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  • 09/15/2022

    After our first post highlighting how AV in the classroom has changed over the past decade, our AV in education experts delve deeper into key trends in their regions. Beyond being an excellent comparison, it is interesting to note that even within a region, different countries can have very different experiences.

    Insights and experiences shared by:

    What are the latest trends for AV in education in your region?

    Sefi Aharon, Global Education Market

    From a global level, I can already tell you that we teach and learn differently in each country.

    It's hard to determine which is the most advanced and active at adopting AV in education. However, I can say that AV costs are lower in APAC countries like Singapore, Thailand, and Japan, where there's a lot of competition between manufacturers, which helps with adoption. Plus, there's more openness to technology. As a result, you'll find classrooms equipped with interactive flat panels, which are considered very expensive elsewhere. In contrast, in India and Israel, there's a lot more use of less-expensive equipment such as projectors and large displays.

    In China, you need to have products that are made in China, so that impacts what technology is used there.

    In the US, everything is big. A single district may require a rollout for 12,000 classes that uses the same solution. So even with what we'd think of as a small and simple solution – like one or two products per class – the number of classes makes it a big project. The needs are kept fairly basic to accommodate the scale, without "fancy" technology.

    In the US, higher education has its differences. For Ivy League universities, being at the front end of technology is part of building their reputation and a way to draw students, and they have the budgets to do this.

    Those are just a few examples, of course. What's important to remember in our role in the AV industry is that each country has its own specifications, requirements, and even terminology, and we need to be accommodating to that.

    Marc A. Remond, Asia Pacific

    After two years of attending classes virtually, many students are back on campus, but many others still attend classes remotely. So, the most significant trend is the hybrid classroom. Particularly in Asia, we have many international students who have yet to obtain their student visas to go and study in Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, or even Australia.

    In addition, many institutes want to attract international students to join their virtual education programs because it's easier to increase enrollment by opening more hybrid classes or virtual programs to students from any country worldwide.

    This is particularly true for local business schools, which need to compete against business schools worldwide that offer MBAs online. And one of the ways to do this is by investing in technology to create competitive differentiation. That means business schools tend to be the first ones to try new things and offer new services, not only to MBA students but also to their corporate clients in executive education and leadership development programs, which are pretty lucrative.

    China is a very different market because a university in China is like a small city. There can be 100,000 students on campus – with 20, 30, or even 50 buildings that are part of the same campus. Just the size of the campus dictates the adoption of AVoIP at the highest possible speed today. And it's all based on 10-gigabit Ethernet networks to carry audio and visual signals from one building to another.

    In terms of technology investment, Australia is a very large market. Every school spends money on technology. People understand how it can contribute to the learning and teaching experience from K to 12, all the way to university.

    Kristen Garner, US

    Each state has its government in the United States, which makes for many differences across the country, including how new AV solutions are rolled out and how quickly students return after COVID. Some states have much larger budgets devoted to education, which also impacts trends.

    One trend I've noticed is a lot of small broadcast studio-type spaces, which makes sense. If a faculty member is delivering content almost exclusively remotely, they only need a small space, maybe with a whiteboard. They don't necessarily need to take up the entire classroom that seats 30 students. With a smaller footprint, they can deliver the content much more intimately.

    Another exciting trend is related to the opportunity to extend some of the teaching spaces. Maybe you're teaching one class at one school, but you need to reach students at another school. In America, we have this big spread between metropolitan areas that are densely populated and highly remote, lightly populated rural areas where students don't have the same access.

    There's also a noticeable trend for AV adoption in professional development. Each district seems to be including administrative spaces devoted to professional development. They are outfitting those spaces with equipment to accommodate things like group learning and small workshops in a way that incorporates different learning styles while facilitating discussion.

    Also, some exciting things happen between schools and the communities around them. For example, I'm seeing a lot of K-12 schools and smaller community colleges create beautiful culinary programs that are more community-facing than just a general classroom. And for that, they need technology like 4K cameras, streaming, and fast switching.

    Bharath Kumar, UK

    We talk about universities, colleges, and schools as education customers in the UK. But one interesting customer I had was the National Health Service (NHS), which has an extensive education department that needs to stay on top of new medicines and treatments. To do this, during lockdowns, one NHS hospital in Liverpool upgraded its operating theaters to send feeds to learning hubs both in the hospital and across the UK and abroad. To me, it's been interesting seeing how AV technology improves not only the teaching environment but also the global medical community.

    London, in particular, has seen a big AV boom. It's always had the latest technologies in education because it's such a densely populated area, but during the lockdowns, we found almost every university within London implementing distance learning. So, a student can virtually be in class without actually being there. Plus, it's interactive, so they can share work and content, and also edit content, with the solutions we provide. And that has spread beyond London, too, though to a lesser extent.

    Jared Walley, Australia

    In Australia, there's been a strong trend toward using AV to enhance flexibility in education, especially in terms of content creation and recording. We're giving the students far more flexibility now in being able to watch their content from home and then attend tutorials and things afterward.

    Also, in general, Australia is working to increase accessibility and inclusiveness in education. This includes integrating accessible lecterns and tables in learning spaces for wheelchairs or other mobility tools. And in AV, we're addressing it with solutions for the visually and hearing impaired.

    For example, we're now working towards getting audio onto the network with standards such as AES67 for better accessibility in hearing augmentation. As we move forward, I expect even more significant accessibility improvements. For example, using students' personal devices for hearing augmentation, rather than relying on universities carrying large managed fleets of headsets.

    Kirti Shetti, India

    Initially, the AV trend in India was primarily focused on higher education, where technology adoption was faster. But K-12 learning is also very important here, with a strong emphasis on meeting primary educational needs.

