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Cisco TelePresence Room

Design Guide
February 2011
Design Guide

Contents

Introduction ................................................................................................................................................................... 6
What Is Immersive Cisco TelePresence? .................................................................................................................. 6
How Is Cisco TelePresence Used? ........................................................................................................................... 6
Characteristics of Immersive Cisco TelePresence Rooms ................................................................................... 6
How to Use This Guide .............................................................................................................................................. 7
Immersive Cisco TelePresence ................................................................................................................................... 8
Continuity in Cisco TelePresence .............................................................................................................................. 8
Continuity Implementation: Lighting, Acoustics, and Aesthetics................................................................................ 8
Lighting........................................................................................................................................................................ 10
Lighting Theory ........................................................................................................................................................ 10
Color Temperature .............................................................................................................................................. 11
Color Rendering Index ........................................................................................................................................ 11
Pigment and Light Color...................................................................................................................................... 11
Lumens, Lux, and the Candela Curve................................................................................................................. 12
How to Measure Lighting Levels ......................................................................................................................... 13
Application of Video Production Lighting to Cisco TelePresence ............................................................................ 13
Key Light ............................................................................................................................................................. 14
Fill Light ............................................................................................................................................................... 14
Back Light............................................................................................................................................................ 14
Application of Commercial Office Lighting to Cisco TelePresence .......................................................................... 15
Immersive Cisco TelePresence Lighting.................................................................................................................. 15
Lighting Control Systems .................................................................................................................................... 16
Zoned Switching.................................................................................................................................................. 17
Occupancy Sensors ............................................................................................................................................ 17
Time-of-Day Switching ........................................................................................................................................ 17
Photocell Dimming Controls ................................................................................................................................ 17
Multiscene Preset Dimming................................................................................................................................. 17
Indirect Lighting ................................................................................................................................................... 17
Indirect/Direct Lighting Fixtures........................................................................................................................... 18
Pendant-Style Indirect-Lighting Fixtures ............................................................................................................. 21
Accent Lighting.................................................................................................................................................... 22
Asymmetrical Lighting Fixtures ........................................................................................................................... 23
Ceiling Soffits and Lighting Coves....................................................................................................................... 24
Energy Efficiency ..................................................................................................................................................... 25
Conclusion ............................................................................................................................................................... 25
Acoustics..................................................................................................................................................................... 26
Acoustic Theory and Background ............................................................................................................................ 26
Sound Pressure Level in Decibels ...................................................................................................................... 26
Human Range of Hearing Frequencies............................................................................................................... 27
Human Hearing ................................................................................................................................................... 27
Human Speech.................................................................................................................................................... 29
Reverberation...................................................................................................................................................... 29
Echo .................................................................................................................................................................... 30
Reverberation and Echo in Cisco TelePresence Rooms .................................................................................... 31
Lively Sound Environments................................................................................................................................. 32
Flat Sound Environments .................................................................................................................................... 32
Building for Acoustic Isolation .................................................................................................................................. 33
Sound Transmission Class.................................................................................................................................. 33
Noise-Reduction Coefficient................................................................................................................................ 34
Impact Insulation Class ....................................................................................................................................... 35
Office Environment Acoustic Concerns and Resolutions......................................................................................... 35
High Ambient Noise Levels ................................................................................................................................. 36
Noise from Air Movement.................................................................................................................................... 36
Noise from Machinery ......................................................................................................................................... 37
Noise from Adjacent Rooms................................................................................................................................ 37
Reverberation Remediation................................................................................................................................. 38

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Design Guide

Acoustic Panel Placement................................................................................................................................... 39


Conclusion ............................................................................................................................................................... 41
Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning for CiscoTelePresence ....................................................................... 42
General Rules for HVAC .......................................................................................................................................... 42
Use of an Existing HVAC System ............................................................................................................................ 43
Zoning and Capability to Rezone HVAC.................................................................................................................. 45
Common HVAC Cooling Issues and Resolutions .................................................................................................... 45
Supplemental Cooling.............................................................................................................................................. 46
Conclusion ............................................................................................................................................................... 46
Aesthetics.................................................................................................................................................................... 47
Aesthetic Principles.................................................................................................................................................. 47
Choice and Customization in Design ....................................................................................................................... 47
How to Approach Aesthetic Design for Immersive Cisco TelePresence ................................................................. 48
Wall Color ................................................................................................................................................................ 49
Color Matching .................................................................................................................................................... 49
Aesthetics and Room Remediation.......................................................................................................................... 49
Exterior Windows ................................................................................................................................................ 50
Interior Windows.................................................................................................................................................. 50
Doorways ............................................................................................................................................................ 50
Acoustic Panels................................................................................................................................................... 50
Creative Wall Treatments ........................................................................................................................................ 51
Wall Coverings .................................................................................................................................................... 51
Wood Panels ....................................................................................................................................................... 51
Modifiable Aesthetic Elements................................................................................................................................. 52
Branding In Cisco TelePresence Room Design....................................................................................................... 53
Integration of Aesthetics in a Cisco TelePresence Room........................................................................................ 53
Décor to Avoid in an Immersive Cisco TelePresence Room ................................................................................... 54
Conclusion ............................................................................................................................................................... 54
Immersive Room Design Implementation ................................................................................................................ 55
Room Selection........................................................................................................................................................ 55
Cost Versus Immersive Experience .................................................................................................................... 55
Dedicated or Multipurpose Meeting Space .............................................................................................................. 56
Physical Elements of the Room ............................................................................................................................... 57
Room Dimensions.................................................................................................................................................... 58
Location ................................................................................................................................................................... 59
Doors................................................................................................................................................................... 59
Windows.............................................................................................................................................................. 59
Placement of The Room in the Building .............................................................................................................. 60
Adjacent Rooms .................................................................................................................................................. 60
Acoustic Evaluation ............................................................................................................................................. 60
Construction Characteristics .................................................................................................................................... 61
Wall Materials...................................................................................................................................................... 61
Ceiling Materials.................................................................................................................................................. 61
Flooring Materials................................................................................................................................................ 61
Power Outlets...................................................................................................................................................... 62
Network Access................................................................................................................................................... 62
Indirect Lighting........................................................................................................................................................ 62
Direct Lighting .......................................................................................................................................................... 62
Replacing Lighting Fixtures...................................................................................................................................... 64
Room Design Models ................................................................................................................................................. 65
Appendix A: HVAC Components and Systems ....................................................................................................... 67
HVAC Components.................................................................................................................................................. 67
Duct Types .......................................................................................................................................................... 67
Galvanized Steel ................................................................................................................................................. 67
Duct Board .......................................................................................................................................................... 67
Flexible Ducting................................................................................................................................................... 67
Ducting Systems ................................................................................................................................................. 67
Perimeter Duct Systems...................................................................................................................................... 67
Extended Plenum Systems ................................................................................................................................. 68
Other Main Duct Components............................................................................................................................. 68
Air Terminals ............................................................................................................................................................ 68

