Technology: Lync Room System

We just installed the new Lync Room System (LRS) by Smart Technologies. It has generated a buzz of excitement among our customers. Since installation last week, we have had multiple customers request to come in and get a demonstration of it.

What is the Lync Room System (LRS)?

The Lync Room System (LRS) is a video/audio/content conferencing system powered by Microsoft Lync 2013.

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The Lync Room System (LRS) is made by variety of companies. Ours at the Irvine MTC is made by Smart Technologies. It comes in a variety of size configurations (see here). Our LRS consists of two 70” Smart touch screens with side mounted speakers, Smart’s Wide Angle Camera, two table microphones, and table touch panel.

clip_image004 clip_image006 clip_image008 clip_image010

What makes Lync Room System special?

Simple, Easy Meeting Join:

  • Our research has found that customers struggle with joining video conferences and on average spend the first 5-10 minutes of meeting time working to join the conference.
  • With Lync Room System, users can join the conference with one-click.
  • When scheduling a meeting, users add the meeting room to their meeting invitation.
  • At the time of their meeting, the screen shows a calendar of meetings for the day. The user can touch the screen or the touch panel on the table and the system will join them to their meeting.

clip_image012 (Meeting Room Calendar on the Screen)

clip_image014 (Meeting Room Calendar on the Touchpanel)

clip_image016 (LRS during a Meeting. Presentation shown on left and video shown on right)

Audio/Video and Collaboration:

  • Traditional conferencing systems enable video/audio conferencing. Document/Content collaboration is handled through a separate channel.
  • Lync Room System enables the audio/video conferencing as well as content collaboration.
  • Users can collaborate on content (documents, spreadsheets, presentations), draw on virtual whiteboard, and additional meeting tools (such as taking polls).
  • The entire session can be recorded, saved, and mailed out to participants, or posted on a SharePoint site.

Broad Attendee Access

  • Traditional video conferencing requires each participant to be in a room equipped with the video conferencing system.
  • With Lync Room System, meeting attendees can join from a variety of devices such as:
    • Windows PC’s, Windows Surface, and Windows Phones
    • Apple Macs, IPads, and IPhones
    • Android Phones
    • Web browser for customers, partners, and suppliers outside your company
    • And integrates with existing video conferencing systems

How Does Work (the Technology Behind the Screens)?

  • Behind the screens, a small Windows 7 embedded appliance drives the system.
  • You will need regular 110v power connections as well as network connection.
  • IT will need to create an account on Microsoft Exchange for the conference room and also Lync enable that account.
  • The system operates in two modes: a user mode and an admin mode.
  • The system starts by default in user mode.
  • In User Mode, I walk-through the screens below.

clip_image018 This is the Start Screen on the table top control panel that shows the meetings for the day. When users schedule meetings for the room, they appear on this timeline view. I clicked the meeting in blue and it takes me to the following screen.

clip_image020 Here I can select Content to show on the screen. At the bottom, I have controls to: Stop Video, Hold Call, Mute Room, Speaker Off, Adjust Volume, Dial Pad, New Whiteboard, E-mail Whiteboard, or Leave Meeting.

clip_image022 The next option on the left is the Participants option. Here I can: Invite more people or Mute Audience.

clip_image024 The next option on the left is the Display option. Here I can: Change the Screen Views and turn on/off Room Video preview.

clip_image026 The next option is IM. Here you can type IMs to the folks in the meeting.

clip_image028 On the screen, users can also control the presentation content

clip_image030 They can move forward and backward through the slides through a pop-up menu on the bottom left.

clip_image032 If you hit the up arrow button, an additional menu appears that allows users to annotate the slides, create a new whiteboard, enable media, shift through different content, stop presenting, and leave the meeting.

  • To switch to admin mode, go to the Touch Panel. Under Options > Settings, enter the local admin account/password to reboot the system into admin mode.
  • Once in admin mode, you can configure the system. For example in Admin mode, you set the Lync Account that the system uses.
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