BlueRiver® for the Hybrid Campus
24 May 2021 / by Gareth Heywood
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for higher education establishments to adopt hybrid styles of learning, providing the benefits of in-room learning to remote students. The Audio Visual (AV) experience is a major component of this hybrid approach, combined with the flexibility of high performance networks, to deliver the most stimulating and immersive experience for both teaching staff and students. As the world recovers and students go back to school, there may still be the need to reduce class sizes for social distancing purposes, and therefore, “extend” the teaching experience beyond the single classroom, with many students still participating remotely, either from different rooms or from home.
The Hybrid Classroom
The hybrid classroom concept is illustrated in the top left of the diagram below. These classrooms are not only going to have to provide high quality displays for in-room content sharing, but also high quality cameras to provide the remote participants with the best possible view of the classroom, teaching resources and staff. By using high quality cameras, up to 4K resolution, processes like Optical Character Recognition (OCR) can be used to turn what’s written on whiteboards into fully legible text, delivered directly to remote students. Furthermore, interactive whiteboards can be networked so remote students can actually see what’s being written on the board in real time. The goal is to provide those remote students with as close to the same experience as those that are in the classroom itself, providing fully immersive learning by utilizing live video, interactive presentation aids and high quality audio. This is only possible if you start with high quality, high bandwidth sources and capture devices, and maintain this level of quality throughout the AV delivery chain.
The SDVoE™ Hybrid Campus
Similarly, schools need the same hybrid approach in an auditorium or lecture theater, to provide students, both local and remote, with the best possible AV experience. Software defined video over Ethernet (SDVoE™)-based AV installations, powered by Semtech’s BlueRiver® technology, enable stunning interactive presentations using live video on high-end displays and projectors, all connected together on the same cross campus IP network. It’s essential for universities to allow educators to engage with remote students in a way that lets them see facial reactions, or other visual cues that let them know the effectiveness of their teaching practices. This is only possible with multiview display technologies, where multiple video feeds are rendered on a single display – a feature that’s built into BlueRiver.
The Thin Client Study Room
For spaces dedicated to quiet study and research, it’s becoming more and more important that schools provide access to very powerful compute resources, PC’s and servers, but at the same time, keep those rooms quiet and free of unnecessary equipment racks – no noise or heat from PC fans. The concept of thin client workstations is shown in the hybrid campus diagram above, where students just require a display, mouse and keyboard, with remote access to all the powerful machines that are secured in an environmentally controlled remote server room (bottom right of the diagram).
This allows students to study in quiet while still being able to perform intensive research on powerful state-of-the-art remote platforms. Students today expect access to the latest and greatest technology; they expect high performance and that can only be done using 10 Gigabit (10G) networking infrastructure. For efficiency and speed, many areas of research require compute-intensive functions that are best served by 10G networking.
Thin Client Workstation Using SDVoE™
The above diagram shows how simple it is to implement thin client workstations using SDVoE endpoints. The SDVoE transmitter (TX) sends HDMI video from the remote PC, up to 4K resolution, as standard IP traffic over the 10G network, where the SDVoE receiver (RX) subscribes to the networked AV traffic and converts it back to be connected to the workstation display. At the same time, USB data is transferred between the TX and RX, allowing communication between the host PC and remote mouse and keyboard over the network. All this can be managed through simple software control, allowing thin client workstations to be dynamically switched between different computer platforms (for example, Linux or Windows PC’s), depending on the needs of the student.
You can learn more about the power and flexibility of BlueRiver solutions for SDVoE in the webinar, “BlueRiver ASIC: Enabling a New Class of SDVoE Products,” and why key Pro AV verticals such as education require the power and flexibility of SDVoE in the “Spotlight on Key Verticals for BlueRiver” webinar.
Campus Security & Administration
It’s not only teachers and students who require access to powerful and flexible AV infrastructure; AV systems for administration, facilities and security staff can all be hooked into the same network. This provides the administration team with access to and control of dynamic video signage throughout the campus, which can be used to update and direct students in real time. If the location of a class or lecture has to change, that information can be put on displays throughout the campus in real time, so students know where they’re going and get to where they need to be in time.
Similarly, safety and security are very important, especially on large campuses. By giving security staff access to the high quality live video feeds from each room, emergency response teams can be better directed and informed. Security can quickly identify and locate both staff and students in case of emergencies, or simply to track students for roll call.
Why the Hybrid Campus Needs SDVoE™
The key features and benefits of BlueRiver for SDVoE needed for the best performance AV in the hybrid campus are:
Low latency: this is critical to reaction time for interactive learning. Students participating in an interactive test may be required to press a button or click a mouse to answer in a set period of time, so it’s essential that the reaction time of the AV system meets or exceeds the reaction time of the student.
Lossless video performance: students expect cutting edge performance today. Advanced imaging is used in many areas of research requires high bandwidth video. When presenting their research results, students expect to have access to high quality displays, delivered with maximum impact at 4K resolution.
Fiber transmission medium: campus scale deployments are best served by fiber connectivity; it’s essential to meeting the distance requirements between study rooms, lecture theatres and centralized PC/server rooms.
Leveraging existing infrastructure: many universities want to expand on their existing state-of-the-art 10G networking capabilities and fiber optic infrastructure, leveraging them not only for high-speed data networking, but also for AV.
Interoperability: schools can pick the best products from a range of manufacturers, which are unified through common centralized administration and control software; harness the power of a standardized application programming interface (API) for SDVoE.
AV over IP is changing the way we transport content in Pro AV, providing software-defined workflows and greater flexibility, using standard IP-based infrastructure. Only SDVoE, powered by Semtech’s BlueRiver technology, can meet the needs of Pro AV signal distribution across verticals where performance really matters. SDVoE is the only fully interoperable AV over IP standard that delivers pristine visually lossless image quality, up to 4K resolution, with imperceptible latency. Join the growing team of SDVoE adopters today and reap the benefits of a rapidly expanding ecosystem of products and services to enable the next generation of hybrid campuses for education.
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