With physical distancing and airline travel still challenging, many organisations have been forced to host their meetings in a hybrid style. Hoping to improve the hybrid meeting experience for on-site and remote participants, Sandra Whitaker, IT coordinator at the NSW Nurses & Midwives Association (NMA), sought out specialist audio visual supplier Congress Rental Australia to provide a hybrid meeting solution that could boost engagement. Congress Rental assisted them by integrating an automatic camera solution with their desktop microphone system.
Before implementing the automatic camera system, the NMA used a static webcam to stream the video to Zoom. They had already implemented desktop microphones for higher audio quality. Still, they wanted a video solution that could both improve the interactivity and image quality for remote participants and integrate with their existing desktop microphone system.
“Initially, we were using a Sony Handicam plugged into a streaming device. We then added a webcam set up in the corner of the room. Although the Handicam worked well to capture the meetings chair, the webcam was far from ideal to provide remote participants with a view of the other speakers. It didn’t seem very engaging and made it difficult at times for remote delegates to identify the person speaking,” explains Whitaker. “We were looking for an improvement to our overall AV setup when we came across Congress Rental’s automatic camera solution. It immediately stood out to us as something that we needed to try.”
“Congress Rental supplied us with desktop microphones in the past and the expertise and level of service they demonstrated then made them a natural choice when we were searching for a new vision solution,” says Whitaker. “They helped us by guiding us through all of the options available and clearly explaining the benefits and drawbacks of each one.”
Warren Williams, Manager of Administrative Services at the NMA, organised their first meeting using the solution. “Congress Rental was very good in helping us set up the solution so that it was ready for the meeting. Their technicians were very helpful and communicated really clearly to us when we had questions,” says Williams. “The final system is excellent, and I think the meetings we hold now are more interactive and engaging for both our online and on-site delegates.”
“Sandra told us that the participants were tired of the static shot the webcams were giving them, so they were thrilled when we gave them a demo of our automatic cameras,” says Sebastian Ennis, Head of Production at Congress Rental. “Our solution integrated automatic cameras and conference microphones (referred to often as desktop microphones) to create a seamless meeting experience for both the online and on-site delegates. We’ve been using this solution for large scale meetings long before the pandemic hit, so we knew that it would be the right fit for the Nurses & Midwives Association.”
The automatic camera system utilises an Avonic NDI PTZ Camera, integrated with Bosch CCS1000 conference microphones through their browser-based software. The Avonic camera was assigned presets based on microphone position through the Avonic software, and this was integrated into the Bosch software through the local network. This is a simple setup designed for the NMA technical department to manage themselves.
The addition of the automatic cameras allows the Nurses & Midwives Association to capture more of the feeling of being in the room. “The automatic camera was very good at solving that. When people speak into their microphones, remote participants get a clear head and shoulders view of them, accurately and reliably every time” says Williams. “I love that the camera automatically zooms to the person speaking, it’s like having a personal film crew at every meeting. It adds a level of engagement and interactivity that a static camera wouldn’t be able to.”
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