Polycom RealPresence CloudAXIS Suite

Polycom recently announced the release of their new ground breaking products for the video collaboration market that will transform the future of video conferencing. The list of additional products comprise of: User InterfaceEndpointsRealPresence CouldAxis Suite and a Collaboration Server 800s.

After my initial viewing of the presentation, I was quite impressed with the direction Polycom has taken and think that their new User Interface seems to be relatively less complicated if compared to the existing versions. This is definitely a step in the right direction with usability being the highest priority. Although, I must be honest that this is the same thinking many other manufacturers such as LifeSize and Vidyo have been taking before this big announcement.  The fact that we have access to most of the major brands gives us the opportunity to provide our customers with a more objective opinion.

So what did Polycom announce at the public announcement on the 8th of October 2012 at Nasdaq in the USA?

1. The Polycom RealPresence CloudAxis Suite.
2. New Group 300,500 & 700 Endpoints
3. The RealPresence Collaboration Server 800s (No information available)

Polycom CloudAxis

What will the Polycom RealPresence CloudAxis Suite offer you?

The Polycom RealPresence CloudAXIS Suite is a first-of-its-kind software solution that brings contacts from all your presence-based apps into a global directory of participants that you’re able to drag and drop into a Polycom, business-class video collaboration session, allowing parties outside the organization to securely join the conference via a browser with one click.

After watching the presentation for the first time I was really blown away and couldn’t believe what I was seeing! You’re able to connect directly via Skype, Facebook, Google Talk and other business video apps to make an Enterprise-grade video call. That is amazing! Although looking closer you will  notice that they are only able to send a link to these aforementioned business video app accounts that will allow you to join a VC meeting by being redirected to your favourite web browser. This means that the call is not made directly from any 3rd party application. I do however like that you’re able to use any web browser to join the video call, which is great compared to similar  products such as LifeSize and Vidyo that require you to download software on your Windows or Mac device.

Another  feature that I really like is that the clients presence information from the host of social and video apps are visible and those contacts are then imported into the Polycom global directory. It’s a great feature, but it is it really essential? Even thoughI’m  always online on Skype ,that doesn’t mean that you can just invite me to join a meeting.

These are the key features

  • Intuitive browser-based user interface makes video collaboration effortless as there is no software client installation required.
  • The Global Directory includes Skype, Facebook, Google Talk and other UC application contacts.
  • You’re able to invite anyone at any location to join your B2B and B2C video call with consistent high quality and security.
  • All you need to do is simply drag and drop participants into a virtual meeting. It will then automatically send meeting invites to the participants via IM or email
  • Share content with all participants and quickly collaborate with mobile, desktop, and room system users.

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Polycom RealPresence Group

Polycom RealPresence Group 300, 500 & 700 Endpoints

These new endpoints will be a great solution for small to medium size businesses wanting to use professional video collaboration tools for their business operations.  The downside of the units is that they will not be able to use ISDN lines and only IP (Internet Protocol).  This is a major concern because our broadband connections in South Africa are ADSL (Assemetric Digital Subscriber Lines) and does not work properly for video conferencing applications.  It will definitely NOT work for calls at 720p or 1080p!  Lets hope that SDSL (Symmetrical Digital Subscriber Lines) or 4G LTE are released in SA in the near future to allow these products to work effectively for smaller to medium size businesses.  If you are a big organisation with a MPLS (Multiprotocol Label Switching) infrastructure then there’s no need to be concerned.  We can successfully deploy these and any other video communications products over your network if setup correctly by service providers.

So when will the new products be available in South Africa? After my meeting with the Polycom distributors last week I can confirm that they will start placing orders for the new Group 300 & 500 endpoints from the 15th of November 2012. I don’t believe we can start committing to exact dates before January 2013. These new products will first need to go through our own internal testing before we will supply these to our customers in 2013. All the other products are still not available and no fixed release date has been provided to 4ward-design or any other video communications integrators in South Africa.

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Stay tuned for more updates regarding these new and exiting products in the months to come.

Polycom EagleEye Director | Advanced Control

Better Meeting Experiences through Automatic Camera Control

Imagine a video conference meeting where your participants can interact with each other without the need to control the video conference cameras manually. This is now possible with the EagleEye Director from Polycom®.