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Design Guide

Diffusers .............................................................................................................................................................. 68
Registers ............................................................................................................................................................. 69
Thermostats ........................................................................................................................................................ 69
HVAC System Types ............................................................................................................................................... 69
Central Air Handler System with Forced Air........................................................................................................ 69
Independent Room Air Conditioning System ...................................................................................................... 70
Split Air Conditioning Systems ............................................................................................................................ 70
Cassette Room Air Conditioning Systems .......................................................................................................... 70
Independent Room Heat Systems ...................................................................................................................... 70

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Design Guide

THIS REPORT, AND ALL DOCUMENTS, RECOMMENDATIONS, COMMUNICATIONS AND OTHER


INFORMATION PROVIDED IN CONNECTION THEREWITH, ARE PROVIDED BY CISCO TO THE RECIPIENT ON
AN "AS IS" BASIS, AND ARE NOT REPRESENTED TO BE COMPLETE OR ACCURATE; AND CISCO DISCLAIMS
ALL REPRESENTATIONS AND WARRANTIES (EXPRESS OR IMPLIED) RELATING TO ALL REPORTS,
DOCUMENTS, RECOMMENDATIONS, COMMUNICATIONS AND OTHER INFORMATION GENERATED IN
CONNECTION THEREWITH, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO THE WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY,
NON-INFRINGEMENT AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE.

THE RECIPIENT EXPRESSLY ACKNOWLEDGES AND AGREES THAT IT IS SOLELY RESPONSIBLE FOR THE
DETERMINATION AND IMPLEMENTATION OF ITS NETWORK, DESIGN, BUSINESS, AND OTHER
REQUIREMENTS. EXCEPT AS OTHERWISE PROVIDED IN A SEPARATE WRITTEN AGREEMENT, CISCO
SHALL NOT BE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE FAILURE OF ANY REPORT OR RELATED DOCUMENT,
RECOMMENDATION OR COMMUNICATION TO MEET RECIPIENT’S NETWORK, DESIGN, BUSINESS, OR
OTHER REQUIREMENTS. IN NO EVENT SHALL CISCO BE LIABLE FOR THE ACCURACY OR COMPLETENESS
OF THE INFORMATION CONTAINED IN ANY REPORT OR OTHER INFORMATION PROVIDED IN CONNECTION
THEREWITH.

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Design Guide

Introduction

What Is Immersive Cisco TelePresence?


Immersive Cisco TelePresence is a real-time, life-size, interactive meeting experience that enables participants in
different cities and parts of the world to come together in one meeting across all geographies and time zones. It is
unique in that all details of the meeting experience are carefully planned in advance — using the best practices in this
guide — to provide a natural experience that puts people first and technology seamlessly in the background.

Some people categorize any video conferencing system that provides high-definition (HD) video and wideband audio
as telepresence, but Cisco TelePresence is different from video conferencing because it can deliver an experience
free from distractions. The key to this experience is Immersive Cisco TelePresence room design coupled with Cisco
TelePresence technology.

Note: For more information about the differences between telepresence and videoconferencing, see Cisco
TelePresence Fundamentals (Cisco Press, 2009), which discusses what separates telepresence from video
conferencing, including the history of these technologies.

How Is Cisco TelePresence Used?


Regardless of the economic outlook, companies seek technologies that enable them to improve business results and
reduce operating costs. The premium experience of Immersive Cisco TelePresence spurs business results and
savings by providing a practical and enjoyable alternative to physical travel. The following are common business uses
of Cisco TelePresence:

● Communicate more frequently and more effectively with customers, partners, and employees.
● Speed decision making among geographically dispersed teams by allowing them to meet regularly without
travel.
● Collaborate more effectively on projects.
● Increase intimacy with customers through intracompany meetings that are a normal part of the business day
without disruptive travel.
● Reduce or eliminate physical access issues such as allowing additional personnel into secure buildings for a
meeting.
● Lower operating costs by replacing business travel with a life-like virtual meeting.
● Increase productivity by giving employees time to work on projects that would otherwise be lost during travel.
● Build corporate identity across geographies.

Characteristics of Immersive Cisco TelePresence Rooms


An Immersive Cisco TelePresence room is an environment that is completely dedicated to Cisco TelePresence,
provides continuity, and meets Immersive Cisco TelePresence room design recommendations. Immersive rooms or
environments offer the best and most natural Cisco TelePresence meeting experience because they are predictable
in their meeting quality and free from distractions. Implementing a dedicated, room with correct lighting, room color,
and acoustics — and remediation of variables that can distract from a meeting — results in a room that provides the
highest level of ease-of-use for participants. These rooms are ideal for very important meetings where communication
and body language are needed to be viewed without distractions, resulting in an overall seamless experience that is
like all of the participants being in the same room.

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Design Guide

The advantage of an Immersive Cisco TelePresence room is that there are no variables to consider — nothing that
will distract participants during the meeting. Everything is 100 percent designed for a Cisco TelePresence meeting.
Lighting is designed to produce the best image on the display, colors and adornments are correctly positioned,
seating positions are well defined, and the network is designed for the best quality and highest availability. When a
participant walks into a purpose-designed Immersive Cisco TelePresence room, the participant knows where to sit, is
in view on camera, and is already correctly positioned with regard to microphones and speakers. Ultimately,
participants have a level of comfort and familiarity when they enter another Immersive Cisco TelePresence room.
Even if the colors, adornments, or room size are slightly different than what participants are used to, they
nevertheless should find the environment familiar and be able to place a call in a new Immersive Cisco TelePresence
room just as if they were in an Immersive Cisco TelePresence room that they had visited before.

