Hybrid meetings – how DTS can help you

As people return to campus, we are getting lots of questions about hybrid meetings. As there are no specific hybrid meeting rooms on campus (although some departments have set up their own), you may find yourself trying to arrange a hybrid meeting using only your own equipment, or the technology in a teaching space.

This article explains how DTS can help you with practical support and loan equipment, and also what is available to purchase on XMA to help transform your meeting experience.

Hybrid meetings work best where you have equal remote and onsite participants. It could be best that all attendees join the meeting either remotely or in person so that everyone has the same experience and are more likely to participate equally. If this isn’t possible, then here are a few ideas to equalize the experience:

One person meeting in a shared office

  • Inform the people around you when you have a meeting
  • Use noise cancelling headphones which will a) signal to those around you that you are busy or on a call, and b) cut down on background noise.
  • Mute yourself if not speaking

If you end up with several meetings in a shared office, make sure you are all using headphones.

Meeting in a shared office (2-3 people)

  • Find a space to sit together so you can share one display/camera if possible
  • Use a USB/Bluetooth speaker to avoid issues with echo, feedback and lag (attach speaker to one device, keep the others on mute)
  • If someone has a webcam, attach it to the laptop or monitor

Meeting space or room (4 or more)

If you have several people in the same meeting, consider using a meeting room or even a classroom. These will have a monitor display on the wall which will improve the experience.

  • Connect a laptop to the monitor (you will need an adapter for a Surface) and turn it to face the room to use it as the camera/speaker
  • A laptop camera can only capture two or three people. A separate webcam has a wider field of view.
  • You may need to move chairs so that everyone is captured on camera (classrooms are set up for one person in front of several attendees)
  • Share the meeting to the screen so that everyone can still be seen.

Using AV and smartboards: https://www.reading.ac.uk/digital-technology-services/facilities-index/av-and-smartboards-in-university-teaching-rooms

How to use a classroom tech table: https://blogs.reading.ac.uk/teaching-learning-facilities/user-guides/

How technology can help

Noise cancelling headphones

High-quality headsets using a noise-cancelling microphone will reduce background noise, allowing your caller to hear your voice more clearly. Many people use these to concentrate as well, and they can help indicate to others that you are on a call or busy.

Examples with good stock levels on XMA:
Jabra Evolve 20 UC Stereo https://he.xma.co.uk/Product?pid=4999-829-209
Sennheiser SC 165 USB Headset Head-band Black https://he.xma.co.uk/Product?pid=508317

Speakers

Using a USB or Bluetooth conference speaker can be helpful when a small group of people gather in one room for a hybrid meeting with remote participants. All in-room participants can share a single speaker connected to just one of the laptops to eliminate the feedback from using multiple mics and speakers.

There are several available on the XMA Hub, for example the NeoXeo SPK 140 Bluetooth speaker: https://he.xma.co.uk/Product?pid=X130B13006 

Video cameras

There are limitations with a laptop camera as it is only set up to show one person. An additional webcam will have a better picture and show a wider view of the room, for example the Microsoft LifeCam HD-3000 Webcam (https://he.xma.co.uk/Product?pid=T3H-00012), some also have microphone/speaker built in.

If you have a lot of video meetings with several people, you may want to get a portable video camera, such as the Logitech ConferenceCam Connect which is suitable for up to 6 participants in one space. DTS have a few of these we can loan you for one off meetings, or you can buy your own from XMA. https://he.xma.co.uk/Product?pid=960-001034

Support from DTS

Did you know that DTS can provide you with technical support for hybrid and live events? There are three types of event that we offer support for:

  • Virtual Live Events and Meetings – Teams (remote support)
  • Video Conferencing (remote support)
  • Hybrid Live Events (teaching present in classroom whilst streaming online)

A technician will help set up and prepare for the live event or meeting and will be on call via Teams Chat for any problems during the event (this service is free for up to three hours, but must be booked in advance).

In addition to this, we also offer AV equipment/demo training and equipment loans.

You can request any of these services by completing a short form on the IT Self Service Portal:

Support for Audio Visual Equipment and Events: https://uor.topdesk.net/tas/public/ssp/content/detail/service?unid=3578b7fc528041f491b77026185fe538

General guidance

Although the tools we are using to communicate may have changed, office etiquette hasn’t. Working in open plan offices and hot desks means it is even more important to respect and be mindful of your colleagues. You may need to agree rules about whether meetings are allowed in shared space, for example, or all share calendars to find out who else is attending the same meeting so you can arrange a room. *This will be covered by the “Ways of Working” strategy group.