The Polycom® EagleEye Director is a voice locating camera system that will greatly improve usability for all users in a video conference. This innovative technology uses either voice locating or track-to-presets to allow greater flexibility in an array of different room configurations.

A virtual cameraman and director for every video conference

  • Voice-locating camera tracker that automatically locates active speakers in room
  • Dual-camera system mimics a TV broadcast that uses multiple camera views
  • Voice location for entire room; camera tracker locates through voice and facial recognition
  • Works in a variety of rooms with voice-locating or track-to-preset technology
  • The EagleEye Director intelligent software, dual cameras and advanced microphones automatically and seamlessly transition between live shots of the active speaker and group, allowing participants to focus on their meeting topic and freeing them using the remote to manually pan, tilt, and zoom.

Innovation Leads to Precision

The Polycom EagleEye Director camera tracker has powerful processing technology built into the base of the unit allowing it to be used with any Polycom HDX® Room video system. An array of seven microphones allows the EagleEye Director camera tracker to locate voices in a variety of room shapes and sizes.

Locate, Recognise, Zoom

Once a voice has been located in the room, the EagleEye Director camera tracker then relies on facial recognition algorithms to determine if the user is speaking to other users in the room or to the far end. The camera will automatically zoom in and position the speaker in the right proportion. This three-step process gives the far-end participants an immersive experience.

Users may choose to have the camera locate voices in one of the 99 preset camera locations. This is ideal for classrooms and other environments where room layouts may be more challenging.

[image src=”http://www.4ward-design.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/eagleeye-director-system.png” align=”center” caption=”” link=”” link_type=”” target=”” alt=”Eagleeye Director System”]

Polycom EagleEye Director Benefits

  • Optimised viewing experiences for every video conference — The EagleEye Director camera tracker automatically positions the live speakers in the center of the monitor, eliminating the need to use the remote control to pan, tilt, and zoom.
  • Increased usage — Users will find the video experience is improved, reducing conference fatigue and increasing their productivity
  • Setup is simple — Limited required cables make setup quick and easy
  • Natural conference participation — No IR receiver to wear or additional peripherals to use to locate speakers in the room

Polycom EagleEye Director Features

  • Quickly turns impersonal conferences into more interactive and personal experiences with face-to-face communications
  • Simple setup for all Polycom HDX® room video systems with one single cable connected to codec
  • No user control is needed; no “on-stage technician” with remote control trying to move the camera necessary
  • Improved meeting experiences with more natural communications
  • Compatible with all Polycom HDX® Room video systems

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Download Spec Sheet

Onkyo DS-A5 AirPlay Dock | New Release

New Onkyo iPod/iPhone/iPad Dock with AirPlay

Onkyo recently released the new DS-A5 docking station allowing AirPlay functionality on all your legacy Onkyo A/V receivers and stereo amplifiers. Just select an audio or video file, touch the AirPlay icon, and the dock powers up your system and commences playback. Or, with a few clicks of the mouse, you can send music wirelessly from your computer’s iTunes library to the DS-A5 for playback over your hi-fi or home theatre.

Onkyo DS-A5 Rear

Superior sound quality is assured when using the digital audio output, which transports the signal directly to your Onkyo receiver’s audiophile-grade Digital-to-Analog Converters (DACs). A composite video output enables movie and photo playback from iOS device on your TV, while an RI connection centralizes control of your system into one main remote. With the DS-A5, you can dock your iPod, iPhone, or iPad anytime for a recharge, or continue using it anywhere in the house while streaming your favorite music at the same time.

Connecting the iOS Family with Onkyo Systems

Linked to your Onkyo system, the DS-A5 allows you to play audio and video files from virtually all iPod, iPhone, and iPad models. Now you can enjoy your music through a high-fidelity sound system and share photos and videos on your living-room display.

Onkyo DS-A5 Ipad Dock

AirPlay Integrates Your Digital Life

AirPlay lets you connect your iPod touch, iPhone, and iPad to your compatible Onkyo product with no wires, cable, or clutter. As well as streaming audio from your portable iOS device over the home network, users can also play tracks from their PC or Mac-based iTunes library on their Onkyo sound system. AirPlay also enables automatic system start up and input selection.

