Shure Microflex Complete Wireless and Microflex Advance Enable Hybrid Lectures at ESMT Business School Berlin
ESMT Berlin is the highest-ranking business school in Germany and the first and only German school of economics in the European top 10 founded by 25 leading global corporations. ESMT offers Master, MBA and PhD degrees, as well as management training courses. The courses are offered at the Berlin campus, in various worldwide locations and as well as some online courses available.
Due to current Coronavirus safety guidelines, a solution was needed allowing for flexible teaching arrangements in existing rooms. As only a small number of students are currently permitted in one room at the same time, it was necessary to ensure students would be able to participate remotely without restrictions.
To comply with social distancing guidelines, a flexible seating configuration was required for students attending on-site that could still enable remote participants to understand them clearly, regardless of their seating position.
Another challenge faced was the integration of popular video codecs and conferencing platforms such as Zoom into the hybrid teaching environments of a mixture of online students and students attending in-person. The goal was to enable all participants to be able to ask questions and partake in group discussions.
The installation of additional, complex audio infrastructure was to be avoided, as requested by ESMT.
Til Schwartz and Ivo König of IT Audio GmbH, a Berlin-based planning office for audio systems and sound reinforcement, were responsible for consulting, planning, product demonstration and on-site installation in Berlin.
The Shure Microflex Complete Wireless digital conferencing system was selected for ESMT's largest space, The Audimax. As the space is used for many different types of events, it can be customised to suit a variety of requirements. For the lectures, tables and chairs were set up in accordance with social distancing guidelines and a Shure Microflex Complete Wireless Conference Unit placed on each table. All in all, a total of 50 MXCW Conference Units were deployed in the Audimax.
The teachers use a wireless lavalier microphone, while students attending on-site use the MXCW Conference Units when asking questions. Students present in the room hear the audio via a professional sound reinforcement system. The audio signal is simultaneously fed to the video conferencing system for the remote participants. Questions from remote participants are also played back through the sound reinforcement system in the room.
If the integrated speakers of the MXCW Conference Units are used for playback and the teacher uses the microphone in the Conference Unit, lectures with partial attendance are possible in virtually any room, even without installed audio systems.
The elongated Auditorium 3, which features fixed benches and tables, was equipped with three Microflex® Advance™ MXA910 ceiling array microphones and an IntelliMix P300 Audio Conferencing Processor.
Using Steerable Coverage™ and the integrated IntelliMix Automix technology, the lobes of the ceiling arrays can be programmed to accurately pick up the voices of students present in the room, as well as the teacher’s voice. The existing sound reinforcement system in the room was connected via Dante and completely recalibrated.
The P300-IMX provides Echo Cancellation while using third-party video codecs and automatically mixes the signals of the three MXA910s.
Students connected remotely can participate interactively in the lectures.
The faculty, staff and students of ESMT have been impressed by the solutions ability to provide simple handling, excellent voice intelligibility, no echo and creating a positive learning experience. The Shure systems enable truly interactive courses and in the process improve inclusion for remote participants.
The MXCW Conference Units are easy and intuitive to operate. The voting functionality can provide additional benefits for teaching applications.
The deployment and operation of the system are comparatively easy. After the initial registration of the Conference Units, the various audio signals are mixed on a Dante-equipped mixing console. In day-to-day operations, the rechargeable batteries are removed from the Conference Units at night and reinserted in the morning, shortly before the courses begin. The battery life of approximately 10 hours provides a full day of lectures without interruptions. Over the course of a day, students do not have to switch seats or Conference Units. As a result, it is not necessary to disinfect the Conference Units several times throughout the day.
“The Shure MXA910 ceiling array microphones are very well suited to our daily operations,” says Andreas Haarhaus, audio engineer at ESMT Berlin. “They are unobtrusive, easy to use and work flawlessly. Students have also embraced the Shure MXCW Conference Units, which were quick and easy to set up.”
The combination of MXA ceiling array microphones and the P300-IMX Audio Conferencing Processor allows for lively lectures with bi-directional communication in Auditorium 3. Neither the students nor the teacher has to pay attention to speaking into a microphone – they can always be heard, regardless of their seating position, even when standing up or moving around the room. At the same time, students participating remotely feel to be an active part of the lectures.
|MXCWAPT||1||Access Point for Microflex Complete Wireless conference system. Controls up to 125 MXCW640 wireless conference units.|
|MXCW640||50||Wireless Conference Unit for Microflex Complete Wireless conference system. Configurable as Chairman, Delegate, Listener, or Ambient Microphone unit.|
|SB930||50||Rechargeable Li-Ion Battery for MXCW640 Wireless Conference Unit|
|MXCWNCS||5||Networked Charging Station for SB930 rechargeable batteries used in MXCW640 Wireless Conference Unit.|
|MXA910||3||The new MXA910 with IntelliMix® represents the next evolution in the Microflex® Advance™ Ceiling Array Microphone platform.|
|IntelliMix P300||1||Don’t let echo, noise, or distortion take over the meeting. The IntelliMix® P300 digital signal processor enhances every aspect of conference audio.|