    The current education system in India understands the need for having a very specialized skill set to move away from repetitive, low-skilled jobs to different professions. So, a huge push to adopt curricula for the new skillset and adapt to new technologies requires making this happen in education spaces. From an AV perspective, that means deploying products, collaborative classrooms, immersive learning, smart classrooms, and hybrid spaces. Technology is increasing educational opportunities here, and the level of education is improving in turn.

    Nir Elizov, Israel

    The education system in Israel is very large, but there's a severe teacher shortage. With Zoom, for example, you can have one teacher in three different classes simultaneously. The goal of the technology is to give the ability to reach more students.

    Another trend is that schools are starting to be led by younger, technically savvy principals. Their thinking is different, changing the general attitude towards AV and helping increase its adoption.

    In terms of differences, for example, Tel Aviv has about 1,500 junior high classes, and each has the same Kramer VIA solution. Teachers and students can bring any device to the room and connect to the screen, using the same system in the same way. Also, the teachers often teach in multiple schools around Tel Aviv, and it doesn't matter what classroom they go into. It's the same system which makes it easier on them.

    Stay tuned for the next post, with a sneak peek into the future, as our education AV experts share their visions for the class of 2030.

    About the Meet Kramer Audio-Visual Education Experts Series

    This series of blogs is dedicated to sharing insights from Kramer's experts in AV for education. In these posts, we discuss how the educational experience is evolving and inspiring AV innovation and excellence in K-12 and higher education worldwide.

  • 08/25/2022

    Welcome to our new blog series featuring Kramer's experts in education. To kick it off, we're sharing reflections from the regions on how AV in the classroom has changed over the past decade and how those changes are playing out today. Some of the insights surprised even us.

    Insights and experiences shared by:

    What would you say have been the most impactful changes in AV for education over the past decade and continuing today?

    Marc Remond, Asia Pacific: I would say there's been an evolution, both in technology and the market. Right now, we're at the junction where pro AV solutions are moving from hardware to software, from on-prem to cloud-based, and from AVSM to more AV over IP.

    To explain a bit more, I underwent two transformations before joining Kramer. The first was when voice technology moved from analog and digital-based to IP. The second transformation I witnessed was in the video conferencing world, when video conferencing moved from hardware to software, from on-premises equipment to cloud-based. And that is now changing the way schools are buying AV technology.

    Bharat Kerai, UK: Being in AV, we used to get challenged by IT departments on how we manage this or how we install that. But at my first ISE show in 2020, just before COVID lockdowns hit, we were talking about AV over IT. This mindset shift was already flowing through education, but I think COVID-19 was the catalyst for it to take off here. Now, because AV is considered part of the IT department, it speeds up the process of designing, managing, and implementing spaces. So, AV moving into IT has opened up many doors and set minds at ease, especially with IT management.

    That has facilitated another significant change; the desire of educators to share teaching materials with students in the classroom and also when they're working from home if they have COVID or if there's a lockdown. So it's about sharing and collaboration. This is what education wants. We've been doing it for years, with a blackboard, with a whiteboard in the classroom. But now we need interactivity; if someone has work to show, they can show it, and then we can edit it together. Having real-life collaboration is what education establishments want now, another significant change we're seeing.

    Jared Walley, Australia: I've been in the audio-visual industry for about 25 years, including almost five years in the AV and eSolutions teams at Deakin University. So, it's been good to see that audio-visual is becoming mission critical in recent years. Years ago, the mindset was that you needed a little bit of AV in the room, such as a projector; but a lot of importance was not necessarily held to it. Now that is reversed, and AV is seen as being just as critical as having the network up and running.

    I certainly think the most impactful and immediate change has been brought on by COVID, particularly in Australia, where we had an almost instant removal of significant numbers of overseas students, and everybody had to work and learn from home and remotely. And then, there was the challenge of delivering the technology in such a short time span that would allow all that. That's been incredible, and we're seeing that trend continue now. Many leading universities here have been making massive changes in their audio-visual fleets. We see a lot of Teams and Zoom-based installations where we wouldn't have seen that; rather, we would have seen more traditional audio-visual switching and control.

    Also, as land and property prices go up, it's increasingly critical for on-campus spaces to deliver and utilized. We're increasingly seeing flexible furniture solutions and having to fit AV around that to deliver different teaching types in the same space.

    And importantly, I've found that we're moving more from requirements defined by law and policy into a drive for more accessibility on and off campus. We're seeing growing interest in integrating accessible lecterns and tables and things in the teaching spaces for people in wheelchairs or who are utilizing other tools for mobility.

    Kirti Shetti, India: From a higher education perspective, a significant change has been that educators started realizing a need for more collaboration. It cannot be just one way of teaching. So, the more collaboration, the more the online platforms came into the education space. That was something that revolutionized the way learning was happening in the higher education spaces.

    K-12, however, had the least technology. They were still in the traditional format of education. But I have seen over the years that even government schools understand the need to migrate to digital. Students are probably adopting it faster than the teachers. But I think the analog-digital transformation which happened also ensued in the K-12 schools in India.

    Also, there's a move away from traditional textbook learning. Now, what we see is what we believe in! It's no longer about taking a few notes of what was dictated or discussed in class. Now it's a video played in 4K, a talk from one of the most reputable institutes, or from people who have done something unique in their careers, or technology innovation that you're able to hear and see to get the whole experience. What audio-visual can bring to a student and a classroom cannot be matched. This is something that everyone in the education space in India understands. And they have been very forthcoming in saying they want this in the classroom. It also brings all the experiences out there in the world to the classroom and the students to improve learning.

    Kristen Garner, US: Over the past decade, the technology has changed drastically, and we've gone from an industry-driven technology base and product lineup to more consumer-driven. So what folks are doing in their homes is what they want to experience in the workplace and school.