DS-A5 Using Airplay

Added Control Through RI Functionality

The DS-A5 can also be connected through Onkyo’s proprietary RI (Remote Interactive) interface. This gives you access to a variety of useful functions, such as System On/Off, Auto Power On, Auto Selector (Direct Change), and Sleep Timer. To simplify things even further, the RI terminal also allows you to use your main Onkyo system remote to control the DS-A5 dock.

Compatible iPod/iPhone/iPad Models

  • iPod nano (2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th Generations)
  • iPod classic (80 GB, 120 GB, 160 GB)
  • iPod touch (1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Generations)
  • iPhone, iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S
  • iPad, iPad (Wi-Fi + 3G), iPad 2 (Wi-Fi), iPad 2 (Wi-Fi + 3G), New iPad
    Updating iPod/iPhone/iPad software is advised before using the DS-A5.
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Crestron CP3 Processor | Available October 2012

Crestron CP3 Processor | Available October 2012

Crestron have finally confirmed that the long awaited CP3 control processor will be released on the 1st of October 2012. This is an exiting period for Crestron customers and integrators because the Crestron® CP3 presents a new benchmark in control system technology. Featuring the Core 3 OS™ control engine, the CP3 forms the core of any modern networked home or commercial building, managing and integrating all the disparate technologies throughout your facility to make life easier, greener, more productive, and more enjoyable.

4ward-design will not be specifying the CP3 processor for new projects until January 2013. Our team of in-house Crestron programmers will first need put the unit through our quality and performance tests, before releasing it to our customers in the field.

Modular Programming Architecture

Designed for enhanced scalability, the CP3 affords high-speed, real-time multi-tasking to seamlessly run multiple programs simultaneously. This exclusive programming architecture lets programmers independently develop and run device-specific programs for AV, lighting, HVAC, security, etc., allowing for the optimisation of each program, and allowing changes to be made to one program without affecting the whole. Even as your system grows, processing resources can easily be shifted from one 3-Series™ processor to another without rewriting any code. The end benefit is dramatically simplified upgradability with minimal downtime, whether implementing changes on site or remotely via the network.

Robust Ethernet & IP Control

IP technology is the heart of Core 3, so it should be no surprise that its networking abilities are second to none. High-speed Ethernet connectivity enables integration with IP-controllable devices and allows the CP3 to be part of a larger managed control network. Whether residing on a sensitive corporate LAN, a home network, or accessing the Internet through a cable modem, the CP3 provides secure, reliable interconnectivity with IP-enabled touch screens, computers, mobile devices, video displays, Blu-ray Disc® players, media servers, security systems, lighting, HVAC, and other equipment — whether on premises or across the globe.


Cresnet provides a dependable network wiring solution for Crestron keypads, lighting controls, thermostats, and other devices that don’t require the higher speed of Ethernet. The Cresnet bus offers easy wiring and configuration, carrying bidirectional communication and 24VDC power to each device over a simple 4-conductor cable. To assist with troubleshooting, the CP3 includes our patent-pending Network Analyzer which continuously monitors the integrity of the Cresnet network for wiring faults, marginal performance, and other errors.


Native support for the BACnet/IP communication protocol provides a direct interface to third-party building management systems over Ethernet, simplifying integration with HVAC, security, fire & life safety, voice & data, lighting, shades, and other systems. Using BACnet/IP, each system runs independently with the ability to communicate together on one platform for a truly smart building.


Onboard Control Ports

In addition to Ethernet, the CP3 includes three bidirectional COM ports and eight IR ports to interface directly with all of your centralised AV sources, video displays, and other devices. Eight programmable relay ports are included for controlling window shades, projection screens, lifts, power controllers, and other contact-closure actuated equipment. Eight “Versiport” I/O ports enable the integration of occupancy sensors, power sensors, door switches, or anything else that provides a dry contact closure, low-voltage logic, or 0-10 Volt DC signal.

e-Control® Remote Access

Years ago, Crestron pioneered the world’s first IP-based control system unleashing vast new possibilities for controlling, monitoring, and managing integrated systems over a LAN, WAN, and the Internet. Today, our many e-Control solutions offer more ways than ever to control your world the way you want.

