TERENA – Lecture Recording Competition #Glowplus #EDUScotICT

Earlier this year I was involved in facilicating participation in the TERENA Lecture Recording competition which took place at their annual conference.  The conference took place in Reykjavik, Iceland.  The purpose of the competition was to allow different lecture recording tools to be showcased and compared.

A number of people ( 16 ) were invited to present a short lecture in a lecture theatre in sequence.  A video camera captures the lecturer, a microphone captures the lecture audio and a video feed was provided of the lecturer’s power point presentation – all of this was organised by the event organiser.  The signals were split and each lecture recording solution combined them to provide the finished product.

Cisco has a lecture recording solution which consists of a number of its products working together as follows.

Using a Cisco C60 video CODEC which takes the three inputs provided and combines them for transmission and recording on a Telepresence Content Server (TCS).

Cisco MXE – Media Exerience Engine which converts the video into a number of formats which can be configured in advance.

Cisco Show & Share – a video portal where the finished product can be viewed via a computer web browser or hand held device.

The recording solution is cloud based – in this case the back end equipment which include the Telepresence Content Server (TCS), MXE and Show and Share Server are all based at a Cisco Lab in Cisco’s campus at San Jose, California.

So the video stream needs to traverse the Internet to get from the CODEC at the lecture theatre to the TCS at San Jose.  The event lasted just over an hour with 16 short lectures being delivered on a variety of topics.

The recording is started by an operator at the lecture theatre connecting the codec to the TCS in San Jose ( this is a one button press operation). After the last lecture is finished the call is dropped and the recorded video is passed to the MXE for transcoding, then on to the Show and Share Server for publication and viewing.  This process takes approximately the same time as the duration of the recording.  A second task is automatically done by the MXE – this is called Pulse Analytics – which scans the audio track to create a voice print for each speaker and then to create a key word index of the spoken words this adds a further period of processing time.  In all it takes 2 times the duration of the recording before it will appear on the Show and Share server.

At this point it is worth having a look at the end product.
(Note that there is no need to do any video editing to get to this point.  But you will see in this version some spalsh screens which I added to introduce each speaker and their topic – I did this using iMovie on my laptop.  The colour coded time line on the video and the keyword index are all created automatically.)

Now take a look at the end product by following this link – takes a moment to load – be patient 😉

Click here to view the video on the Show and Share Portal.

Notice that you can click on a speaker name in the speaker list to jump to a particular speaker and then click on the key word index to jump to occurrences of that word in the recording of this speaker lecture.  If you select a particular speaker first you can see that the key work index shows the key words used by that lecturer.

Can you imagine how  a tool like this could be used in Education!!!!  Lecturers/Teachers can record their lessons so pupils/students can view them again  – or even view them before attending class!!  See my post on the Flipped Classroom.


Working in Dubai today

I am working in the Cisco Dubai office today again. Since there are no meetings planned I have taken residence at a “virtual desk” which is actually a real desk which is setup for visiting workers. I will be working here all day and then heading for the airport for my flight back to the UK which is scheduled to depart at 2.40am local time ;-(

Hopefully, I will be able to sleep on the plane and arrive in the UK fairly refreshed. I then land at Gatwick then after a short break I fly onward to Aberdeen and home. I am expecting that there will still be some snow around in Kemnay when I get back 😉 The following picture shows the view from the office window here – not surprisingly we look out on a building site – an all too common sight in Dubai.

Remote performance

Just had to blog this – it is an excellent demonstration of how new technology can be used in novel ways. Here we see Cisco’s Telepresence being used to facilitate a performance where the orchestra is in the room and the singers are in a remote location. Bear in mind that the singers need to hear the orchestra and see the conductor in real time for this to work!!! With previous Video Conferencing there is always a lag in the video and voice being transmitted from point A to Point B which would make this sort of live performance impossible!

The Event Organisers

I have been very impressed with the commitment of the staff who have arranged the New Hire Field Training course I am attending this week. There are three girls who seem to have worked tirelessly to ensure that all the events have run to time and without hitch! Just wanted to take the opportunity to acknowledge their contribution.

When I first applied to join the course I exchanged a few emails with this lady – it was good to meet her face to face and experience her exuberant personality 😉 This picture seems to express her larger than life presence!!!

Here are the other two during a quiet moment during the lunch break.

First impressions of the new work environment

Today is the last day of my first week of emploment with Cisco. It has been an interesting week featuring trips to the Cisco office at Bedfont Lakes and also Northern Ireland to participate in an Executive Briefing for a visiting group from Belarus.

I have to confess that I am feeling a bit overwelmed at the moment with the sheer quantity of new information that I am having to absorbe. It was good to be able to travel with my good collegue John Connell for this first experience of the ‘Cisco Way’!

First impressions are good with no shortage of helpful people to assist a new start.

I have now made my travel arrangements for next week which will involved a full week of internation travel. Baku on Monday and Tuesday followed by Warsaw on Thursday and Friday.

To sum-up – exciting, unfamiliar, interesting, intimidating, supported.

I was able to see for the first time the NI parlament building – and it is a very imposing building to say the least. Here is a photo I took just before we left a school which we had visited to see the C2K managed service in action.

Also a close up taken during a brief stop of on the way back to Belfast City Airport.

Last time I visited Northern Ireland I wrote about it in my blog see here – It was good to see this grand building and to see the evidence of new development and regeneration which is now common all over Belfast as the government takes forward its agenda for the future.