How Lightware Solved a Problem at Emory University It Didn't Even Know It Had

Lightware solutions help simplify plug-and-play videoconferencing at Emory University School of Medicine.
(Image credit: Lightware)

Nestled within the main Emory University campus in the Druid Hills section of Atlanta, Emory University School of Medicine is home to more than 400 future health professionals. The School of Medicine is ranked among the top institutions for biomedical education, clinical care, and research in the United States. Founded in 1915, the school boasts a diverse team of over 3,000 faculty members working in hospitals, clinics, classrooms, labs, and research centers. 

COVID-19 required the School of Medicine to rethink active collaboration. To meet the School's need, they turned to Lightware, specifically the Taurus UCX to tackle meeting room and collaboration environment challenges. Because the Taurus UCX offers simplified USB-C connectivity for simplified audio, video, power, and seamless connectivity across various video conferencing applications, including Cisco Webex, Microsoft Teams, Zoom and others, it was ideal for Emory’s needs.

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The School of Medicine’s physician faculty provides over five million patient service visits annually. They offer innovative clinical training to residents and fellows in the School of Medicine’s simulation labs and patient-care clinics. The School of Medicine sees rare and complex cases, from children through veterans and underserved populations, and quickly transfers research knowledge to patients in translational clinics. The School of Medicine is centered around active collaboration. 

Faculty physicians continued to keep the public informed during the pandemic–many while treating patients. They could not pause their day-to-day operations. Throughout the pandemic, the School of Medicine had many people coming onsite for simulation labs and patient-care clinics. Due to restrictions surrounding the pandemic, they had to distance themselves socially. The areas were limited to eight people in a 30-foot-square-foot area. It required the School of Medicine to utilize spaces that were not traditionally used as gathering spaces but were large enough to socially distance. 

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“We started utilizing the atriums of buildings because it provided ample space,” explained Jon Hamilton, audiovisual manager for Emory University School of Medicine. “There’s no technology in these spaces–they were never designed to be collaboration spaces, but rather traditional atriums. The atriums are covered in wood paneling that can’t be retrofitted to add technology, so we were required to design a mobile solution.

“We built mobile AV carts but carried it another step further. We wanted to build something that could be wheeled into any space across the School of Medicine’s campus and could be operational within 10 minutes. No matter the setting, we required a solution that was plug-and-play.”

 The faculty at the School of Medicine are both doctors and professors. They do not have time to learn how to operate the technology. The focus must be on medical education rather than learning how to operate the technology. Hamilton, and his team at the School of Medicine, had to provide a solution that was simple to use yet provided flexible features.

“We carefully selected the products for the mobile professional AV cart to create a powerful user experience,” noted Hamilton. “We chose a 65-inch display on a heavy-duty professional AV cart. For connectivity, we decided on a dedicated computer that enabled users to run a Zoom meeting seamlessly. We recognize the growing need for bring-your-own-meeting (BYOM) functionality. While we considered a standard USB cable, it would require users to select the appropriate camera, microphone, and speaker from the computer. It would be a tedious process and require some experience. We wanted to utilize USB-C to streamline the connectivity once users plug in their device.

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“At the time, Lightware was the only company offering a USB-C switcher. I first heard about Lightware’s technology during LAVNCH WEEK. They were highlighting new products. One product that struck my attention and pinned my interest was Lightware’s Taurus UCX. We wanted USB-C because it makes everything native to a device. It truly catered to a seamless end-user experience.”

Lightware has introduced a revolutionary unified communications (UC) connectivity solution that bridges the gap between BYOM applications and USB-C devices. Lightware’s Taurus UCX is a universal matrix switcher that enables users to easily share their content, switch hosts and control their meeting room easily and intuitively.

“Lightware solved a problem that I didn’t know I had before I had it,” said Hamilton. “I solve end users’ problems, and I like it when other people do that for me. Most importantly, the end user does not know about the technology behind the experience, but it all works the same, no matter what they’re connecting. So much so, they’re just assuming that every system performs this way.”

The AVNetwork staff are storytellers focused on the professional audiovisual and technology industry. Their mission is to keep readers up-to-date on the latest AV/IT industry and product news, emerging trends, and inspiring installations.