How to Use This Guide


For an Immersive Cisco TelePresence experience, preparation of the room before installation of a Cisco
TelePresence endpoint is crucial because poor lighting, unremediated acoustic issues, and glaring or distracting
room colors all interfere with the experience. Furthermore, insufficient or incorrect lighting leads to fuzzy video
capture no matter how well tuned the cameras are or how efficient the network is. This guide describes each element
needed for an Immersive Cisco TelePresence experience.

Additionally, this guide outlines room selection criteria to help facilities planners chose the best room for the Cisco
TelePresence deployment. Individuals involved with any portion of Cisco TelePresence deployment, room selection,
or room remediation will find this information invaluable.

This guide should be read prior to completing the Cisco TelePresence


prequalification questionnaires and Room Readiness Assessment
(RRA).
Combined with an Immersive Cisco TelePresence endpoint, the Immersive Cisco TelePresence room design
principles for lighting, sound, and aesthetics presented in this guide result in an experience that is so life-like and
realistic that meeting participants will be able to:

● Focus all their attention on the people in the meeting and what is being said or shown, instead of on
distractions caused by acoustic problems or lights that are too dim or too bright.
● With the clarity of life-like audio and video, experience most of the same emotional and psychological
interactions that occur when people meet face-to-face, instead of dealing with technological distractions.

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Design Guide

Immersive Cisco TelePresence

Continuity in Cisco TelePresence


Feeling like you are in the same room with the participants on the other side of a Cisco TelePresence meeting is
called Immersive Cisco TelePresence. Continuity is what creates this feeling, and if continuity principles are applied,
although rooms may be designed differently, the meeting participants will have a familiar, consistent experience.

As an example of continuity, consider food and coffee franchises. One of the reasons franchising is so successful is
because customers are already familiar with the environment when they enter a new store in a different location.
From Toronto to Barcelona to Jakarta, franchises create a continuous experience for their customers. For example,
Starbucks uses the same earth-toned colors, wood trim, type of counters, and general ordering procedure across its
locations. The core drink and snack menu is generally the same. The counters for adding cream and sugar to drinks
are generally the same. Details such as lighting and temperature are also consistent. Even so, no two locations are
exactly the same. The square footage of a store may be larger, smaller, or arranged differently than in other stores.
Some stores may have couches while others do not. However, when a customer walks into a Starbucks store, the
experience is the same and familiar across all Starbucks locations. This is continuity.

Continuity Implementation: Lighting, Acoustics, and Aesthetics


Immersive Cisco TelePresence considers the entire room environment and uses continuity to create a familiar,
consistent experience for all participants. In other words, Immersive Cisco TelePresence matches the experiences of
local and remote participants using continuity principles.

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Design Guide

Figure 1. Continuity In Cisco TelePresence Rooms

Los Angeles Kiev

Specifically, the elements of continuity in Immersive Cisco TelePresence room design are:

● Lighting
● Acoustics
● Aesthetics
When these are consistent, there is continuity. This guide discusses each of these elements and how to apply them
to create an immersive meeting.

The more continuity there is between multiple environments, the more immersive the experience will feel. Remember
that the idea is to make the local room and remote room as similar in their core design elements as possible. When
successful, the meeting participants will feel like they are in similar rooms sharing the same experience. If two totally
different rooms, in different countries and different time zones, have continuity, the meeting participants will focus on
the meeting rather than the technology or room. This experience is the ultimate goal of Immersive Cisco
TelePresence. When designing a Cisco TelePresence environment, regardless of the size of the endpoint, one
should always consider the environment of the endpoint and if the environment supports the elements of continuity.

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Design Guide

Lighting

Lighting is one of the most important factors in building continuity across different environments. Variations in lighting
are instantly perceived by the eye and can generate undesirable effects in capturing and displaying video. For
example, room to room, lighting may be darker, more blue, more yellow, or with or without shadows and hotspots.
However, if the lighting is consistent from room to room, the Cisco TelePresence cameras capture the same image
quality across all rooms and create a visually harmonious experience.

Lighting sets the overall tone and feeling of the space and is fundamentally important for capturing the high-quality
video used in Cisco TelePresence. Lighting also provides aesthetic appeal.

Note: Improper lighting in a room can create grainy or pixilated video even if the network carrying the Cisco
TelePresence traffic is operating perfectly.

The Cisco TelePresence lighting recommendations, in conjunction with the integrated endpoint lighting components,
take into consideration the participant seating locations and placement of lighting to ensure that appropriate
illumination levels are achieved without overexposure or shadowing, and that the environment provides for the best
overall video quality and immersive experience.

Figure 2. Cisco TelePresence Lighting Design

To better understand lighting for Cisco TelePresence, this chapter discusses the following areas:

● Lighting theory
● Application of video production lighting to Cisco TelePresence
● Application of commercial office lighting to Cisco TelePresence
● Cisco TelePresence lighting
● Energy efficiency

Lighting Theory
This section describes the main concepts and terms used in lighting theory in order to be able to use them in Cisco
TelePresence lighting design.

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Design Guide

Color Temperature
Light, regardless of the source, also conveys color. Outdoor light has a blue color temperature, whereas the
integrated lighting of a CTS Immersive TelePresence endpoint emits a white light. Color temperature measures the
spectral properties of a light source, regardless of whether or not the human eye is sensitive to it.

Unlike cameras and video systems, the human visual system is adept at quickly correcting for changes in the color
temperature of light. Many different kinds of light can seem ‘white’ to the human eye, even when they actually have
different color temperatures, because the human eye changes aperture and blends light colors to produce an
optimum picture in dark and bright conditions. Cameras, however, cannot adjust to such changes, and so maintaining
a consistent color temperature enhances the quality and consistency of the image that is captured and transmitted.