With e-Control, you can control anything in your home or office from anywhere in the world using a smartphone, tablet, or computer. Built-in Core 3 UI™ XPanel technology affords virtual touch screen control through any popular Web browser running on a laptop or desktop computer. Our Crestron Mobile Pro®app delivers the Crestron touch screen experience to your iPhone®, iPad®, or Android™ device letting you safely monitor and control your entire facility using the one device that goes with you everywhere.

Remote access is simplified using the myCrestron Dynamic DNS service to establish a friendly URL for your home system. And should you ever need technical support, your Crestron system installer can even perform diagnostics and implement updates to the system remotely without coming on site.

Fusion RV™ and SNMP

As part of a complete managed network in a corporate enterprise, college campus, convention center or any other facility, the CP3 works integrally with Crestron Fusion RV Remote Asset Management Software to enable remote scheduling, monitoring, and control of rooms and technology from a central help desk. Built-in SNMP support enables integration with third-party network management software, allowing control and monitoring in a format that’s familiar to IT personnel.

The following Crestron processors will soon be added to the 3-Series list.

  • PRO3
  • AV3
  • CP3N

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First AV receivers with built-in home automation

Control4 and Sony have recently introduced the first AV receivers incorporating the Control4 automation features.

This is a step in the right direction from AV manufacturers partnering with home automation manufacturers to make every home users experience more simplified.  With technology playing an integral part in our everyday lives it must be simplified for the user to appreciate the real benefit.

The team at 4ward-design don’t specify the Sony AV range in South Africa because the after-sales support is not fantastic.  Sony outsource all their repairs to a 3rd party repair center, and those guys don’t care about the end user at the end of the day. Sony repairs have taken up to 6 months to come back to us, and that is unacceptable for the high quality service that we deliver to all our customers.

Besides the bad experience from Sony in South Africa it is still worth informing our customers that the new Sony ES receivers feature stunning 4K audio video quality, a rich selection of more than 30 streaming music and video services, and basic Control4 automation technology that easily adds lighting control to enhance the entertainment experience. Both receivers allow you to easily unleash the power of full Control4 automation and home control capability.

These are the two new AV receivers from Sony

Sony 5800

Designed for the high-end home theatre, the STR-5800ES is the Sony flagship 9.2-channel receiver with 130 watts per channel and 9/3 HDMI ports.

Sony 2800

The STR-2800ES is a 7.2-channel receiver with 100 watts per channel and 8/3 HDMI ports that gives consumers a universal remote alternative that provides an amazing AV experience.

Unlock the Power of Control4 Home Automation

Enjoy complete control in your home theatre, or your whole house by activating your full Control4 system.

Contact 4ward-design to find out how you can enjoy complete, personalised control over your lights, A/C and heating, security and door locks.

To get a taste of the kinds of things you can control with Control4, check out the Home Smart Home magazine.

The Future Of Technology In Higher Education Institutions

UNIGO, an online resource for college information in the USA, recently revealed that college students are more wired than ever before. According to findings, 98% of college students own a digital device with “a majority of undergraduates report owning more than 12 digital devices, including computers, laptops, printers, smart phones, webcams and digital cameras.”

While this data is not drawn from local soil, there is no reason to believe that these findings do not reflect, albeit in part, the statistics at tertiary institutions in South Africa.

We live in a time where immediate convenience is found at our fingertips. Conversations and developments happen on the double at the click of a button; and in a time where knowledge is more readily available than at any recorded time, educational facilities should not only take note – but embrace technological advancements aimed at achieving exactly this: convenience and extra time.

In education, time is a fundamental factor in achieving exceptional results through seamless execution and inevitably providing students with their fees worth. It occurs all too often that technology fails educators, wasting their prized time as well as that of their students. Technology is ever-cultivating and has transitioned teaching mediums from dreary chalk boards to expedient smart boards. It has also eliminated hours wasted on equipment set-up and repair by simply allowing an educator to walk into a personalised and automated lecture theatre.

Some higher Education institutions are waking to the fact that this is the future of learning and have opted to adopt these methods and technologies which ensure impeccable lectures and meetings, environmental sustainability and an efficient workforce. Tertiary institutions that have embraced this modern way of teaching are few and far between – and where archaic teaching methods reside, the student suffers.