    Whether it's higher education or even in the K-12 arena, students are experiencing things at home that, even five and ten years ago, they didn't bring into the classroom with them – the knowledge, the ability to voice-control things, and turn on their favorite TV show or their favorite music playlist, those types of things. That's driving what's happening in education right now. It's kind of student-driven. And so we have to examine what's happening at home and try to replicate that to the degree that facilitates education and the transfer of knowledge in a way that's comfortable, not only for the person delivering that information but also for the students who are trying to receive that knowledge.

    Government entities and districts, as well as universities, colleges, and campuses, have recognized that technology in classroom spaces plays a much more significant role than it did five or ten years ago. So, the way they invest and prioritize their AV equipment has also changed within the last decade. Education spaces are completely different from what they were two and three years ago.

    Another significant change I've seen is that many campuses are developing revenue-generating and specialty spaces. They know that the draw will be what technology is available, which also influences how the educational institute invests in AV and what equipment goes into the various spaces. For example, if I'm a corporation or small business and I'm going to rent a space at a school, to hold a team building event or something like that, I need to understand what technology will be available to use. So those are things that schools and campuses look at as well. It brings together an excellent partnership with the community while creating an additional revenue stream. And, as it's recognized as an additional source of funding, this is impacting AV for education too.

    Nir Elizov, Israel: The significant change, of course, came with COVID-19. Even before that, the education market was trying to install the best equipment, so cameras and microphones were already in many schools. But when COVID-19 started, schools struggled with teaching when some children are at home, and some are at school and how to teach in an environment where no more than ten people can sit in the same room. Or how to teach outside in the schoolyard or on the campus lawn. These scenarios were a significant change, and it was an earthquake for AV in education. The entire market changed, as did classroom demands. Suddenly everybody was looking for more cameras and microphones. Everybody was looking for a hybrid. Everybody was buying like crazy.

    It was a new world for us – call it hybrid learning or modular learning. It's part of the Physi-Digi world. And as we're all seeing, hybrid is here to stay.

    There's also been a broader mindset change. Today, city planners, for instance, think about things differently than they did in the past. If they're planning to build a new school, they also plan things like the acoustics and the AV equipment in advance, which makes a big difference in creating effective learning spaces. At the same time, they're also thinking about accessibility for different types of people, which is very important and is something AV technology can help with. For example, adopting things like digital signage or screens outside of the classrooms has been an impactful change that helps in accessibility as well.

    Sefi Aharon, global education market: Education technology has barely changed for most of the past decade. But, in the past three years, there's been a significant change in awareness of the importance of technology as an enabler for teachers to teach and students to engage. There's more openness to it.

    The other thing that has changed, together with the awareness, is funding. In some countries, there was zero spent on education technology for something like years. And because of that, some of the education market was unaware of the types of solutions available. There was no opportunity to invest, so they weren't out there looking and investigating.

    That started changing about three years ago. Money started pouring into education, and schools in some markets were able to do a refresh to equip themselves with whatever they needed.

    A major catalyst was, of course, the pandemic, when the demand for hybrid learning exploded. But it started even before that. In particular, universities were already beginning to put things online and make it possible for students to learn from anywhere.

    This has shifted the way that educators teach. It's not just a frontal lesson or lecture. It's hybrid. Lessons in the auditorium or lecture theater are also live streamed so other faculties and universities can attend. People can learn anywhere and from anywhere. Also, there's more customized learning, with students being able to learn at their own pace. These changes are being both driven by and enabled by technology.

    Now, as we're coming out of the pandemic, budgets will likely be tighter again, but I think there will still be funding for technology because there is now a new standard. You've got to have cameras, microphones, and an easy way to share content and engage across classes and campuses.

    Got a question for one of our Education AV experts? Contact us here, and we'll connect you.

    Stay tuned for the next post in which our education market experts share some interesting trends they see in their respective regions.

    About the "Education Insights" Series

    At Kramer, we're proud to have some of the world's leading specialists in AV for education on our global team of experts. The "Education Insights" series is dedicated to hearing their voices, so we can learn about how the educational experience is evolving, guiding our solutions, and inspiring AV innovation for academic excellence.

  • 07/12/2022

    By Alon Turkaspa

    As people increasingly come back to work in-office and companies rethink their spaces, now is an opportune time to fully embrace one of the biggest (yet technically smaller) trends in offices around the world: the huddle room.

    But to optimize their value, it is essential to understand AV technology's role in encouraging huddle room use, promoting meaningful communication, and getting things done.

    What are huddle rooms anyhow?

    Over the years, the way we do business in offices has changed. While the conference room will never disappear, big meetings around a big table are rarer than they used to be. We're moving away from rigid work protocols towards flexibility, innovation, remote work and collaboration.

    Sources: Cisco, Wainhouse Research, UC Today

    Small rooms, big advantages 

    As hot desking and open-space work areas become more popular, huddle rooms provide a quiet environment, ideal for a few great minds to come together for a face-to-face discussion or brainstorming session. The fact that huddle rooms tend to be spread throughout the building, close to the teams' workspaces, makes them all the more convenient.

    While they can be scheduled in advance for any meeting, the typically spontaneous, informal nature of huddle room gatherings, with fewer participants, means they are often more focused and therefore shorter – a plus for productivity.

    And, of course, huddle rooms are perfect for remote collaboration and hybrid work.

    Five unique AV demands of hybrid huddle rooms

    The huddle room advantage easily gets lost if people can't see and hear everyone properly. Whether they're in the same room or joining remotely, if they can't follow along, they're going to be bored, contribute less, and maybe lose track of the discussion. For example, according to recent Stanford research, participants were significantly more likely to multitask (32%) when the video camera and microphone were turned off. This tracks with other research on engagement that shows only 4% of people multitask during video meetings as opposed to a full 57% during phone meetings.

