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Author: Paul Gunia, Director of Technology Partnerships - Shure Incorporated
How do you take a 96-year-old company already renowned for its audio technology and continue innovating to add value to the end customer? This is Paul Gunia’s overriding objective and he explains why Shure’s software approach with IntelliMix® Room, now certified for Microsoft Teams on a Crestron UC-C100-T, is the next evolution in the company’s innovation strategy to push the AV industry forward.
“We knew our IntelliMix Room DSP was revolutionary when we launched it in 2020 at ISE,” he says. “It was game changing to completely virtualize the per channel digital signal processing (DSP) needed to integrate in-room audio systems with collaboration platforms, such as Microsoft Teams. Swapping the traditional hardware for IntelliMix Room software suddenly made it possible for businesses to easily scale their meeting and conference rooms with flawless audio without all the hassle of installing a traditional DSP. We knew there was a smarter, more efficient way to use Microsoft Teams in larger spaces.”
Enabling clarity and intelligibility
Gunia is adamant that IntelliMix Room will change how modern conference rooms and meetings are designed. He continues: “Our acoustic echo cancellation (AEC) and noise reduction algorithms are best in class — as you would you expect from a world-class audio company. Our patented automatic mixing technology also ensures the user is benefitting from the superior directionality of our microphones. And because it is software based, everything becomes so much simpler! Room audio is more consistent. Management is more consistent. The whole experience is better, regardless of how many rooms in your enterprise are utilizing our technology.”
For Gunia, IntelliMix Room continues a tradition of pushing the conferencing audio industry forward. “Five years ago, we launched our Microflex® Advance™ array mics that only had network ports — no more analog connectors. It raised eyebrows in the industry. Now, with software-based audio aggregation and processing, we’re leading the way once again.”
End-to-end Microsoft Teams certification
Shure has taken a big leap forward with this pioneering approach in a partnership with Crestron. In an industry first for Microsoft, IntelliMix Room DSP software is Microsoft Teams certified on the Crestron UC-C100-T. Gunia is understandably proud of the teams behind both the technology itself and the journey to accreditation. “This is the first piece of software certified in a Microsoft Teams Room Bundle. Up until now it has all been USB-based connectivity. When we first showed this to the team at Microsoft, they didn’t have a certification to fit it under. It was too different.”
“This is truly game changing. It’s an innovation in our industry supported by the combined powerhouse of Shure, Crestron and, of course, Microsoft Teams."
-- Paul Gunia, Director of Technology Partnerships
This certification wasn’t given lightly, as he explains: “We had to demonstrate the performance of our software. We had to prove the resiliency of the audio and that our CPU load was minimal. We couldn't interfere with other programs or Microsoft's own roadmap for future features. A third-party lab tested its performance before Microsoft themselves used IntelliMix Room in their own conference rooms. Our case was rock solid as we demonstrated the reliability and robustness of the IntelliMix DSP technology. This certification complements our Microflex® Ecosystem mics, and loudspeakers were already certified for Microsoft Teams. We are now thrilled that, with the addition of our DSP software, the whole end-to-end audio signal chain is Microsoft Teams certified — this is hugely important for Shure.”
Partnership built on best-in-breed technologies
Shure’s partnership with Crestron is central to this exciting industry first. Crestron has been a Microsoft partner for more than 15 years and AV integrators rely on the UC-C100-T Crestron Flex integrator kit to bring Microsoft Teams Rooms into custom spaces. It provides them with the essential components needed to build a fully customized video conferencing space, whether for a company-wide annual meeting in the auditorium, for sharing content in the boardroom, or for connecting stakeholders around the world.
Gunia says: “Crestron is one of the biggest and best-known brands in AV. It also has one of the oldest legacies in the broader AV industry, just as Shure has a long-established heritage in world-class audio products. Our microphones and hardware DSPs are already integrated with Crestron products in rooms across the world. And this new Microsoft Teams certification brings our different strengths to the table, offering an innovative and reliable solution to our customers.”
He continues: “Crestron has not focused on the audio side as heavily as Shure over the course of our shared past. And we wanted to partner with a company we knew could take the video conference world forward with us — that’s Crestron. We complement rather than compete against each other's products and technologies. We are also like minded in that we care deeply about the customer and their experience. Both companies have a track record of going the extra mile with service and support for our users.”
Expanding AV use cases
Gunia explains that while the Shure hardware has been installed along with Crestron gear for decades, Shure’s latest certification for IntelliMix Room on Crestron’s UC-C100-T opens up a whole new set of use cases for system integrators to take to their customers. “We have a laser focus on ensuring consistent audio quality in every room to meet mid- to large-size room video conferencing needs and have built our solutions on this. With no DSP hardware required, installs are simpler and faster, while meeting spaces are kept free of the clutter associated with traditional AV racks.
“This is truly game changing,” he adds. “It’s an innovation in our industry supported by the combined powerhouse of Shure, Crestron and, of course, Microsoft Teams. Software-based audio is the future of video conferencing, whether you are deploying it in one room or hundreds. And IntelliMix Room is leading the way to that future.”