meter_peak_smallAfter nearly 20 years of developing DSP audio products and providing support to partners and internal support teams, we at Aveo Systems have encountered many configuration setting issues with DSP audio systems, especially systems tailored for collaboration applications. Many of these happen frequently, and could cost you time and money to resolve. Here are our top 7 trouble spots and simple tips for resolution:

  1. Input gain settings too low for microphones

If microphone levels are too low, it’s highly likely the automixer will not operate properly resulting in erratic gating (choppiness to the remote participants). In addition, (more…)

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How (What) ≥ Why

how_plot_1441975616_300X220_0_1_FFFFFFAs engineers, we live and thrive by solving problems, because that’s what engineers do. As simple as it may seem, it’s useful to think about three distinct phases of identifying and solving a problem. First there’s the ‘why’. Then there’s the ‘what’. Finally, the ‘how’.

The ‘why’ is the justification for whether you should progress to the ‘what’. ‘Why’ tries to answer whether it is worthwhile to solve this problem. Is the gain worthy of the effort to solve the problem?

Next is the ‘what’. Often the ‘what’ and the ‘how’ are combined together in the discussion with statements such as ‘we could solve it by using x, but that’s expensive’. It’s counter-productive to include (more…)

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If one AEC is good, won’t two AEC’s be better?

Whenever I’m delivering conferencing training sessions, the question ‘if one acoustic echo canceller (AEC) is good, won’t two AEC’s be better?’ is asked.

It’s a good question as it goes to the heart of how acoustic echoes are modeled and how an AEC works. This question typically comes up when installer/designers use an ‘Outer AEC’ such as an audio DSP with AEC from Polycom, ClearOne, Biamp, etc., and connect the DSP system to a video codec that also has an built-in AEC (‘Inner AEC’) as shown in the following figure.

The short answer to the question of whether two AEC’s are better than (more…)

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How Acoustic Echo Cancellers (AEC) Work

Acoustic Echo Cancellers (AEC’s) are integral parts of our teleconferencing systems and are installed every day in conference rooms around the globe. AEC’s are systems that adapt to changes in the room to improve the audio experience for remote participants by preventing echoes of the remote talker’s voice from being sent back to the remote talkers by way of the local talkers loudspeakers and microphones. In this post we’ll explore how AEC’s work and highlight the primary rules to keep in mind when working with AEC systems.
As the remote talker’s audio comes out of the loudspeaker in the local (more…)

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Listening to Acoustic Echo Cancellation

aec_two_roomsThere are many installed products with Acoustic Echo Cancellation (AEC). Are they all the same? How do you you evaluate them? How does an end-user or integrator make a decision?

First, not all AEC based systems are the same principally because not all AEC algorithms are the same. An AEC algorithm for use in conference rooms typically will have been developed by a team with at one or more DSP experts, used in (more…)

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VoIP questions for the IT team

voip_mac_highlightedAs integrators install more VoIP-based solutions, inevitably they will need to interact with their customer’s IT or telecom team during the installation process. To help integrators with the questions to ask, we’ve created a list of relevant questions and information that will (more…)

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Speech codecs in VoIP

quantizationOne of the many advantages of VoIP, and in digital communication technologies in general, is having complete control over the audio quality and fidelity of the transmitted signals. This post summarizes some of the commonly used speech compression techniques in VoIP, provide audio examples, and offers some tips to (more…)

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Digit Maps

telephone_keypad_v2As mentioned in a previous post, there are two ways to dial SIP phone calls: with on-hook dialing and with off-hook dialing. This post will detail the differences and introduce the digit map and digit map timeout.

On-hook dialing

On-hook dialing is the simpler case so we’ll start with (more…)

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