of Pyramids and Starfish…

A cryptic title for this post. Hopefully all will become clearer..

We’ve been reviewing our successes and failures in our mixed physical and virtual meetings.

We are testing a form of telepresence in our meetings because standard video conferencing with Skype isn’t quite good enough when it comes to meetings and workshops..

The headlines:

  • When we are all together physically or virtually everyone has a similar experience and the workshops generally run rather well.
  • We continue to experiment with mixed virtual and physical meetings – and follow-up the feedback with 1:1 discussions afterwards.
  • In the mixed meetings the people attending virtually feel they have a lesser experience than those in the room
  • This is partly due to the richness of the communication (more on that in later posts)
  • Also partly due to the limitations of the technology we are using.
  • the laptop microphones are simply not up to the task of picking up sound evenly in a room of 10 – 12 people

So we have made an excursion into some new hardware (thanks to John Fisher)

We have tested a new pyramid microphone

Pyramid Microphone for virtual conferencing

Pyramid Microphone for virtual conferencing

I added the pack of biscuits for scale, shortly before eating them.

The next bit was to see if we could connect several laptops to one microphone and also to one speaker.

We did this with a 3.5mm starfish connector,

starfish connector for 35mm plugs

starfish connector for 35mm jacks for microphone and speakers

We used two starfish connectors:

  • one connecting four laptops to one microphone
  • one to connect four laptops to one speaker

We tested the set up with four Skype videoconference connections and it worked!

The pyramid microphone worked far better than we expected, picking up voices from a distance of 4m

There was no interference and feedback.

So, the next step is to try this all out for real at our next virtual / physical meeting in a few weeks.

I’ll let you know how we get on.


3 thoughts on “of Pyramids and Starfish…

  1. Virtually anything is possible when you know how powerful we want to connect and make the communication work! The power of our team and Adrian remotely managing us! Brilliant, gold star….

  2. Pingback: A good use of time….? Experience of using Skype for telepresence meetings « On Facilitation ….

  3. Pingback: Facilitating virtual meetings - Institute of Virtual Leadership - Institute of Virtual Leadership

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