A lectern is a stand with an inclined surface on which a speaker can place his or her notes. In most cases, it features a microphone, allowing the speaker to be heard even in larger rooms. This very simple definition and approach was one that event technology specialist LUXAV did not consider satisfactory, which is why they developed the first “MediaPult” back in 2003 - with a recessed preview monitor, an intuitive presentation management system and a digital pointer. This was a real novelty at the time, and speakers had to be reminded that they no longer needed to keep switching between the display and the audience. The third generation of media lecterns is now stepping up to the mark and setting new standards in functionality and comfort.
The MediaPult 3.0 features a two-screen speaker view and can be controlled by touch, trackball or keyboard. An optional front monitor can also be used on which images, names of speakers, logos and presentation titles can be displayed. The large touch screen display allows intuitive display and marking features, even gesture control. The small preview monitor can be used to display the next presentation slide, notes, presentation directions and a presentation time display - totally independent of the display on the screen. Overall control is managed mainly through a simple, intuitive operation and is designed to support the speaker and make their job easier, rather than adding to their work. The lectern also features a remote-controlled height adjustment that allows users to set the height using the Director.
The Director plays a central role in LUXAV: this is where the transmission technology is located in a compact rack, along with the cross rail to control image signals and the computer on which the presentation runs, and of course, which is able to display all content whether it is found on a PowerPoint or Prezi presentation, PDF document, video or web content. This allows a high degree of flexibility and creativity for speakers while helping to make the system failure-proof. “It is our professional duty to design presentation technology to be redundant and to ensure that it is under the direct control of the technicians in Director” says Carsten Griesel of LUXAV. This means that technicians do not have to come on stage in the event of any problems; a scenario that is no doubt well-known to any participant in a meeting and which can be a real nightmare both for the audience and for the speaker in particular.
“What we’re faced with is a group of digital signals that have to be transmitted from the Director to the lectern and from the lectern to the Director”, says Griesel. This means that there is not a great deal of space available to technicians at the lectern, for example, and this is especially down to the motorised height adjustment of the lectern. One of the aspects taken into account during development was finding an especially compact solution. “In developing the new MediaPult, LUXAV had a clear vision and correspondingly high requirements” explains Michael Wüst Key Account Manager at Black Box, LUXAV’s technology partner. “The signal transmission between director and lectern should take place via two individual glass fibres for mutual signal paths so that only one cable needs to be moved at the venue, at the same time guaranteeing a high level of signal shielding, allowing distances of over 100 metres to be bridged. It is an excellent way of avoiding interference and other types of disturbances”.
The signals are extended and connected using the Black Box DKM system which allows a loss-free transmission of audio and video signals across distances of up to 10,000 metres (via single-mode cable). Along with digital videos up to a resolution of 2048 x 1152 pixels at 60 Hz, the device also extends analogue and digital audio along with USB 2.0 and USB-HID (Human Interface Devices). In addition, redundant, swappable network components guarantee a high availability, which is why the DKM system is also especially suited to critical scenarios such as live presentations. DKM signals can also be switched via cross rails, which allow notebooks to be connected to the lectern for presentations; an option offered by very few event technology competitors. These extra signals, including an additional picture signal and an extra audio signal in the opposite direction from the lectern to the Director, ensure that the solution will not experience any problems. This is also the case with the other tracks: a “MediaDesk” for the committee (on the stage) and an additional one for the large, optional front monitor.
“We are delighted to be working with our very committed partner, Black Box, in the development of our MediaPult 3.0, and they have done far more for us than simply sending us a quotation” says Griesel. “Not only did Black Box carry out a demonstration at our location, they actively suggested a range of options to solve many different problems, and were a decisive help in implementing maximal concepts”. The new lectern has been used at around 15 large international exhibitions and congresses to date and has received a very positive response from speakers on each occasion. “Even though there are very obvious differences from other media lecterns, few people can actually guess the technical sophistication of the solution”, says Griesel. Several points on the technical outlay in the Director remain hidden - but what is desirable in any case is that the presentation, rather than the technology, remains the focal point of any talk. “When it comes down to it, it’s much the same as giving a talk: the audience hears and sees the presentations, but not the effort put into creating and preparing them. But once everyone is satisfied and applauds, you know that your talk has been a success”.