As shown in the figure below, lower color temperatures, such as 3500 Kelvin (for example, from incandescent lights),
produce a warmer yellow or red light. Higher color temperatures, such as 5000 or 6500 Kelvin, which are often used
in video production studios, produce a cooler blue light.

Figure 3. Kelvin Color Temperature Scale

Generally in TV studios, actors are lit with very warm or very cool lighting at very high intensities (2000 lux or higher).
You can expect very bright (and annoying) lights when you are in a studio environment. Since an Immersive Cisco
TelePresence room is not a studio, a greater amount of comfort is taken into consideration.

Through video quality testing and user feedback, the color temperature of 4000 Kelvin was chosen for Cisco
TelePresence because it is the closest color temperature to that of pure white for producing high-quality video without
being overly taxing to human vision or modifying the natural hues of human skin tones. If only 4100 Kelvin lighting is
available, this is also acceptable. Using 4000/4100 Kelvin for all lighting in an Immersive Cisco TelePresence room
ensures that the white levels match and are processed and displayed well by the Cisco TelePresence endpoint.

Color Rendering Index


The color rendering index (CRI) is a measureable characteristic of a light regarding its ability to illuminate an object
and reproduce its natural colors accurately. It indicates the quality of a light source and its ability to not alter color.
The higher the CRI value, the greater the quality of the lamp. The highest CRI value attainable is 100.

A CRI of 82 or higher is recommended for Immersive Cisco TelePresence.

Pigment and Light Color


For video technology, color needs to be addressed by both pigment color and lighting color.

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Design Guide

Pigment color is in respect to paint. The chemistry of paint is made up of three components: hue, saturation, and
value. It is the variation in these three components that creates differences in color ranges.

● Hue refers to the pure spectrum colors commonly referred to by the color names red, orange, yellow, blue,
green, and violet.
● Saturation is how intense or vibrant a color is. This is also known as chroma or purity. For example, red and
royal blue are more saturated than pink and sky blue.
● Value is how light or dark a color is.
The light reflectance value (LRV) of an individual color indicates the amount of light and heat that the color will reflect
back into the room. LRV values range from 0 to 100 percent, with absolute black at 0 percent and pure white at 100
percent reflectivity. However, the blackest black available as a paint color has an LRV of approximately 5 percent,
and the whitest white has an LRV of about 80 to 90 percent, because in practical terms, absolute black and pure
white do not exist in paint or dye pigments. Yellows can also have LRVs close to the values for pure whites.

The color temperature, intensity, and positioning of a room’s practical lights affect the way that pigment color is
perceived over Cisco TelePresence. The color of the light source influences the perceived colors used in a room,
therefore paint seen under different lighting looks different to both video and the human eye. In addition, a camera’s
and a monitor’s interpretation of color will be different from the interpretation by the human eye. Also, the color on
monitors appears as a variation of the color the eye perceives when looking at the same room while standing in the
®
room, so the Cisco recommended colors that have been fully tested to be consistent both in the room and over
video. These exact colors are available in the Cisco TelePresence Wall Color Guide on Cisco.com.

Lumens, Lux, and the Candela Curve


When considering lighting, the concepts of lumens and lux should be well understood.

The intensity of light emitted directly from a source in a specific direction is measured in the scientific unit lumens. Lux
is a measurement of the overall intensity of light within an environment for any given area or distance from the
source. Think of lumens as the brightness of the lighting source and of lux as the amount of light in an environment
as perceived by the human eye.

Lux is also expressed as the Candela distribution curve or, simply, a Candela curve. A Candela distribution curve is
often included in lamp manufacturer specifications and is a representation of the output in lumens at different angles.
Curves for fluorescent lights often provide two (or more) curves, one for the intensity parallel to the fixture axis and
the other for intensity perpendicular to the axis. The curve also shows whether the light is concentrated below the
fixture or widely spread. This measurement is important as it indicates how much direct light and indirect light will be
emitted into the room by the light source. The Candela distribution curve enables you to determine the
appropriateness of a fixture for the lighting application you are considering and, if you choose that fixture, its proper
location in the room (Figure 4).

Figure 4. Candela Curve

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Design Guide

In designing for Cisco TelePresence, the light fixtures with the greatest area of light diffusion above 60 degrees are
preferred because they provide a greater level of vertical lux and more even light distribution. This choice is important
because it reduces areas of light concentration, minimizing hotspots and shadowing, and can also reduce the total
number of light fixtures needed for proper illumination.

How to Measure Lighting Levels


Measuring lighting or the illumination of an environment requires the use of an incident lux meter or foot-candle
meter. However, the lux is the standard SI unit whereas the foot-candle is not. For this reason, we’ll refer to light
levels in lux rather than foot-candle.

Note: A foot-candle describes the same measurement as lux and can be converted to lux by the following formula
as needed: 1 foot-candle = 10.764 lux.

For calculating lux based on meters use the following:

Lux = (lumens / meters squared)

This is an important formula to understand when designing lighting because often fixtures will be specified by the
lumens they output in a given direction. In order to determine how much light will reach the participants face, tabletop,
back wall, or any other area of the room, the above formula is required. For example, a lamp rated at 3000 lumens
will produce the following:

750 lux at 2 meters, which is 750 lux = (3000 lumens / 2 meters squared)

Lux meters are available in many varieties and may have special features such as recording, noting maximum and
minimum levels, and averaging illumination levels over a period of time or location.

Figure 5. Lux Meter

You will use a lux meter in assessing and remediating the lighting of your selected Immersive Cisco TelePresence
room.

Application of Video Production Lighting to Cisco TelePresence


It is important to consider the basics of video production lighting as it relates to proper illumination for video in order to
better understand the challenges of lighting for Immersive Cisco TelePresence. In broadcast studios and on
Hollywood sets, the main purpose of lighting is to provide the required illumination for the picture to be processed
correctly by the camera. The lighting must also provide accurate depiction of objects in the scene, including their
spatial relationship by showing depth within the scene. To accomplish this, it is critical to control the intensity, color,
and distribution of lighting so that it produces well-defined, high-quality images. This is generally achieved by the use
of the three-point lighting, with a key light, a fill light, and a back light. This three-point lighting method illuminates the
subject, provides shape, and separates the subject from the background.

