When specialty tax consulting agency McGuire Sponsel initiated a recent office renovation and expansion at its headquarters in Indianapolis’ Capital Center complex, company leadership decided it was the right time to upgrade their audio and video equipment to improve meeting and conferencing experiences.
Working with local communications integration firm Chrismin Communications, McGuire Sponsel chose to integrate ClearOne solutions including the BMA 360- Beamforming Microphone Array Ceiling Tile, Unite 200 12x zoom PTZ video camera, and CONVERGE 2 Pro DSP. These innovative solutions combine to elevate the company’s meetings and collaboration capabilities through enhanced audio clarity, rejection of reverb and noise, camera tracking, and a clutter-free room aesthetic.
“Our initial involvement with this project focused on upgrading the existing data infrastructure and office expansion, and once on site, discussions with the owners quickly identified videoconferencing as a sore spot in daily operations,” said Chris Freeman, president of Chrismin Communications. “As a longtime ClearOne dealer and proponent, I knew ClearOne’s flagship BMA 360 microphone and Unite 200 camera would deliver vastly improved audio and video performance while adding valuable special features that simplify running a meeting and ensure consistent clarity, even in busy or dynamic meeting environments.”
McGuire Sponsel’s main conference room had existing AV equipment that was showing its age and had become troublesome to operate, discouraging use and causing frequent interruptions. The revamped space with a full ClearOne conferencing solution now offers employees simple, reliable operations and vastly improved audio and video quality. One of the client’s specific challenges was that the pickup pattern of their existing microphones was too wide, so passing fire trucks from a nearby firehouse would frequently interrupt meetings. Since installing the BMA 360 with noise and echo cancellation, the company says external noise pickup is minimized and meeting hosts can breeze through presentations or discussions without worrying about interruptions.
The main conference room system also includes four 6-inch in-ceiling speakers to ensure every participant can hear clearly. In order to optimize the simplicity and functionality of meetings, Chrismin Communications wisely chose to specify the ClearOne CONVERGE Pro 2 48VT DSP, which enables integration with VoiP audio services so the ClearOne microphone audio can be routed to McGuire Sponsel’s familiar VoiP service. The room includes a control system as well, and the integrator added a wireless tablet to provide fast access and control of all the room’s equipment.
For ultimate convenience, the integrator also installed a ClearOne Bluetooth Wall Panel that allows any user to instantly connect their mobile device or laptop to the room’s audio equipment and enjoy superior sound quality through whichever mobile collaboration platform is utilized. The Bluetooth pairing name for the room can be customized for quick selection and assurance.
The BMA 360 is a powerful beamforming microphone array that uses over 100 MEMS microphones to achieve stunning accuracy, range, pickup quality and differentiation. It’s designed to look like a traditional ceiling tile and blend into drop-ceilings, making it an aesthetically pleasing solution that can be easily integrated into almost any space without impacting the feel of the room. With the option to use power over ethernet (PoE), P-link cables that can connect multiple BMA 360s up to 200 feet apart, and the included onboard 15-Watt amplifier enabling speakers to connect directly to the ceiling tile, installation can be greatly simplified.
“They also wanted to eliminate as much tech and wire clutter as possible, which included keyboards, computer mice and a tangle of cables under the table,” Freeman added. “So, we added wireless PC peripherals, housed the PC inside the leg of the new conference table, eliminated all visible wires and installed the ClearOne app on the tablet to enable instant meeting setup and use of ClearOne’s free COLLABORATE Space video conferencing and meeting platform.”
Chrismin Communications also used ClearOne gear to outfit a second, slightly smaller meeting space, dubbed the War Room. The room’s technology includes a ClearOne BMA CT, like the BMA 360, along with a controller that enables BYOD connections, so anyone can plug in their laptop via USB. A Unite 50 4K ePTZ camera provides excellent coverage, quality, and remote control, while two, 4-inch in-ceiling speakers ensure audio playback is legible throughout the room. A Bluetooth Wall Panel adds instant connectivity for audio meetings, offering the same setup and capabilities as the main conference room.
Both the main conference room and the War Room include a flat panel television that connects with the room’s system. ClearOne’s equipment is compatible with all major online collaboration platforms including Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Google Meet and COLLABORATE Space.
“All other concerns aside, the greatest need for this client was superior audio performance, both in terms of microphone pickup and speaker playback, so that all parties in all locations can hear speakers and discussions clearly”, Freeman said. “The BMA 360’s innovative technology and design delivers up to 20 decibels of extra gain boost before feedback compared to omni-directional mics, can accurately identify and track the location of a moving speaker, and combines with tracking cameras to provide automated meeting capture without requiring a human to control angles or zooms.”