    That's why a strong audio AND visual solution is required. And when choosing the right AV solution, it's important to consider these five factors.

    1. It must be very easy to use. Workers need to be able to jump into a huddle room on a whim without calling IT to help them out. Spontaneous collaboration needs to happen automatically, with minimal-to-zero effort involved. Plug and play, enter and go, for first-time users and repeat collaborators alike.
    2. The AV solution absolutely must support BYOD (bring your own device) with connectivity for mobile phones, tablets, and laptops. But more than that, the BYOD experience must be plug & play, with a platform-agnostic AV set up so that Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Webex, and others are all supported.
    3. Everybody must be heard and seen to make a meeting more effective. Cameras, microphones, speakers, and displays are needed to pick up on (and show) all participants, both in the room and connected remotely, while minimizing background noise.
    4.  Cost-effectiveness is vital, particularly due to the large number of rooms that will be outfitted. That means a relatively low acquisition cost (without compromising on quality), easy installation, and minimal demands on the IT infrastructure.
    5. And of course, an inherently secured setup that follows the security policies and requirements of the organization is a must.

    The requisite AV equipment to make the magic happen

    Those five requirements apply to all collaborative workspaces, but the needs of huddle rooms are somewhat unique. They're smaller spaces, and the technology needs to match.

    For example, a smart camera with a wide panoramic view that is quickly installed and doesn't take up much space is ideal for capturing the entire field of view. This ensures people sitting close to the camera and on the sides of the room are seen equally well.

    A compact omnidirectional speakerphone with 360° pickup is helpful where additional audio coverage is needed to ensure all meeting participants are clearly heard, especially by those joining remotely.

    Or an all-in-one video and audio communication bar combining microphones, speakers, and video camera is another option, offering the added benefits of saving space and reducing cable clutter in small rooms.

    In a nutshell

    In reality, huddle rooms have become an integral part of any modern workspace, a must-have for productive interactions and meetings, whether scheduled or impromptu. Because many or most of these interactions are hybrid, a user-friendly, space-appropriate AV solution is a fundamental enabler for meaningful collaborations.

    Alon Turkaspa is Director of Enterprise Markets Development at Kramer Electronics Ltd.

    Additional sources: Stanford University & Microsoft, The Muse

  • 05/30/2022

    By Menachem Vinokur & Barak Ben Or

    Remember when the way TV content arrived in our living rooms changed from broadcast to streaming over the internet? It’s hard to pinpoint a date because it has been an evolving and continuing trend. Interestingly, it makes for an excellent comparison with what’s happening now in the AV market in terms of speed of adaptation, reach, and popularity of AVoIP.

    While many assume newer is better, a quick comparison between the two mediums – leaning on what we’ve learned from TV – suggests that while AVoIP is growing and impacting our life, it’s not eliminating the need or desire for traditional AV.

    The evolution of TV streaming

    It turns out video did not entirely kill the radio star, nor did streaming put an end to cable, satellite, or over-the-air TV.

    Despite steadily increasing access to streaming, traditional TV still holds the lead. For example, recent Nielson datashows that streaming accounts for 26% of consumption in the US, while broadcast and cable TV account for 64% and other content like VOD and gaming account for the remaining 10%. Additionally, while it is estimated that 65% of Americans are still paying for cable TV, according to recent consumer research, 78% of all US households pay for a streaming service – suggesting that many subscribe to both.

    Clearly, despite the incredible convenience of on-demand viewing, virtually unlimited program selection, and wide choice of viewing devices, traditional TV is still holding its own against TV streaming. That’s because broadcast still has advantages like familiarity, stable prices, and no strain on the family’s internet bandwidth.

    Three lessons we can learn for the AVoIP market

    The AVoIP market of today echoes the TV market of a few years ago, and we can expect it to evolve similarly in several respects.

    At this point, AVoIP has comfortably moved out of the early adaption stage and is now a rapidly growing market, particularly for mature organizations and large installations in government, education, and enterprise.

    This means exciting times for AVoIP, with three key lessons from the TV market that apply:

    1. Traditional is good, but new technology has advantages – While traditional Pro AV will remain relevant for the foreseeable future, AVoIP has distinct advantages. These include flexibility and scalability, how quickly it can be deployed, the ability to support hundreds of endpoints, network security, remote support, and more. Plus, it doesn’t need special infrastructure and reduces the total cost of ownership, especially in large installations.

      Recently introduced standards enable more connected smart devices, cloud-based services, and mobile devices. This is placing increasing demand on IT network bandwidth, requiring them to evolve to support the load from AV applications.
    1. Existing equipment is (just) part of the equation – Leveraging existing investments is always a consideration, but it is also important to consider the current use-cases and future plans. If there is good equipment or infrastructure already in place and the company is not looking to expand, then traditional AV can be a good choice. Where growth and new, hybrid use cases are anticipated, or the site is an entirely new build, AVoIP is the preferred choice due to its scalability and flexibility. This includes site expansions, such as additional buildings on a campus or new floors added to an office space.
    1. The two technologies will continue to co-exist – It’s not AVoIP or bust. The shift is happening, but in the enterprise AV market there is room for both AV and AVoIP, and there will be for many years to come. In fact, like most of us watch TV on more than one platform, in many cases, both AV and AVoIP will work together harmoniously, each filling their unique roles.

    Bottom line, traditional AV still has uses, but the move to AVoIP has many advantages. For it to become the standard, however, AV and IT departments must change their mindset and work together to ensure the best solution is chosen for the long haul.

    The question then is: how do you see AVoIP fitting in?

    Menachem Vinokur is Senior Product Line Manager at Kramer, leading the AVoIP HW / SW product line for mission-critical applications. 

