160+ SHARP Interactive Touchscreen-equipped Zoom rooms into Sydney Uni.
The City Road entrance to the University of Sydney has been transformed by a pair of new buildings, facing each other across a contemporary urban square. The Administration building and its neighbouring Life, Earth and Environmental Sciences building don’t just look stunning on the outside, they house some radical new ideas in audiovisual design powered by Sharp Interactive Touchscreen Monitors.
Ringed around the stunning central atrium of the administration building are a series of elegant meeting rooms that represent a truly new paradigm in collaboration technology. Central to the experience in each space is a Sharp Interactive Touchscreen which powers up automatically to display the user interface, based on the Zoom platform. To present, users simply tap an icon on the Sharp Touchscreen and then connect their device wirelessly to the Zoom meetings server by following the instructions on screen.
Everything’s integrated into the solution. There are no cables and it doesn’t matter what device someone brings into the space – iOS or Android, iPad, Mac or PC. So long as it connects to the internet, the Zoom solution can place it seamlessly on screen to be viewed and annotated.
Two-way or multi-way videoconferencing is just as easy. Tap another icon on the Sharp panel to start a videoconference session. Depending on the room size, each Sharp Interactive Touchscreen is paired with a Logitech MeetUp or a Yamaha sound bar.
Jordan Catling, Associate Director for Client Technology at the University of Sydney, explained the rationale: “The consumer market has really influenced the expectations of technology people are bringing to the University,” he observed. “We strive to make engagement with our technology something that feels natural and responsive. That’s why we’ve been focusing on ensuring the touch experience that people have is familiar – like the experience they get with their personal devices.”
Previous large touchscreens have not been popular with the academic community due to latency issues. “With really bright academics, their minds are going at 1000 miles per hour and the technology just wasn’t keeping up with them,” Jordan noted. “The new Sharp displays have really reduced latency so now the technology works as fast as the academic, and annotation is as seamless as using a whiteboard or a chalkboard.”
“The other big distinction is that traditional touch displays allowed just a single input,” Jordan continued. “With these displays having 10 points of touch and simultaneous use we can have problem-based learning where multiple students use the devices effectively at the same time. The touch input is very reliable and consistent. So it creates a really good experience for our staff and students.”
So far, more than 160 of the Sharp-equipped Zoom Rooms have been deployed across the university but the applications for the interactive monitors don’t end there. More Sharp panels are installed as huddle room boards (the capacitive-huddle board TC1 series), whiteboards and relay screens in the magnificent teaching laboratories of the new science building across the square.
“A particular benefit in the Sharp displays is the anti-glare coating,” Jordan observed. “Natural light and really strong overhead lighting are particularly important in the scientific disciplines. With the integrated coating, the viewing angles of these displays are really good so we’re able to use them in a lot more situations.” (Photo: Dylan Esguerra) ⎨
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