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Design Guide

Figure 6. Video Production Lighting

Key Light
The key light is generally the dominant light source on the subject and is the brightest source of light. This is the main
light used to illuminate the subject. Often, because this light is twice as bright as any other lighting, it creates hard
shadows and contrast. It is also the most important light on the set as it provides the source of light from which the
camera is calibrated as well as the other lighting on the set.

The key light is generally not positioned at an angle low enough to illuminate the subject’s face and this creates
shadows over the subject’s eyes creating a ‘raccoon-like’ effect. If the shadows are not illuminated by a fill light
(discussed below), the whites of the eyes are also lost along with any possibility of eye contact. In a film production
world where dramatic effects are required and eye contact is not, this is an acceptable lighting solution.

In Immersive Cisco TelePresence, the key light is achieved by the standard commercial ceiling fixtures already
installed in the environment or additional fixtures that are added to the ceiling. However, the use of direct-lighting
fixtures increases the shadowing effects. Since reduction of this effect for better eye contact is desired, Cisco highly
recommends replacing direct-lighting fixtures, if present, with indirect fixtures that balance light throughout the room
and soften shadows.

Fill Light
Fill lighting is generally a reflected light within the studio or set that softens shadows and fills dark areas on the
subject being filmed. This is also referred to as ambient light or global illumination. Fill lighting is accomplished by
using reflectors and diffusers such as soft boxes and other tools in the gaffer’s arsenal (the gaffer is the person in
charge of lighting on a production set). Without adequate fill light, shadows appear as solid black on camera due to
the camera's limited dynamic range. Adequate fill light is imperative to avoid this.

With an Immersive Cisco TelePresence endpoint, the fill light is provided by the endpoint. The main difference
between the Cisco TelePresence endpoint integrated lighting and a traditional production fill light is that Cisco
TelePresence participants must be illuminated without eyestrain for long durations, versus the very bright lighting
used for traditional fill lights. To accomplish this, Cisco has developed light sources that are at an extremely low
angle, allowing the light to illuminate facial features with a softer and lower intensity than traditional production-style
fill lights. This allows for excellent illumination for prolonged durations without eyestrain.

Back Light
To help the subject stand out from the background and promote the perception of depth, back lighting is used. Back
lighting is performed in a two primary ways. First, a light is cast onto the back of the subject, illuminating its outer
edge or contour. This lighting gives the subject a sharp edge that is clearly brighter than the background and allows
the subject to stand out. This type of lighting is called a rim light because it places a rim of light on the subject.
Second, to provide additional separation of the subject from background, the background itself is lighted with less

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Design Guide

intensity than the subject in the foreground (sometimes this is referred to as the fourth light). It is also lit with subtle
patterns or angles to provide reference points of focus for the camera, and ultimately the human eye, to perceive the
separation of space and depth within the scene.

The standard commercial ceiling lights in a Cisco TelePresence room also help to accomplish this goal. Since the
fixtures are mounted above the subject (in the ceiling or reflecting from the ceiling) this creates a natural top or rim
light to the subject. Also, the natural gradation of light that is cast on the back wall as the light loses intensity from the
ceiling to the floor creates a background that is illuminated properly to promote depth perception. This separation of
subject and background can be further enhanced by adding wall wash lighting to the back wall, which can help to
make the participants stand out even more on camera.

Application of Commercial Office Lighting to Cisco TelePresence


The goal of illumination in a commercial office environment is to adequately illuminate the work surface or desktop as
well as walking paths. (Office lighting is also known as task lighting.)

Office lighting provides the main lighting in conference rooms, offices, and over cubicles. These fixtures often have
more direct lighting than diffuse or indirect lighting. Commercial offices often incorporate other lighting such as
indirect perimeter fixtures or smaller diffused ceiling lights to add ambient or general illumination. In areas where
greater focus is wanted to highlight the display of items such as signage, artwork, or simply for visual interest, specific
lighting may be used such as spot lighting, walls washes, or sconces.

In recent years, the use of indirect fixtures for task and ambient lighting has become more common due to their
efficiency and to reduce carbon footprint. Creating visual interest, however, still requires the use of direct-lighting
fixtures, but technologies such as LED and CFL can provide accent lighting with lower power consumption.

Levels of illumination for an office space usually range from 200 to 800 lux on the horizontal plane, depending on the
location of the room within the building and the tasks performed within those areas. Lighting on the vertical plane is
often not measured or considered in office environments but is necessary, along with lighting on the horizontal plane,
for Immersive Cisco TelePresence.

Immersive Cisco TelePresence Lighting


Immersive Cisco TelePresence lighting uses both video production and commercial lighting principles, and the main
goal is to illuminate the meeting participants with enough light for the camera. Key and back lighting comes from the
overhead lighting, and fill lighting comes from the Cisco TelePresence Immersive Endpoint, as shown in Figure 7.

Figure 7. Cisco TelePresence Lighting in Use

There are two methods for measuring light levels in an Immersive Cisco TelePresence room:

● Facial lighting. Point the light meter sensor at the camera from where the subject will be sitting or standing.
This accurately identifies how much light is on the subject from the cameras’ perspective. If the subject is a
person, the light meter sensor is held to the persons face, perpendicular to the floor and pointed towards the

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Design Guide

camera. This type of measurement is commonly used in video production lighting and measures the vertical
plane lighting.
Facial lighting should be 300-400 lux on the vertical plane.
● Shoulder lighting. Point the meter at the ceiling, parallel to the desk surface or floor. (This type of
measurement is commonly used in commercial lighting and measures horizontal plane lighting.)
Shoulder lighting should not exceed 600-800 lux. In other words, it should not exceed twice that of the vertical
plane lighting.

Figure 8. Measuring Lighting in a Cisco TelePresence Room

Callout Description
1 Fill lighting comes from the Immersive Cisco TelePresence lighting façade. Key and back lighting comes from
the overhead lighting.
2 Measure facial lighting here.
3 Measure shoulder lighting here.