  • 04/27/2022

    By Sefi Aharon

    Everyone’s talking about the “new normal” these days. It’s quickly becoming a tired phrase. But like it or hate it, it is the best way to describe our world right now. So bear with me…


    The emergence of hybrid learning – A short timeline

    In education, the “new normal” is not so new. It’s been with us in changing forms since the very first days of the pandemic. And it emerged pretty quickly, driven by need.

    • 2020 – For the first time, remote learning became the standard for education, even for very young children. Hybrid learning followed, in different formats, as schools with different policies and technologies ironed things out.
    • 2021 – The hybrid model took hold in a whole new way. Some days (or even just lessons like art or math) had some kids in the classroom, and some at home. On other days (or lessons), everyone was remote, or everyone was in person. And it constantly switched back and forth.
    • 2022 – More kids are returning to the classroom, but it’s not a total return. Having tasted the freedom of hybrid learning and its inherent flexibility, many educators and students want it to stay in some form or another. Hybrid is here to stay. And it keeps getting better!

    Lessons in learning throughout the pandemic

    So what did we learn over the past two years?

    A few interesting facts

    • ~ 1.5 billion students worldwide were affected by shutdowns
    • 75% of US schools plan to continue distance learning
    • But just 49% of professors currently support it
    • While 40% of students say e-learning is more helpful than in-person learning

    In addition, we met Gen H – a direct answer to the pandemic, resulting in the largest cohort of users of hybrid solutions and services. Unlike Gen X, Y, and Z, Gen H is not an age thing. It’s a state of mind and a global megatrend that is here to stay. Teach and learn from home and onsite; learn from anywhere with any device. We are all part of it in some way.

    Digitized content and online learning

    Video used to be king when addressing the education market for the AV industry, with projectors in each classroom. Then, once hybrid learning kicked in, audio took the throne, with the addition of microphones and speakers. Now it’s content that reigns supreme. That’s the distinct challenge of our times.

    Students don’t just want to hear or see the content. They want to experience it. That means “being” in the same space as equals – even when it’s a virtual space. No more talking to a blank screen, never seeing feedback on people’s faces. No more viewing classmates in little boxes on a monitor or cell phone screen. Instead, imagine a space that feels like 3D, even if it’s not, where it looks like everyone is sitting in the same room, even if they’re actually in different locations.

    Sound futuristic? It’s really not.

    Just think, less than ten years ago, we were predicting that AV would be integrated with the IT network. And that’s undoubtedly gaining steam with the advent of solutions that make it easy and secure to connect AV systems to their IT network.

    Perhaps even more incredibly, just three years ago, we were still arguing about the efficacy and desirability of BYOD (bring your own device) learning environments. Now there’s no question. BYOD is a must, and AV solutions increasingly support that.

    So it is with hybrid too. Schools and universities already using or planning spaces with multiple cameras, speakers, and display screens have laid the groundwork. The next step will be to design learning spaces with an enhanced hybrid experience in mind – which is already happening.

    What’s next for education spaces?

    It’s an exciting time, and there’s infinite potential as to where hybrid learning might lead. With all that’s occurred in just two years, imagine what the new normal for classrooms will look like ten years from now! I have some ideas, and we at Kramer are working on them.

    What do you think? When it comes to education, what’s the new frontier?


  • 02/09/2022

    Learn how you can easily turn any room into a collaborative meeting space.

    By Joel Zand

    As large companies continue making hybrid work the new norm, IT managers face a challenging set of responsibilities.  They play a pivotal role in that ensuring global end users are included and connected, regardless of their physical location.

    That means paying careful attention to technology, training, and culture. This article focuses on how technology helps IT managers transform their organizations’ meeting spaces into wireless collaboration zones, with minimal effort, while maintaining the highest security standards.

    The Challenge of Managing Many Hybrid Meetings

    How can one IT department manage many meetings – often 50 or more, along with corresponding technology – when employees are physically everywhere: the office, at home, in transit, and halfway across the globe? 

    How can they configure, manage, and deploy secure digital meetings when their enterprise’s employees are spread across multiple times zones and work environments, using different computers and mobile devices? 

    If you are an IT leader, you have probably faced these challenges. Here are tips on how to solve them.

    Bridging the Physi-Digi World

    Fortunately, there are wireless hybrid work devices that let teams do just that. With advanced hardware and software, these solutions enable IT managers to turn any room into a secure, collaborative space in this new ‘physi-digi’ world. Today, companies prioritize letting employees wirelessly engage, share, and collaborate effectively in hybrid work settings. Anywhere, from any device, over major videoconference platforms like Zoom® and Teams®.

    A Mission-Critical Role in our Hybrid World

    IT managers benefit from dependable hybrid work solutions so that their colleagues have infinite ways to engage from any device, from any location, using industry-leading videoconferencing platforms. Companies and colleagues rely upon IT departments to provide simple, secure, and reliable hybrid meeting rooms. It’s critical to resolve these issues efficiently and effectively.

    Organizations seek proven hybrid work solutions that are incredibly advanced, while configuring and managing them should be trouble-free. Cloud-based tools that can seamlessly manage and control 50 or more hybrid meeting room devices from a single location are valuable.

    Having flexible, open architecture makes access from the leading desktop and mobile operating systems a reality. Enabling employees to easily bring their own devices (BYOD) over major videoconferencing platforms (e.g., Zoom® and Teams®) is essential. So is calendar integration with Office365® and Google Calendar™.  Empowering employees with these tools also helps reduce IT department bandwidth.

    Hybrid work environments should offer wireless flexibility, security, and enable AV collaboration with colleagues anywhere from any device.
    Hybrid work technology should be seamless, secure, and reliable.

