We’ve all had the experience of logging into a videoconference or webinar and being confronted by choppy, frozen, pixilated, or lagging video. We’ve seen it happen at in-person presentations where the display simply wouldn’t cooperate. It’s more than an annoyance: Poor quality video can be a significant contributor to the phenomenon known as video conference fatigue. It’s something that’s top of mind as the hybrid workplace expands with its need for connectivity in nearly every space. According to a June 2022 report from Frost and Sullivan entitled The Future of Hybrid Work—Investment Priorities for the Workplace and Video Conferencing, the top criteria firms are considering when purchasing new videoconferencing gear — of any kind — are reliability, ease of use, and security and compliance, in that order.
Those responses line up with a bigger picture. In fact, the components of a proper solution include:
High fidelity audio,
A high level of security,
A high degree of control, and
Frictionless management and scalability.
Every aspect of real time video solutions — including those that extend beyond “traditional” AV needs — can be delivered by the family of Crestron DM NVX® AV-over-IP solutions.
When Real Time Video is Critical
While dependable video is key to hybrid environments, in other applications such as simulation centers, command and control centers, and esports, high-quality, zero-latency video is an absolute must — anything less could have disastrous implications.
The medical training facility MedtoMarket has deployed real time video solutions in its instructional labs, and with good reason. The training hospital shares video of operations in real time to various displays throughout its building so that large numbers of students can see a given procedure. “Imagine if you’re trying to teach a very delicate surgery,” explains Aaron Ali, M.D., MedtoMarket’s co-founder and CEO. “To be able to distinguish the different tissue layers, the difference between an artery and a vein, what a nerve looks like — if you had not been taught properly, that’s life and death. We can’t have pixelation, we can’t have latency, and we can’t have distortion of color.”
Detail and Performance, Delivered
That kind of detail — delivered instantaneously and in high resolution and accompanied by excellent audio — is key to the success of other applications beyond healthcare. Command-and-control centers that deliver situational info on everything from military operations to disaster monitoring also need these kinds of top-level AV solutions. Simulation centers need this technology as well, as do the venues you’ll find in the rapidly expanding field of esports.
“We’ve seen many, many situations where state-of-the-art AV solutions are absolutely mission-critical,” notes Michael DiBella, Crestron’s Director of Commercial Product Marketing. “Quality audio and video can mean the difference between winning and losing, being properly trained for emergency situations or facing terrible outcomes if the AV is found wanting.”
The Definition of Real Time Video
“Before we begin building a system for a client, it helps to understand the concept completely,” notes Delix Alex, group product manager of DigitalMedia™ technology for Crestron.
The basics: “In real time video applications, participants actively interact either independently or with others, in an actual, live event or one of a virtual or simulated nature,” he explains. “The success of any deployment is measured by the outcome — which is a direct reflection of participant actions, decisions, and overall performance.” Simply put, real time video applications are targeted to help their human users achieve a very specific result, from allowing multiple gamers to impact a virtual environment to guiding first responders in an emergency. Any delay in signal delivery, any glitch, or hiccup can cut reaction times and hinder the decision-making process for users who, by definition, must act quickly. “Milliseconds matter,” says Alex.
The Components of a Real Time Video Solution
“Specifically, we’re talking about real time, full motion video performance that provides an immersive experience for the viewer,” says Alex. “You’ll want a system that can provide incredible image integrity for signals ranging from 1080 to 4K60 4:4:4, seamless multi-source and format switching, very high refresh rates, and extremely low latency and lossless compression, which allows transmission over your existing 1Gb network infrastructure so you can work off of what you already have.”
“You never want to be in a position where you question what you’re looking at,” DiBella adds. “The images must be so crisp and smooth that you can discern small details, such as those Dr. Ali mentioned.”
High Fidelity Audio
“Again, the goal here is to provide an immersive audio experience for every user,” says DiBella, “so that everyone can hear every aspect of their environment in high fidelity.” It’s imperative that the solution provides the clearest sound with the broadest frequency response. “A networked audio distribution system that can provide the lossless transfer of surround sound is the ticket,” he adds. “Gamers need to be able to hear a footfall behind them; students need to hear every bit of nuance and inflection from their instructors.”
“The need here is enterprise-grade security that meets the most aggressive compliance and mitigation standards, providing protection from hacking, pirating, and more,” says Alex. The reasoning behind these stringent measures is obvious for government, military, corporate, and even healthcare applications. CEOs and government officials need solutions that can help safeguard proprietary — or even classified — information. Privacy concerns are absolutely key to any medical deployment.
Piracy protection looms large in esports deployments. “There is a tremendous amount of design and thought put into the programming and configuration of an AV system to ensure performance and the overall experience,” notes DiBella. “It's imperative that the systems are secure from outside threats to maintain the integrity of the design.”
Solutions such as Crestron’s DM NVX® AV-over-IP technology can meet the challenge. Andy Jones, a Crestron customer who’s the director of digital technologies for the Fishtech Group, weighs in: “As a leader in cyber security, it was important for us to have technology that met government standards, and that’s why we chose DM NVX.”
High Degree of Control
“Seamless, intuitive user control over the entire environment — not just displays, but every aspect of the system that’s delivering the solution — creates the best conditions for higher productivity and success,” says DiBella. When an individual user can walk into a room and control every aspect of the technology from a single touch panel — lighting, shading, climate, unified communication, everything — that drives the optimum outcome. “The last thing anyone needs is having to troubleshoot tech or figure out an interface in, say, a command-and-control center managing an emergency situation,” says Alex.
There’s another benefit here, too, according to DiBella: “Additionally, the easier it is to install, connect, and deploy, the happier your IT department will be.”
Frictionless Management and Scalability
“A system that’s giving you constant updates, letting you know what aspects need attention, is really beneficial,” says DiBella. “Does one element need a firmware update? Is a device in danger of failing? This info’s critical to keeping your system up and running.” And if you need to scale up that solution, that technology has to evolve as your needs change, the enterprise grows, and so on. Dr. George Claffey, CIO of Central Connecticut State University, knows all about the flexibility his campus needs: “Crestron DM NVX keeps our esports facility agile and nimble to support an environment that can be used competitively, recreationally, or academically while truly establishing a place of inclusivity for our students.” USC’s Raj Singh, responsible for on-campus AV and IT design and engineering, agrees: "When we looked at Crestron DM NVX, the quality of signal, the consistency, the fact that it's able to maintain that without any issues or problems was key for us.”
The Growth of Real Time Video
DiBella, Alex (and many others in this field) believe that as consumers become more dependent on the ability to interact — and react — in real time with content and data, these applications will expand dramatically. “The experiences we have in these larger and more advanced applications like simulation centers and esports venues will soon drive our expectations in more common applications like meeting spaces, video walls, digital signage, and classrooms,” says DiBella.
“We've just lived through a similar shift,” adds Alex. Before COVID, video conferencing wasn’t a ‘must-have’ in every space. Now, we entirely rely on it for almost every aspect of our professional lives in a hybrid world.
“The features real time video applications offer will soon mold our expectations for virtually every AV application we use."
Interested in learning more? Find more info on real time video here.