In summary, Immersive Cisco TelePresence rooms should be designed with lighting that is:

● 4000 or 4100 Kelvin color temperature


● CRI index of 82
● Evenly dispersed across the room and does not fluctuate more than 100 lux between room areas
● 300 to 400 lux on the vertical plane (facial lighting)
● 600 to 800 lux on the horizontal plane (shoulder lighting)
It should also be noted that when the Room Remediation Assessment (RRA) for Immersive Cisco TelePresence is
performed, it takes into account additional factors and provides some flexibility in meeting required lighting levels.

Lighting Control Systems


Lighting controls consist of two basic types:

● Switching, which turns lights on and off


● Dimming, which varies intensity

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Design Guide

Both switching and dimming can be manual, automatic, or both. With the correct wiring, you can control individual
lights or sets of lights, a single office or a zone in a large space, or an entire building, and or combination thereof.

Switching is needed to turn lights on and off at appropriate times.

A good use of dimmers is to reduce light levels that are too high, and there are several factors such as room size,
ceiling height, number of light fixtures used, and ceiling tile reflectivity, that quickly raise light levels above
recommended levels. However, take care when selecting a control system or dimmer solution so that it does not
increase the ambient noise levels in the room.

Zoned Switching
Zoned switching is the simplest control strategy, with a number of control zones specified in building codes. Small
offices usually require two zones of control, each separately switched. Two-level control is achieved by wiring
alternate lamps in each fixture into two zones. One switch provides half-level illumination as only half the lamps or
half the luminaries are on, and both switches on provides full intensity. Zoned control of three lamp lights yields three
light levels. Another option is to use multi-level lighting ballasts. Multi-level lighting ballasts permit zoned control
without any of the lamps appearing dark.

Occupancy Sensors
Occupancy sensors detect the presence or absence of occupants and turn lights on and off appropriately. Ultrasonic
sensors emit an inaudible signal and detect motion by the reflection of that signal; they function effectively in
partitioned spaces. Infrared sensors detect occupancy by changes in body-heat patterns; they suffer the least from
nuisance tripping but require line of sight for proper operation and are not suitable around partitions. Sensors can be
mounted on the ceiling or within a wall switch. Occupancy sensors are very cost effective in well-defined areas, such
as private and executive offices with irregular occupancy patterns, and usually can be retrofitted.

Time-of-Day Switching
Time-of-day switching turns off lights according to scheduled occupancy. Various override techniques permit
occupants to keep lights on when working late. Time-of-day switching is particularly useful in large open areas with
fixed working hours and is usually part of a computer-driven building management system.

Photocell Dimming Controls


Photocell dimming controls adjust light output to maintain a specified level of illumination. They require a photocell to
read the light level, a dimming ballast to adjust the electric lighting, and a processor to control the operation.
Photocells can dim electric lighting in the presence of daylight or compensate for the loss in light as lamps age and
dirt accumulates. Photocell dimming is used by some of the most environmentally conscious companies around the
world. However, this type of dimming is still costly and complicated, and to be effective should be included in the
basic architectural planning of a building, not as an energy afterthought.

Multiscene Preset Dimming


Multiscene preset dimming systems control several groups of lights in such spaces as conference rooms and
executive offices. Each scene preset represents a different setting for the lights. However, it is highly recommended
that these systems be set to a single scene for the Cisco TelePresence environment.

Indirect Lighting
The physical design for illumination in an Immersive Cisco TelePresence room can be as simple or as elaborate as
the organization wants as long as the technical specifications are met. Cisco has deliberately not identified specific
lighting manufacturers or fixture model numbers so that organizations have the greatest flexibility in using or adapting
existing fixtures, and in working with local vendors to procure additional lighting as needed. That said, primary

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Design Guide

illumination of the room should be provided by indirect lighting fixtures because of the evenly distributed and diffuse
lighting that these fixtures produce.

Indirect/Direct Lighting Fixtures


The most common indirect/direct fixture style is the center-basket fixture. The center basket refers to the lamp
location residing in the center of the fixture and the lamp shield hanging below the lamps in the center of the fixture,
as shown in the following figure:

Figure 9. Center-Basket Indirect/Direct Fixture

The other common indirect/direct fixture is the side-basket type where the lamps reside on each side of the fixture
with two lamp shields hanging below the lamps on each side of the fixture, as shown in the following figure:

Figure 10. Side-Basket Indirect/Direct Fixture

These types of fixtures become indirect lighting fixtures when opaque lamp shields are used. However, this must be
examined closely because lamp shields can be solid, perforated, micro-perforated, or louvered.

If the lamp shield is solid the fixture will be an indirect fixture, which is the best type for a Cisco TelePresence room. If
the lamp shield has any perforation or louvers, it is either direct or indirect/direct. Some manufacturers offer a choice
in the lamp shield type, and the amount of direct light the fixture produces should be indicated in the fixture product
specification sheet. If available, choose the solid lamp shield. Otherwise, you may accidentally be ordering an
indirect/direct fixture instead.

Indirect/Direct fixtures with perforated lower sections or louvers provide as much as 10 to 30 percent direct downward
light. This amount of direct light can create issues similar and worse than those created by improperly placed direct
fixtures. Indirect/Direct fixtures cannot be placed directly above participants or the Cisco TelePresence endpoint and
still maintain a quality Immersive Cisco TelePresence experience.

If you must use an indirect/direct fixture with a perforated lamp shield, ask the manufacture if they offer diffusers,
which can be inserted into the lamp shield. Inserting an opaque diffuser into the lamp shield may control and reduce
the percentage of direct light output. Also, diffusers affect the overall lux output of the fixture so be sure to calculate
this variation when designing the lighting layout.

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Design Guide

Figure 11. Recessed Indirect Lighting

If using recessed indirect lighting, Cisco recommends 2 x 2-foot (0.61 x 0.61-meter) or 2 x 4-foot (0.61 x 1.22-meter)
panels. The main difference due to fixture size is illumination intensity; the smaller the size, the less intense the
illumination. It will generally take twice as many 2 x 2-foot (0.61 x 0.61-meter) fixtures as 2 x 4-foot (0.61 x 1.22-
meter) fixtures to provide the same amount of illumination. However, there is a greater flexibility in placement when
using 2 x 2-foot (0.61 x 0.61-meter) fixtures. If there are obstructions within a ceiling, the smaller fixtures are more
easily installed. Also, since the participants sit at a curved table, it is easier to follow that curvature when using 2 x 2-
foot (0.61 x 0.61-meter) fixtures. Following the table curvature is not required, but can improve the even dispersion of
light.