    Security First

    Every IT leader takes security very seriously, preventing cyber-threats and securing information is always a top priority. This should, of course, be the case when evaluating a wireless hybrid video conferencing solution for your organization.

    Having multiple layers of security, including 1024-bit end to end encryption, 802.1x authentication and dynamic room codes, enables IT managers to provide employee and guest access in an enterprise environment, without any security holes.

    Making IT for Hybrid Work Easy

    Employees want simple, quick wireless connectivity and reliable tools for effective collaboration. How often have they complained about meetings starting 10-15 minutes late because nothing worked at the start? Colleagues get frustrated wasting time searching for the right Wi-Fi network or cable for a monitor, camera, or sound system, and a single controller to manage them?

    Presenting and collaborating via 4K from the office or remotely is essential for high-quality streaming and content sharing that businesses and their clients expect. From video, diagrams, illustrations to high-resolution photos, 4K offers hybrid meeting attendees an outstanding experience. That is why having the flexibility to share 4K either wirelessly or using hard-wired, auto-switching is an asset.

    Equally important is wireless connectivity for in-room presentations over AirPlay® and Miracast®, as well as having wired options for peripherals and a screen. Companies rely upon IT managers to select dependable hardware and software for employee productivity in any setting. In today’s hybrid world, this is a mission-critical task.

    Control Room Peripherals for a Better User Experience

    Office meeting rooms and corporate huddle spaces have wired HDMI monitors and related USB peripherals (e.g., cameras, microphones, projectors). Deploying technology that lets employees connect to and control these room peripherals provides in-office and remote attendees a better user experience.

    Colleagues should be sure to keep one another in the loop about when they may be temporarily unavailable. Good calendaring is a must. During the evening or weekends, responsible employees will put in the time for such a quid pro quo arrangement.

    This benevolent paternalism has boundaries, of course. If you’re a night owl, but your teammates prefer to sleep, it’s not a great idea to schedule 1:00 a.m. early-morning strategy sessions.

    VIA Connect2 for Hybrid Meeting Rooms

    Kramer’s VIA Connect2 enables IT managers to exceed their organizations’ hybrid work needs by turning any room into a secure, collaborative space. This makes it ideal for the companies that incorporate flexible, inclusive work environments, prioritize security, and want effective collaboration and presentation tools.

    Hybrid work isn’t going away, so it’s critical for companies and their IT leaders to support employee productivity wherever their workers are. To seamlessly configure and deploy 50 or more meeting rooms into hybrid, collaborative workspaces, a cloud-based management solution is invaluable. Discover how to easily and securely deploy and manage your company’s hybrid work environment with VIA Connect2 today.

  • 01/25/2022

    By Ornit Sade-Benkin, VP Marketing

    With the beginning of the New Year, I am reminded of our world’s incredible transformation through two years of pandemic. The borders between where we work and learn have changed dramatically, blurring in some cases, and all-but-disappearing in others.


    Working in the office is no longer the default; today we work from home, during our commute, while traveling and wherever we can. Schools and universities now teach far beyond the physical classroom, offering hybrid and blended learning settings to students at home, on campus or any other location where they have internet access.


    That means collaborative and inclusive online environments are now the norm as we’ve adapted to a new physi-digi (physical-digital) world. With the accompanying rapid advances in technology these changes are unstoppable. But where is it all going?


    At Kramer, we’ve identified four megatrends related to this transformation that we believe will impact dramatically all of us in 2022 at work, school and across our communities.


    1. An increasingly hybrid world

    Today, we are all part of ‘Gen H,’ the Hybrid Generation. We’ve become accustomed to switching back and forth between working in offices or learning in classrooms and doing so from home. Offsite is the new onsite. What brought us here is the combination of rapid digital innovation and the need for flexible, faster and safer ways to communicate, collaborate, work and learn during the pandemic.


    The speed at which we’ve integrated and adapted to our new hybrid environments is astounding. Yet, challenges remain. How can companies help employees stay focused in hybrid meetings? Will schoolteachers and university professors be able to focus on teaching without dealing with technical issues?


    The Pro AV industry had already developed hybrid technologies years before the pandemic arrived, but the need for intuitive and more seamless hybrid solutions persists. As such, it is our responsibility to continue innovating for Gen H by listening to users’ challenges, insights and suggestions.


    Bill Gates recently shared his thoughts on our new hybrid world:

    “The pandemic has revolutionized how companies think about productivity and presence in the workplace. The boundaries between once-discrete areas of work — brainstorming, team meetings, casual conversations in the hallway — are collapsing.”


    I couldn’t agree more, but we still have work to do. How can we ensure that hybrid meeting attendees and students learning online feel included? That their voices are heard, and faces seen, no matter where they are?


    Born of insight and propelled by necessity, in many ways our hybrid world is only just getting started. 

    2. Always-On collaboration

    Collaboration is a fundamental part of our work and school lives. ‘Always-on’ means that technologies supporting our collaborations must always and immediately be available whenever we need them.


    But more than simply available, communicating and collaborating should be intuitive and easy, supported anytime, anywhere, via any device.


    While the solutions exist, questions remain in terms of the user experience. Can teachers use existing in-room screens, whiteboards and in-class AV peripherals to create inviting learning experiences for students in the classroom and at home? If an organization holds dozens or thousands of meetings a day, how can the IT department manage them easily and securely?


    In an era when we constantly stream and consume content in our professional and personal lives, we now expect technologies supporting these advances to always work and be available whenever we need them. The need for always-on collaboration at work and school in 2022 will increase the need for effective and secure solutions. 

    3. Seamless technology

    Challenges remain for seamless integration between platforms, preventing connection ‘hiccups,’ and having all technologies work well together. We expect technology to work without a glitch. But have you ever tried talking on Zoom or Teams, without realizing you were on mute? I expect we’ve all done it. This is a perfect example of the challenges we regularly face.


