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Taif University Enhances Distance Learning Collaboration with ClearOne Beamforming Microphone Arrays

Driven by a variety of market forces, distance learning is becoming more and more of a mainstay at institutions of higher education around the world, including Taif University in Saudi Arabia, which recently completed a major upgrade of its audio capabilities in partnership with Smart Cities Technologies (SCT) and ClearOne (NASDAQ: CLRO), a global market leader enabling conferencing, collaboration, and network streaming solutions.

“When it comes to distance learning at a Taif, instructors use video conferencing in the lecture halls to collaborate with the undergraduate and graduate student population of Taif University’s women’s campus,” explained Moath M Yousef, Sr. AV Pre-Sales & Product Manager of SCT. “And university staff members were facing many problems with the audio, mainly echo and disconnection issues.”

In addition, according to Yousef, classes with many students found it very difficult to constantly move the microphone between participants for the far end of the room to clearly hear questions and discussions. In fact, these video collaboration classes often required dedicated supervisors to be present to move the microphones between participants to ensure that classes would run smoothly.

After evaluating the situation, Yousef introduced ClearOne to Anas AIQudsi, Head of the Infrastructure Department at the university, and together they built the full design for a complete state-of-the-art collaboration solution featuring ClearOne CONVERGE Pro 2 DSP mixers and Beamforming Mic Array 2 combinations across 27 classrooms of the campus.

Working with 2 Beamforming Mic Arrays attached to each CONVERGE Pro 2 mixer, combined with new audio-absorbing materials in the classrooms, Anas was certain there would be no future needs for dedicated classroom supervisors present for all the microphone transferring between students. The entire installation was completed in less than a month — and without a hitch!

“Taif University and SCT chose ClearOne solutions based on the company’s history in the audio industry and the quality and reliability of its solutions,” Yousef emphasized. “ClearOne’s market reputation and extended warranty further cemented our decision to partner with them.”

Smart Cities Technology has a team of expert engineers with extensive experience in the field of audio-video solutions, home automation, lighting, conference room technologies, and IT solutions. Partnering with market-leading technology providers in the fields of Pro-AV and public address, discussion and interpretation, building, and home automation, Smart Cities Technology can offer a complete range of innovative, integrated, and high-end solutions. Smart Cities Technology’s goal is to become the leading AV service provider in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA).

“The final solution perfectly fit the needs of the university and allowed instructors to easily connect with students,” explained AIQudsi. “Taif University recommends that any organization looking to deploy an AV solution should talk to SCT and ClearOne.”

According to AIQudsi, instructors are using the new ClearOne solution daily, and often the instructors connect to two or three classes simultaneously, as many students are studying the same subjects. The solutions are in use at least 10-12 hours per day.

Taif University continually invites professionals from around the world to share knowledge with students and all of them have found that the ClearOne solution made this quite easy to manage. From the aesthetics of the mics and the easy control with the CONVERGE Pro 2 platform, the network is quite easy for the IT team to manage. Anas said that the university is quite pleased and plans to expand the solutions across more classrooms in the future.

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