Recessed indirect lighting should not be placed directly above the Cisco TelePresence endpoint or participant seating
locations. Instead, offset the lighting fixtures from the Cisco TelePresence endpoint and seating locations as shown in
the following figures:

Figure 12. Recessed Indirect Lighting Layout Example

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Design Guide

Figure 13. 2 x 4-Foot (0.61 x 1.22 Meter) Recessed Indirect Lighting Layout Following Curve of Table

Figure 14. 2 x 2-Foot (0.61 x 0.61-Meter) Recessed Indirect Lighting Layout Following Curve of Table

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Design Guide

Pendant-Style Indirect-Lighting Fixtures


Another type of indirect-lighting fixture is a pendant-style fixture as shown in the following figure:

Figure 15. Example of Pendant-Style Indirect-Lighting Fixture

This type of lighting fixture is becoming more common across commercial office spaces because of its efficient ability
to provide very evenly diffused light across a large space. For that same reason, these fixtures perform very well for
Immersive Cisco TelePresence rooms.

The performance of this fixture highly depends on its placement and the reflectivity of the ceiling. This type of lighting
fixture is designed to hang 12 to 18 inches (0.30 to 0.46 meters) below the ceiling (but not limited to that distance),
and the lamp is oriented upward, reflecting its light output off the ceiling to illuminate the rest of the room. The
distance of the fixture from the ceiling can drastically change the overall illumination of the entire room and must be
considered when deciding the height at which the fixtures will hang from the ceiling. The closer a fixture is mounted to
the ceiling, the greater the intensity of light that is cast onto the ceiling and reflected below. Lowering the fixture from
the ceiling lowers the intensity of the illumination.

When using an indirect pendant lighting fixture, the reflective properties of the ceiling must also be considered.
Whether the ceiling is a painted hard surface or consists of commercial acoustic tiles, it will have a specific LRV.
Cisco recommends the use of acoustic ceiling tiles when possible with a 70 to 90 percent LRV. The LRV is also a
large factor in the choice of lamp wattage. It is safer to over-light a room and use a dimmer in the lighting controls
than to install too little lighting and have to redesign the room to install more illumination.

Figure 16. Example of Pendant-Style Indirect-Lighting Fixtures in Use

Note: High ceilings are ideal when using a pendant-type lighting fixture.

It should be noted that these fixtures are very effective in achieving illumination in a non-invasive manner but do have
some drawbacks. Incidental direct light can be cast from the ceiling onto the plasma screens, projection screen,
tabletop, or participant’s heads and shoulders. Therefore, placement location in the ceiling is a critical factor. When
working with pendant fixtures, place the first front-most lighting fixture close enough to the endpoint so that any direct
reflections will not hit the plasma or LCD screens, and place the second front-most fixture far enough behind the

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Design Guide

front-row participants to avoid direct light on the tops of the heads of the participants. Actual distance depends on
ceiling height, ceiling reflectivity, lamp wattage, number of lamps, and fixture performance.

The following figure shows an example placement of Indirect Pendant Lighting:

Figure 17. Indirect Pendant Lighting Layout Example

Accent Lighting
Often, especially in larger rooms, you may not get even coverage of light across the back wall with indirect fixtures.
This situation can result in a dark back wall and shadows in the back corners. If there is too much contrast, or if the
shadows are overly dark, the Cisco TelePresence video codec has a challenge in encoding the video and may lower
the video quality transmitted.

However, if the room and back wall are lighted exactly the same, the image will have great detail but may look flat
because the human eye and video cameras require a reference point or change in lighting to distinguish the
difference between the foreground and the background.

One way to manage this situation is to add some recessed can lights or pendant spotlights to illuminate the back wall.

Figure 18. Accent Lighting

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Design Guide

Direct lighting pointed at a wall itself is known as ‘wall wash’ and can dramatically improve the overall look and quality
of the video.

Figure 19. Wall Wash

When wall wash is introduced, it increases the detail of the background, fills in shadows, and provides a third element
of light which boosts the camera’s perception of depth while lowering overall contrast. This results in high video
quality with great detail and low contrast. Not only will the participants be very distinct from the background, but the
background will have greater interest.

Wall wash can also be used to enhance or call attention to specific elements of room design. If a customer chooses
to incorporate signage, pictures, wall hangings, furniture, etc., the wall wash accent lighting can be directed to
specifically call added attention to these elements.

Another type of accent lighting that can add visual interest is a wall sconce. These are not generally placed in a room
for added light but instead are an aesthetic finish providing character to the room. These are available in any number
of designs and light outputs. As long as this type of fixture does not produce hotspots (bright areas above 800 lux)
within the camera view, sconces can be used as desired.

Asymmetrical Lighting Fixtures


Another type of recessed indirect fixture that has not been discussed is an asymmetrical fixture. These fixtures are
identical to the recessed indirect fixtures previously discussed but with one unique feature: they produce a greater
amount of light in one direction versus the other direction. Asymmetric fixtures are commonly used for video
communication applications such as Cisco TelePresence because they provide a very even distribution of light on the
participants without spilling light onto the displays. Any light cast on a display (especially plasma screens) can wash
out the on-screen image. The other common use of such fixtures is for wall wash. However, Cisco does not
recommend this type of fixture for wall wash because they provide a blanket of light that can produce flat-looking
video.