    For many of us, hybrid and remote interactions make up most of our daily communication, yet somehow, they still don’t feel natural. We spend too much time and energy operating helpful communication solutions, rather than simply engaging and collaborating with one another. This makes us frustrated and tired.


    Meeting rooms should offer complete, holistic approaches for starting, managing, and finalizing meetings. They should be seamless. The standard should be ‘zero-click’ meetings, and I am sure that we will be there soon.


    It’s about much more than automation. I‘m talking about AI-based solutions that help you prepare, execute and summarize meetings with your team. A seamless experience without the need for advanced training, complex company policies or troubleshooting audio and video malfunctions.


    I know, for example, that many educators are begging for better and more natural solutions for teaching a mix of in-class and remote students. Hybrid classrooms should allow teachers to show a mechanical model or math formula remotely on the whiteboard with the same ease and effectiveness as if the teacher and students were all together in the same room. Every teacher (and student) should have a seamless experience that facilitates engagement and learning wherever they are.


    4. Mission-critical communication

    We’re currently seeing a surge in demand for mission-critical communication.


    These days, everything is connected, monitored and centrally managed. And with the rise of Industry 4.0, it’s expected there will be 30 billion IOT-connected devices by 2025. The ability to effectively analyze and forecast machine performance, infrastructure needs, healthcare services, transportation and manufacturing demands will be extremely dependent on our ability to control and monitor these operations.


    Our need to control solutions that are up and running 24/7/365 will give rise to more command and control centers, all requiring mission-critical communication.


    In such control centers, operators and managers cannot afford any delay or loss of information when handling any type of content or data. In many cases, the consequences could be tragic.


    The Pro AV industry will continue focusing on secure AVoIP and cloud-based solutions. The ability of these technologies to help organizations rapidly scale, safeguard and deliver mission-critical communication to any endpoint is a significant advantage.

    What does this all mean going forward?

    While those four trends are by far the biggest AV megatrends of 2022, I believe they will ultimately have a more significant impact in the coming years.


    Public health concerns will continue affecting education, private enterprises, non-profit organizations and governments for the foreseeable future. Even more significant is the cultural shift already underway. Employers now understand that many employees prefer hybrid work models, and that some workers would even consider leaving their job if their employer did not have hybrid solutions in place.


    Our hybrid world and technologies that support it are not going to disappear. The advances are already here, and they will only improve quickly and radically. Yet even with the best hybrid technologies, challenges remain, and we will continue to address them by providing innovative, customer-focused solutions. That’s our part. But I’m curious what you think.


    How do we create technologically advanced and inclusive environments for participants regardless of whether they’re at home, in the office, in class or traveling, and regardless of the device they are using?


  • 10/25/2021

    By Sefi Aharon

    When it comes to K-12 education, there is consensus on the basics. We all learn to read and write. Plus, there’s science class, gym, some civics studies, and more.
    I always knew that the curriculum differs from country to country. But the more I traveled around the world, the more I learned that there is another substantial distinction between education systems that I had never thought of before –who the classroom belongs to.

    Teachers vs. kids – Who moves around? 

    Having grown up in Israel, it seemed obvious to me that kids stay in the same room all day, while teachers circulate between the classrooms. The same model is widely used in many countries across the globe: Australia, India, Germany, and China. That is why I was surprised to learn that things are done differently in other places. For example, teachers stay in their permanent room in the US, and students come to them

    How it works

    In places where teachers move around, they must bring all their resources and equipment with them. It is not just about having their pens and teaching notes in hand. In today’s increasingly technologically empowered classrooms, teachers must use various electronic devices and systems to share their content and allow students to share their own. Due to the new normal, teachers also need to accommodate a hybrid learning environment – with some students in-room, and others participating remotely.

    Teachers’ main challenges 

    Busy teachers have enough to deal with: planning lessons, marking students’ work, conveying information, imparting skills, and discipline. They are simply too short of time to juggle multiple operating systems and struggle to connect different devices in the first 15 minutes of every class.

    How we can help

    When planning the installation of AV technology in an educational space, it is vital to accommodate teachers’ needs. While speaking with educators, I realized that what teachers are really looking for is to simplify the process of operating technology in every classroom, whether they stay in place or move around. No hassles, no complications.

    Based on my observations, three key takeaways can contribute to streamlining the technology in any given school:

    1. Maximize automation: Enabling teachers to press just one button to get all the technology working for them saves time and irritation at the beginning of every class.

    2. Offer BYOD (bring your own device) functionality: Making it possible for teachers to use their own familiar devices such as tablets, laptops and cellphones makes both lesson planning and delivery easier.

    3. Provide remote troubleshooting and management of the spaces: Ensuring a smooth and continuous teaching environment is essential for efficiency, as well as peace of mind.

    In other words, the goal really is to make a tech-enabled space the teacher’s best friend!

    To summarize, the question ‘Who does the classroom belongs to’ has a significant impact on its management. Streamlining technology is critical to empowering teachers, whether they teach in the same room all day or move around.


    Now I am curious how this works in your country or school.

    Please share your thoughts below.

  • 09/30/2021

    By Joel Zand

    Welcome to “Gen H,” the Hybrid Generation. Hybrid work environments are the new normal, and they aren’t likely to go away. When “horseless carriages” (i.e., cars) entered the world, Thomas Edison concluded that “the horse is doomed.” That didn’t exactly happen, but auto technology couldn’t be de-invented. Similarly, hybrid work environments won’t replace the office, but they’re here to stay in our 'Physi-Digi' (physical-digital) world. Consider these five tips to help you adapt and work effectively in Gen H.

