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Telepresence to reduce costs

altThe technology to be installed and the lighting conditions of the space are two of the most important factors to analyze when installing screens in a videoconference and telepresence room.

Richard Santa S.

It is increasingly common for large companies and multinationals to be looking for the optimization of resources to improve profits. In this strategy one of the main options is the reduction of trips, an objective for which they have found a great ally in the audiovisual industry.

Currently, economical, high-quality, versatile and easy-to-use telepresence and videoconferencing solutions are on the market for all people. But this time we will focus on what are the correct screens that are required for a solution of this type, according to the space and available technologies.

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Display manufacturers offer different solutions on the market according to the preferences of the end user and the features that the installer wants to implement. Some of the particularities of these products for a modern room are based on automation and the use of spaces.

Different industry experts, such as Carlos Mendicutti, from Almacenes Audiovisuales, highlight the growth in the installation of these rooms. "Of the 100% of our clients who are Integrators, 70% are related to this type of project. In fact, from a few years to date, the number of companies that are integrating telepresence and videoconferencing systems into their boardrooms is growing rapidly."

For his part, Luis López, of Videonet, added that this type of rooms are becoming an additional tool of the daily communication flow within companies.

He indicated that "this trend is marked by several factors that have made visual communication an important point for companies. On the one hand we have a whole generation that has grown up with video as a means of communication. And on the other hand there are improvements in networks and technological innovations, making the use of videoconferencing increasingly natural and necessary for fast and effective communication between different work teams that are distant. "

Making the job easier
Recently, Almacenes Audiovisuales carried out the installation of a videoconference room for a Mexican company, in which a 70" Sharp monitor, a tandberg codec model SX20, a VGA switcher and a table service plate were used so that the user can connect their laptop and send the signal to the local screen or remote point.

According to Carlos Mendicutti, "the client was very happy since the use of the equipment is not complicated for any user, we only connect our laptop to the service box located on the table, turn on the equipment (screen and codec) and start the videoconference",

The ease of use of these solutions for the end user is one of the fundamental factors when making the decision about a telepresence or videoconferencing room. And at this point technology solutions are of great importance.

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According to Erik Garcia of Elite Screens, the screen characteristics for such a project should be framed in the 16:9 wide format, with regular matte white material that will provide the appropriate projection surface. Likewise, they can be electric, motorized or fixed with projection material of 1.1 gain.

The representative of Audiovisual Warehouses highlights that in the market there are different brands with professional monitors from 42 to 70 inches, designed to work 24 hours a day, Full HD. In addition, electric screens of frontal projection, tensioned, with matt white surface, format 4: 3 and 16: 9.

On this point, Luis López indicated that the screens for telepresence rooms must be of high resolution, minimum 1920 x1080 pixels, long service life, low maintenance costs, wide viewing angle, the minimum possible in the width of the bezel so that when several screens are placed together the separation of the image is minimized.

"Mainly the most used in telepresence rooms are the rear projection cubes, as they gather the best features for this type of adaptation," he added.

Light, fundamental
So that the screens and monitors installed in a telepresence or videoconference room can be used in their optimal conditions, it is necessary to have a correct management of light, both natural and artificial.

Luis López goes further and emphasizes that outside of the right lighting, you must have a correct choice in the color of the walls and even acoustic materials in them, in order to take full advantage of the benefits of video collaboration solutions.

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In addition to light, the rooms must have a matrix switcher, to send several signals to the different monitors in case of having more than two screens and a correct combination of projector and projection screen to make the most of the applications to be used.

Carlos Mendicutti points out that for all functions it is important to have good control, "this can be from a board to wall to a touch panel or an iPad, with which we will be able to control the ignition of the equipment, the sending of both video and audio signal, presets can be generated to select pre-configured environments depending on the light conditions, the number of users, etc., so that the video and audio are set up correctly."

No to ordinary TVs
Whether to save costs, in most cases, or ignorance, one of the most common mistakes when installing a room for a telepresence or videoconference is to install televisions for homes instead of professional monitors or projection screens designed for that purpose.

For the representative of Videonet, "the main mistakes are to use televisions for domestic use and leave in the hands of companies without experience in this type of adaptations, either due to lack of budget or ignorance that there are experienced and certified companies for this type of interventions".

Carlos Mendicutti commented that other common problems are: not selecting the correct size of screen or monitor and the location of it within the room, in the same way not choosing the correct screen or monitor according to the resolution that is intended to handle either full HD or an analog resolution, "fortunately there are equipment, signal scalers, which help us solve these types of problems."

Finally, it should be considered to select the correct screen format and a suitable projection material for the projection requirements.

The three experts agree in pointing out the positive growth expectations of videoconferencing and telepresence room facilities over the coming years, based on ease of implementation, increased interest from end users and the cost of equipment.

The representative of Almacenes Audiovisuales said that "for the coming years it is expected that the number of end users will increase since the costs of these equipment will fall, which makes them more accessible to any company. There are brands that offer a solution with good image quality, multipoint at an affordable cost for any market segment."

Luis López concludes that "the adoption of video collaboration is increasing as these solutions become increasingly easier to use and implement by companies. Users feel more comfortable when they conduct part of their meetings through video conferencing or telepresence as opposed to when they do it only by audio. Expectations for the future are promising as the frequency and costs of travel are dramatically reduced."

Richard Santa, RAVT
Author: Richard Santa, RAVT
Periodista de la Universidad de Antioquia (2010), con experiencia en temas sobre tecnología y economía. Editor de las revistas TVyVideo+Radio y AVI Latinoamérica. Coordinador académico de TecnoTelevisión&Radio.

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