The UNIGO study shows that students expect – and want – more technology on campus with “three out of four (who) don’t feel like their schools are using technology effectively enough”.

Campuses across South Africa should take note of this expressed need. It is that time of the year where tertiary institutions again begin their active campaign for a new group of undergraduates – a group of society which has been shown to be the more technologically advanced than any other previous generation. They are the i-Generation – and they demand effortless communication.

It is only natural to assume that tertiary institutions will opt to integrate technology into their classrooms as the latest systems are geared to saving students, facility managers and lecturers a considerable amount of time.

In addition, the advancement of technology also calls for the preservation of the environment. Efficient energy consumption is pivotal and a fundamental concern amongst the youth; tertiary institutions cannot preach sustainability and not put the practice to action.

Due to their excessive energy consumption and associated soaring costs, reducing the carbon footprint and saving energy should not be additional – but critical objectives – set by educational institutions.

It seems like a big ask, but the reality is that the integration of time, convenience and environmental integrity is as easy as installing an AV system which effectively meets these three needs. This technology is now readily available in South Africa – and, in the instance of Stellenbosch University – indications are that students are already reaping the rewards from the university’s forward thinking.

In South Africa education is a right. Shouldn’t students be allowed the best?

DStv Announces Channel Number Changes

DStv Announces Channel Number Changes

Why are they changing the channel numbers?

DStv are moving their services to a new satellite, which will give them more space to offer DStv subscribers more channels and services in future. To do that, they need to move some channels around to make space for these future channels and services.
Whilst it may take some getting used to, DStv believes that the new channel numbering will make for an overall better navigation and viewing experience.

DStv Channel Changes October 2012

When is the change happening?

Early the morning of Monday, 1 October 2012 – most of the new channels will come into effect at 6am. The new M-Net Movie channels will launch from 10:30 on Monday, 1 October 2012.

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Crestron & Control4

Will you miss any of your shows when DStv change the channel numbers?

The changes will happen automatically and shouldn’t interrupt your viewing.

Do DStv customers need to do anything to get the new channel numbers and the new channels?

The changes will happen automatically in the early morning hours of Monday, 1 October. DStv customers are advised to access the information about their specific decoder on DStv.com or press OK on their DStv remote to see if any action is required on their part.
Customers who live in a complex or flat where they don’t have their own dish, will have to request their body corporate to upgrade their system before 1 October 2012. These customers can SMS their email address to DStv at 32444.

When will the TV Guides be updated?

The October Dish Magazine will reflect the updated channel numbers.
The online and mobile TV Guides will update within hours of the change on 1 October.
The TV Guides on the decoders will be updated within hours of the change on 1 October.

How will this affect our Crestron and Control4 customers?

All your current presets on your touch panels will need to change.  This is not automatically done and will require a programmer from 4ward-design to implement these changes.  We urge you to book a programmer now to implement these changes from the 1st week of October onwards.  The changes will be on a first come first serve basis and at a cost to each customer.  Email your request to support@4ward-design.com to book your slot now.

Now that the SD and HD channels sit on the same channel number (except for SuperSport channels), what’s the difference between the SD version of a channel and the HD version of the same channel?

The SD and HD channels which sit on the same channel number have exactly the same content. The only difference is the broadcast quality of the channel. The content including the soundtrack, the programme schedules and aspect ratio of the broadcasts will be identical.

MNET Movies HD

M-Net Movie Channels

M-Net Movies Premiere
The crème-de-la-crème of big budget, hit movies await on the M-Net Movies Premiere channel. This is where Hollywood royalty lives and where you can find the freshest movies appearing on TV for the first time. Movies will be screened first on this channel before moving to the relevant themed channel.

M-Net Movies Comedy
Relax, put your feet up and prepare to laugh till it hurts. Whether you like your comedies tinged with romance, drama, slapstick humour or a little on the naughty side, the comedy channel will leave you in stitches.

M-Net Movies Family
Wholesome entertainment for all ages awaits with the family channel. A fun and enjoyable lineup featuring animation, musicals, fantasy and feel-good family movies will keep both kids and the young at heart engrossed all day.