Further reading

Logitech guides to video meetings: https://www.logitech.com/en-gb/video-collaboration/resources/think-tank/articles/setting-up-video-meeting-space/introduction.html

Microsoft article on hybrid meetings: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/research/project/the-new-future-of-work/articles/hybrid-meetings-guide/

TEL guides for using Teams for online teaching sessions (also applicable to hybrid meetings): https://sites.reading.ac.uk/tel-support/microsoft-teams-meeting-help-index/

About holding hybrid meetings (includes diagrams of possible set ups): https://u3asites.org.uk/code/u3asite.php?site=1144&page=0

LinkedIn Training courses: Hybrid meetings (linkedin.com)

Phone issues

The fix we implemented at 3:30 was successful and the intermittent call issues are resolved. We will monitor the service to make sure it continues to be available.


We have identified the problem causing the intermittent phone issues and are will be implementing a fix at 3:30pm. Please be aware that this will cause phone-calls to be unavailable for 5 minutes. Any calls in progress will be dropped. However, phone services should return to normal after 5 minutes.


We have identified a possible solution to fix this intermittent phone issue and are working on implementing it with our supplier. We will update you as soon as we have further information.


We are currently working with our supplier to get this fixed as soon as possible. We will have a further update at 2pm.


We are aware of a problem affecting some calls out of the University today.

There are issues with making external calls and calls from campus to campus.

Internal calls (from the same campus) and inbound calls are still working.

We are working to fix this as soon as possible and will provide a further update later today.

Interruption to Student Email Service

This has now been resolved for all students.


We are happy to confirm that on Friday (02/08/19) evening we were able to fix the issue affecting the student e-mail service. There appears to be an issue with UoR Malaysia students experiencing a similar difficulty which we are currently investigating.

Please be aware that any messages that were bounced back will need to be resent.

We will be having a meeting on Wednesday 7th review the incident.


We are currently experiencing an interruption to our student email service.

E-mails sent to affected student accounts will bounce back to the sender, and will need to be re-sent once service has been restored.

Apologies for any inconvenience caused – we are working to resolve this as quickly as possible. Our status page has been updated, and will be kept up to date with progress.

Intel, ARM and AMD chip scare (Spectre + Meltdown)

In the last few days Intel, AMD and ARM have publicly announced major security flaws within their CPU chips.  We are working with suppliers to patch our systems as quickly as possible to ensure they remain secure.

Security patches will be applied to your computer over the coming days. Never switch off your computer at the wall or the security patches will not be applied.

The University of Reading IT department will continue to monitor risk and will make updates when needed, however, please do remember to update your home machine. This flaw affects millions of institutions and businesses but will also affect households too. Full details of what the security flaw is and how to deal with it can be found on the BBC website, including how the flaw is exploited and how to keep your personal machine protected.

There has been no evidence that the flaw has been exploited yet but still poses a security threat.

Non managed Mac and Linux users should ensure that they have the latest versions of their OS and software in order to have the security patches applied.

A reminder of some good online security tips:

  1. Use strong passwords and do not share them
  2. Use central file shares or One Drive for Business in preference to local drives
  3. Never switch off your computer at the wall or the security patches will not be applied
  4. Lock/secure your hardware
  5. Encrypt sensitive and personal information
  6. Think carefully before clicking on links in emails, even from friends and colleagues
  7. Ensure that your anti-virus is up to date
  8. Ensure that Windows updates are applied promptly
  9. Keep software applications up to date
  10. Dispose of IT equipment and data securely
  11. Protect your mobile device

If you have any further questions or concerns then please contact IT.

 

15:55 22/04/16 Eduroam certificate change

We have had to make some changes to the Eduroam security certificate this afternoon in order to maintain service availability. Unfortunately, this can potentially cause some problems with devices running Windows operating systems.

The easiest way to correct any issues is to remove your eduroam profile, visit our Wi-Fi connection page and install a new eduroam profile using the wizard. Access to this page is also available through the UoR-Setup network if you can’t access it through a mobile data network.

The issues can also be corrected manually by following the instructions below.

MacOS and Android devices do not appear to have been affected. iOS devices might be prompted to accept a new certificate.

If you have any difficulties, please contact the IT Service Desk on 0118 378 6262 (6262 internally) or log an incident in the IT Self Service Portal.

Manual Instructions:

For older installations of the eduroam profile, eduroam will not connect automatically the first time after the change. When asked to connect, a message stating the certificate trust has changed will appear. If you see this message on your device, please ensure it reads ‘Comodo RSA Certification Authority’ for the new trust point, then press connect.  This should only need to be done once.

For newer installations of the eduroam profile, eduroam will not connect at all until a configuration change is made.  If you are having this problem, please open your wireless networks settings, edit the settings for eduroam, press settings for the network authentication method, then make sure ‘Comodo RSA Certification Authority’ is selected in the list. It is also worthwhile unchecking the box for ‘do not prompt user to authorize new servers’.

Eduroam Wireless Netwrok Properties Protected EAP Properties