AV Technology: What is your job at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center?
Rem Remington: I'm in the "Desktop Support/IT" department, and my primary responsibility is video teleconferencing (VTC). We have five Polycom systems available for our customers, and last year we had 410 videoconferences. Two of the machines are configured to be portable.
What role does AV play in the day-to-day operations at Center?
We do regional videoconferences five times a week with approximately 100 participants in attendance, and connect with seven other institutions in the region via multicasting.
Is AV content transmitted over a dedicated network?
No. We investigated this, and our IT department determined that it was easier for the Center to just let AV ride on the main circuitry. The tests we performed trying to "see" my bandwidth impact on our network were surprising to the Voice and Data Operations team. When I powered up the VTC running at maximum, they could not even "see" a blip in the sniffers when we connected up.
The IT team then set up firewall policies around the AV equipment on the network, including static IP addresses with anti-tampering and firewall control for each of my VTC machines on every sub-net in the center, so I have the freedom to move my VTC machine as needed. Considering we need to comply with patient privacy laws, our IT security department keeps a close watch on the AV equipment, and so far we have remained fully secure.
What are some of your organization's biggest concerns about using AV systems?
New and coming on the scene for us is video streaming, and a hurdle to that is the digital asset management. We produce a ton of information. Managing and storing it, as well as controlling its distribution, are being studied at this time.
One important concern is the quality of the image from projectors. My scientists are exceptionally particular regarding color reproduction, clarity, and contrast. We view clinical slides, pathology stains, radiographs, 3-D imaging, and DNA analysis, as well as electron microscopy and a myriad of other data produced in color gradients. We only accept equipment that is accurate in color reproduction.