M-Net Movies Action+
Escape on an adventure, discover what lies in the far reaches of Space, fight the bad guys and save the world. M-Net Movies Action+ will take you there with a host of blockbuster movies from Action to Westerns, Horror and Sci-Fi.

M-Net Movies Drama & Romance
Get swept away by an enchanting love story, or lost in a heart wrenching drama. The drama and romance channel features a variety of new and entertaining content including biographies, thrillers, documentaries and war movies.

M-Net Movies Showcase
Revisit your most magical movie moments and discover new ones with the Showcase channel. M-Net Movies shines the spotlight on specific movies and directors with exciting festivals, themes and box sets. Plus you get to take control with viewers’ choices.

What about the other M-Net movie channels that are already on DStv?
MM1 and MM2 are changing into themed channels – MM1 is changing to M-Net Movies Premiere and MM2 is changing into M-Net Movies Drama & Romance.

M-Net Action
Do high speed car chases, massive explosions, hot woman, ripped action stars and giant bloodthirsty mutant animals make your world go round? With the M-Net Movies Action channel you’ll find everything to keep you glued to your lazy boy.

M-Net Stars
Your best loved actors and movies shine brightly on M-Net Movies Stars. Featuring cult classics and movie favourites from past and present across a variety of genres from comedy to drama and romance, it’s the channel for young and old alike.

How will movies be screened across these channels?
A new blockbuster movie will be screened on M Premiere first and will then move to the appropriate themed channel. Some new niche movies will also be screened first on some themed channels.
The movies on M-Net Movies follow a cascading pattern of broadcast. This means that there are two movies starting every half hour.  M Premiere and M Movies Drama & Romance have a movie each at 18:30, M Comedy and M Showcase have a movie each at 19:00, M Family and M Action have a movie each at 19:30.

How do the movies on M-Net Movies Premiere work?
Every Friday, there are four new first-to-television movies from 18:30 until 00:30 with the biggest movie of the week on Fridays at 20:30.
In addition to this, the M-Net Sunday night blockbuster movie will still be screened at 20:00 on M-Net. This movie will also be broadcast at 20:30 that same evening on M Premiere.


What kind of soundtracks will be available on the movie channels?
The family and original soundtrack will always be available. When available for a particular movie, the surround sound option will be included. Please take note of the slide at the start of each movie and also on the EPG itself.

Dolby Digital 5.1

Will Dolby 5.1 be available on all HD channels?
Where the Dolby 5.1 soundtrack is made available by the studios it will be played out. In all other cases, HD channels will carry Dolby 2. Please take note of the EPG on the specific programme or movie.

What about Hearing Impaired subtitles on the new M-Net movie channels – both HD and SD?
Where it is available, the HI subtitles will be played out. There will be a slide at the start of each movie, as well as an indication on the EPG.
M-Net has undertaken to provide all new content with HI subtitles.
We are working with all channels on the DStv platform to provide HI subtitles for our hearing impaired subscribers on all channels. Unfortunately HI subtitles are not readily available on all content, especially older content.

LifeSize® UVC Video Engine™ for Microsoft® Lync™

HD Video Calls from the Desktop to the Meeting Room with LifeSize and Microsoft Lync.

The new LifeSize UVC Video Engine for Microsoft Lync works together with LifeSize 220 Series and LifeSize Passport room-based video systems to deliver the highest quality, most flexible and most cost-effective solution for continuous-presence HD video calls with Microsoft Lync.

Microsoft Lync

LifeSize 220 Series and LifeSize Passport video systems* are fully interoperable with Microsoft Lync, including registration, presence and click-to-call functionality. UVC Video Engine adds support for RTVideo to deliver the HD-quality meeting-room experience you expect from LifeSize, now with Microsoft Lync.

Ideal for organizations deploying Lync video calling at the desktop and in meeting rooms, UVC Video Engine works seamlessly with the embedded multipoint (MCU) in Room 220 and Team 220 to deliver continuous-presence HD video calls with Lync, instead of VGA and active-talker video from the Lync AV MCU.

HD Quality

Enjoy the LifeSize HD video experience in your Microsoft Lync environment with HD 720p video for natural, face-to-face interactions—the highest quality video call available with Microsoft Lync.