    1. Be Flexible

    These evolving hybrid settings are transforming our understanding of work. Adapting to this change requires being flexible enough to recognize the delicate balance between our professional and personal lives.

    Your colleagues have diverse backgrounds, ages, demographics, and responsibilities in and out of work. Suddenly, you probably know more than you ever thought possible about the personal lives of your boss or employees you manage. They have children attending school from home, noisy roommates, attention-seeking pets, spouses or partners under the same roof, or are passionate country music fans.

    Be flexible and empathetic in this evolving new reality. A little respect is more than likely to be reciprocated many times over.

    2. Work Wirelessly

    Working with colleagues and clients in a hybrid environment is simple if you can wirelessly engage and collaborate. A recent survey of US and UK-based IT managers and executives found that 63% of companies prioritize adopting collaborative solutions for their hybrid workforce.

    Enterprises need security and flexibility for their teams to collaborate wirelessly. In Generation H, this means the ability to work with anyone, anywhere, from any device, via any videoconference platform.

    High-speed internet, dependable Wi-Fi, as well as dependable notebooks and mobile devices are essential. For IT managers, this also means deploying secure, easy-to-manage, and reliable hardware solutions like Kramer’s VIA Connect2 to bring colleagues and clients together in a click.

    3. Communicate

    Seamless communication with videoconferences and voice calls is critical for hybrid collaboration. You want to prevent "a failure to communicate" among colleagues, whether they work in the office, at home, or halfway around the world.

    A decent noise-reducing microphone and headset or earbuds can help your communication stay focused. Check the settings of your videoconference software to reduce background noise for others in hybrid meetings.

    But remote work doesn’t mean giving up your company’s culture and congeniality. Hold virtual coffee breaks, ring a virtual gong to celebrate the latest sale, or hold a virtual meet-my-pet session with your team. Keep those conversations going!

    4. Respect Time and Boundaries

    In Gen H, work isn’t usually a 9-to-5 job. Hybrid environments offer the flexibility for a teammate to take her dog for a walk, help his kids with schoolwork, or run an errand at the corner supermarket. Of course, everyone still accounts for their time, but companies are devoting even more attention to their employees’ well-being in their personal lives in exchange for loyalty and appreciation.

    Colleagues should be sure to keep one another in the loop about when they may be temporarily unavailable. Good calendaring is a must. During the evening or weekends, responsible employees will put in the time for such a quid pro quo arrangement.

    This benevolent paternalism has boundaries, of course. If you’re a night owl, but your teammates prefer to sleep, it’s not a great idea to schedule 1:00 a.m. early-morning strategy sessions.

    5. Get Stuff Done

    A key objective in every hybrid work environment is collaborating effectively to get stuff done and do your job well. Being entrusted with freedom and flexibility is never an excuse to ignore your work.

    Even law firms know that lawyers are motivated by having a collaborative hybrid work environment letting them work from home. But they also know that attorneys have obligations to their clients. Failing to meet deadlines or get the job done has consequences.

    If you need help managing your hybrid work, ask for it. Organizations know that helping employees collaborate wirelessly and well — from any location, from any device, and with industry-leading videoconference platforms — is essential to every enterprise’s productivity and bottom line.

  • 06/29/2021

    Kramer is proud that AV/IT industry publisher Commercial Integrator recognized three of our Pro AV products with 2021 BEST Awards (Best Electronic Systems Technologies).

    Our award-winning products received honors in three categories from judges in these system integrator awards. Let’s take a look.

    KDS-10 | BEST IP Enabling Device

    Kramer’s high-performance, KDS-10 4K@60 dual-streaming transceiver features both H.264 and H.265 video codecs to extend 4K@60Hz (4:4:4) AV streams. It offers dual-streaming at 4K@60HZ (4:2:0) and a standard 1G LAN or WAN network interface.

    The KDS-10 empowers user applications in the education, digital signage, military, healthcare, and government markets. Learn more about KDS-10

    VS-34FD – BEST Matrix Switcher

    Kramer’s VS-34FD is the first modular 8K multi-format digital matrix switcher to bring true interoperability and next-generation flexibility for meeting rooms, lecture theatres, and presentation suites. 

    With 34 interchangeable I/O ports across 17 card slots, the VS-34FD’s multi-format modular matrix design offers unparalleled versatility with a modular and easy-to-configure platform for switching an enormous variety of AV signals, including HDMI™, HDBaseT, VGA, SDI, as well as analog and digital audio.

    Offering flexible infrastructure conversion, the VS-34FD has Kramer Core™ technology that enables copper or twisted pair cables to be used simultaneously, according to input/output module selection. It provides quick and efficient enterprise network management with the Kramer Network platform. Learn more about VS-34FD

    KIT-400 – BEST Video Scaler

    Kramer’s KIT-400 is the first high−performance 4K auto−switcher and video scaler kit of its kind. The combination transmitter and receiver reinvented how collaboration technology set-ups are configured in presentation environments, delivering instant and professional results. Spaces can be completely automated through Kramer’s Maestro Room Automation, saving meeting prep time and minimizing human error before presentations.

    The KIT-400 transforms the way integrators present professional-quality video signals. Its video signal extension ranges up to 40m (130ft) over CAT copper cables at up to 4K@60Hz (4:2:0) resolution, and even further reach for lower HD video resolutions. It’s easy to install and simple to connect, saving time and removing unnecessary complexity, cables, and content-scaling challenges.  Learn more about KIT-400

     These award-winning AVoIP, video scaler, and matrix switcher products are another reason why Kramer, for 40 years, remains a partner trusted by system integrators in more than 100 countries worldwide.  Our innovation, research, development, collaboration, and customer service put Kramer at the forefront of the Pro AV IT industry.