Deploy and grow on your terms with either hardware or virtual machine software options. Delivered via the LifeSize UVC Platform with scalable provisioning and growth, LifeSize Video Engine for Microsoft Lync offers you simple, web-based management and server administration.


Collaborate seamlessly with native Lync integration of LifeSize video systems, ensuring simple, easy setup and use. Bridge Lync with standards-based video calls and connect with non-Lync partners outside your company. LifeSize room-based video systems connect to both PCs and Macs through Lync and push presence and contact lists for easy, click-to-call functionality. LifeSize video systems utilize Microsoft Edge servers for firewall traversal, providing reliable calling and greater security.

LifeSize UVC Platform

LifeSize UVC Video Engine for Microsoft Lync is part of the LifeSize UVC Platform. Available as virtual machine software or hardware, the UVC Platform enables immediate deployment of LifeSize UVC Video Engine for Microsoft Lync with an easy try-before-you-buy option. With LifeSize UVC Video Engine for Microsoft Lync, you’ll maintain complete control of your HD video calls within the Microsoft Lync environment with simple, web-based management and server administration for more effective video collaboration, anywhere, anytime.

LifeSize® UVC Video Engine™ for Microsoft® Lync™

    • HD Quality Up to 720p30: Flexible Capacity. Buy what you need and scale as you grow
  • Flexible Deployment: Offered as virtual machine software or hardware appliance
  • Native Lync Integration with LifeSize 220 Series and LifeSize Passport: Registration, presenceand click-to-call
  • Continuous Presence: Embedded MCU in Room 220 and Team 220 video systems enable up to 4-way HD video
  • Transcoding: Lync RTVideo <-> H.264 for VGA and HD (720p) video calling with Lync
  • Simplified Management: Web-based management and server administration
  • Interoperable: Bridge Lync with standards-based video calls and connect with non-Lync colleagues and contacts outside your company

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The future of education is in your hands

The future of education is in your hands

The SMART Response™ VE interactive response system from SMART Technologies is a cloud-based software solution that enables students to respond to planned and spontaneous questions and take quizzes using any of their favorite Internet-enabled devices, from anywhere. SMART Response VE integrates with SMART Notebook collaborative learning software, providing you with one application for creating lessons and delivering assessments. With a cost-effective subscription to SMART Response VE, you’ll automatically receive the latest features and software upgrades, enabling you to stay ahead of the technology curve.

Engage students on any device, anywhere in the world

Keep students interested, involved and participating in lessons by giving them a way to individually respond to teacher questions using the mobile devices they love and use every day. Supporting a variety of Internet browsers, SMART Response VE is designed to provide a consistent experience across all Internet-enabled devices, such as tablets, smartphones or laptops.

Smart Interface Platform

During lessons, students can access the website for SMART Response VE from anywhere in the world, and they can see the question exactly as it appears in your SMART Notebook lesson, giving you the ability to gauge their progress and evaluate their understanding no matter where they are located.

Smart Tablet Display

Deliver a seamless learning experience

Seamlessly transition between lesson delivery and student assessment. SMART Response VE is fully integrated with SMART Notebook software, consolidating lesson creation, delivery and assessment within a single application.

And because SMART Response VE requires no software installation on students’ devices, students can respond to planned or spontaneous assessments during lessons using any Internet-enabled device.

Smart Learning Experience

Evaluate student understanding

SMART Response VE provides everything you need to spontaneously add questions to lessons or easily prepare quizzes, tests and exams. Once students respond to questions using their mobile devices, the results are summarised in a pie chart or bar graph in SMART Notebook software.

Smart Student Evaluation

By seeing how students respond to your questions, you can adjust your teaching on the fly and be assured that every student understands the lesson. With the included Teacher Tools, test results are automatically added to the built-in gradebook and saved in a single file, which helps you organise data. You can tag questions by educational standards and cognitive levels, helping you track performance and identify areas for student improvement. The gradebook’s privacy mode allows you to restrict viewing of sensitive information, such as student identification data and test scores.

Smart Student Evaluation Graph

Stay ahead of the technology curve for student assessment

SMART Response VE offers educators a future-proof solution for student assessment, lowering total cost of ownership and giving educators a higher return on investment. The cost-effective subscription model also ensures that you’ll always have the latest features and software upgrades.

With students using any Internet-enabled mobile device to complete formative or summative assessments, educators have the flexibility of investing in a variety of mobile devices while continuing to use SMART Response VE. And the browser-based assessment delivery means no software installation is required for the students’ devices.

Smart Student Assessment

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Download the brochure or contact our sales team today for more information.

What is Home Automation?

What is Home Automation? – Quick Breakdown from 4ward-design

What is Home Automation? As I am constantly being asked this question, I’d like to take this opportunity to give you a quick breakdown of what home automation actually involves.  Being involved in the Home Automation industry for more than 15 years, it is evident that it’s not a new industry but rather established with the technology ever-evolving into more simplified and cost effective solutions.  When we started with home automation we decided to use Crestron as our primary solution but now also offer Control4 as a secondary option.

Crestron has been in the control system market even before I started in the audio-visual industry and were primarily used for corporate applications where the customers were predominantly bluechip companies because of the high equipment cost.  The idea was to use the control system to replace all the remote controls usually required to control a complete boardroom.  With the powerful programming features we were able to create simplified macros that would allow the user to setup all the AV equipment and lights without being an expert through the simple touch of a button.

So how did we start the Home Automation side of our business? We took the basic principals of corporate control systems and started implementing them on a large scale into upmarket homes in Cape Town, it was an immediate hit.  It however took years to convince the top architects in South Africa to design their clients’ residences with home automation playing an integral role.  Today, most top architects in South Africa include home automation as a standard already catering for rooms dedicated to the automation equipment.

Home Automation Services

The great news is that we have now completed more than 100 Crestron Home Automation projects in South Africa since 1997 with demand continuing to grow.  With these projects ranging from R 300,000 to R 10,000,000 you can just imagine the homes we’ve worked in!  The even greater news is that 4ward has decided to start using Control4 for our more basic and cost effective home automation projects, to cater for those customers not requiring the level of automation offered by our Crestron solutions.

I will focus today on the basics of home automation and what a Control4 system can offer you.  Even though the Crestron system is more flexible and expandable, this overview will give you a greater understanding of what the Control4 Home Automation system can do for you.  However, please note that we only use Lutron Lighting Control System for lighting automation in all our home automation projects.  Lutron is the leader in lighting control and seamlessly interfaces with both the Crestron and Contro4 Home Automation systems.

Control4 Main Touch Panel

What are the benefits of an automated home?

An automated home coordinates security, temperatures, lighting, and audio/video automatically for safety, energy savings and convenience.

Automatically dimming lights and changing heating and cooling setpoints when away from home can reduce energy costs substantially. Remote access allows you to view security video on a laptop, web-enabled cell phone or tablet. The inclusion of home automation also increases the value of your home.

Control4 Interfaces

Is the system easy to understand and operate?

Yes. Touchscreen graphic displays can be customised to meet your unique tastes and requirements. The system is user-friendly allowing the children to also learn and understand how to use basic features of the system. Day-to-day events are controlled with one button, such as Day, Night, Vacation, or Away. More specific activities are menu driven to change temperature, lights, audio and more.

Can it be controlled over the Internet or telephone?

Yes. All our home automation solutions can be monitored and controlled over the internet or telephone, either inside or outside the home. Check and adjust lights, temperature, security, audio, and more. Perfect for a vacation home.

Internet – Our solutions offers video surveillance capabilities over the internet, allowing you to monitor your home via your web-enabled phone, tablet or PC. Receive e-mails or text messages to inform you of what is happening at home.

Telephone – Not only can you call to check on the status of your home, but your system can actually contact you! Be informed of an alarm or that children are safe as soon as they have returned home from their day at school.


Can the system expand easily if my needs change?

Yes. Add touchscreens, pool, spa, or irrigation controls, window treatments, remotes, multi-room audio systems, home theatre controls, access control, video surveillance, intercom and more. The team at 4ward always designs a new home with future upgrades in mind. However we cannot anticipate what will be available in the future, but adding features later that is available today will not be a problem.


Contact our sales team today if you require more information about our Home Automaton solutions and how we can assist you.