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Design Guide

An asymmetric fixture has only one lamp and one lamp shield, on only one side of the fixture as shown in the
following figure:

Figure 20. Asymmetric Side Basket (One Side Only)

A limitation of asymmetrical lighting fixtures is that they do not provide illumination behind the displays when they are
properly oriented. It may seem odd that it is important to provide illumination behind the displays, but this lighting
plays an important role in the overall comfort of the room. The contrast of a dark cavity behind the displays and bright
displays in the front can strain the eye. Providing illumination on the wall behind the displays through bounced light or
wall wash relieves this strain and promotes the vividness of the displays. Therefore, asymmetrical fixtures are often
placed in configurations similar to those of standard recessed indirect lights but slightly forward of the participants for
even illumination and bounced light off the wall behind the displays. This effect can be enhanced by the use of highly
reflective ceiling tiles. In some cases, in a room that uses asymmetric fixtures, the wall behind the displays can be
painted white and the rest of the room painted with the standard Cisco recommended colors to reflect more light off
the wall behind the displays. This configuration is acceptable and very efficient.

Figure 21. Asymmetric Dispersion of Light

Callout Description
1 Opaque or microperforated lamp shield in an asymmetric lighting fixture.

Ceiling Soffits and Lighting Coves


In many instances a Cisco TelePresence endpoint may be installed in an executive environment that must maintain a
specific look and feel. In these cases, a more liberal lighting design can be used. Good lighting can be achieved
through many different designs. However, the basic rules for Cisco TelePresence lighting still apply.

A common design that has custom appeal and sophistication and yet yields results that meet the requirements for
Cisco TelePresence lighting are ceiling soffits or lighting coves. These are usually built into the ceiling or walls during
construction and have hidden, indirect fixtures that illuminate upward to fill the ceiling with light. This light reflects off
the ceiling (usually a matte white) and illuminates the entire room very evenly. Since this method of lighting requires a

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Design Guide

cove to be built around the perimeter of the room, it easily lends itself to the addition of wall-wash fixtures as well.
This lighting design provides an elegant look within the room and produces ideal lighting for excellent video. This is
just one of many designs that can be developed to illuminate a Cisco TelePresence room. The general rule is to use
dimmable indirect lighting for Cisco TelePresence rooms but the details are up to the designer.

Figure 22. Ceiling Soffit and Wall Wash Use in Cisco TelePresence Lighting Design

Energy Efficiency
Recently there has been a change in general commercial lighting design due to the motivation of reducing energy
usage and environmental impact. This shift has manifested in local building code changes that reduce the overall
wattage budget for commercial lighting. This can affect your Cisco TelePresence environment because lighting is a
critical factor and the local code may restrict your ability to provide adequate lighting. If this is the case for your
Immersive Cisco TelePresence room, use of asymmetrical fixtures in combination with a high-output ballast and
lamps is the most efficient solution. This combinationcan produce a great amount of light at a lower wattage.

Conclusion
Regardless of fixture choices, indirect fluorescent lighting fixtures are ideal and provide the best results for ambience
and amount of dispersed lighting. Use of dimmable ballasts and dimmers is highly recommended to adjust the
intensity of fluorescent lamps without needing to precisely calculate the proper number and wattages of fixtures.
Color temperature is also a very important factor as it helps to unify the environment and provide a higher-quality
experience. 4000/4100 Kelvin fluorescent lights are recommended to match the built-in Cisco TelePresence endpoint
lighting.

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Design Guide

Acoustics

Acoustics also play a major role in continuity and Immersive Cisco TelePresence room design. Sound quality can
vary dramatically depending on environmental factors such as the size of the room, hard surfaces in a room, and
ambient and outside noise. Microphone placement and the location of the speaker in relation to the microphone also
affect sound quality.

Imagine being in a Cisco TelePresence conference and the other TelePresence participants all have similar, high
quality rooms with good acoustics. Now a cell phone participant is conferenced in. Instantly there is a loss of
continuity in the meeting. The Cisco TelePresence meeting participants can all still hear and understand each other,
but the cell phone participant is distant, cutting in and out and talking over background noise with overall bad audio
quality. You do not even have to see the participant to notice the loss of continuity. Therefore, when designing a
room, consider its acoustic features. If one room is very quiet and subdued, with acoustic panels on the wall, make
sure that other rooms have a similar sound quality. Alternatively, if the sound quality in one room is bright and lively,
adjust the other rooms to that sound quality.

Acoustics are an important characteristic of any meeting space regardless of the involvement of audio-video systems.
Proper acoustics allow the environment to preserve and deliver sound with clarity and accuracy to the human ear
from the desired source. For example, in a concert hall, the orchestra and performers on stage are the desired source
of sound, and not the audience. Whether the source is a person, a speaker system, or any other instrument,
intelligibility of sound can be preserved or impeded based on the acoustics of the environment.

The acoustic characteristics of a room prior to preparation for Cisco TelePresence may promote sound that is
muffled, reverberant, or choppy. These undesirable effects are often due to noise from airflow from heating and
cooling systems, reverberation, or intermittent exterior noise from outside or adjacent rooms. In extreme cases where
acoustic factors are not remediated, the audio-detection algorithms used to facilitate switching in multipoint meetings
can be adversely affected, resulting in false switching to a participant who is not speaking, or delay in switching to a
participant who is speaking.

The acoustic characteristics of a room require close attention during the room selection and design process.
Preservation of spatial audio is critical to maintain a life-like virtual meeting. To achieve this objective special
emphasis is laid on acoustic elements such as ambient noise, reverberation, and sound isolation.

Acoustic Theory and Background


This section discusses how to preserve and modify sound waves for an accurate and ideal Immersive Cisco
TelePresence experience.

Sound Pressure Level in Decibels


The intensity or amplitude of sound is measured in terms of sound pressure level (SPL), an acoustic scale
independent of frequency and expressed in decibels (dB), where 0 dB is the threshold of human hearing. SPL can
also be described as a logarithmic measurement of the root mean square (RMS), or average power, pressure of a
particular sound relative to silence at 0dB. Cisco focuses on dB SPL for room assessment and remediation.

Related to SPL is a more detailed measurement called the noise criteria (NC), which is the specific dB level of
multiple octave-band center frequencies. This measurement is highly useful in understanding the sound within an
environment, especially in troubleshooting complicated acoustics. This measurement is not required for reviewing
Cisco TelePresence environments unless unique issues are present, in which case it can be used in addition to dB
SPL.

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Design Guide

The SPL of an enclosed environment can be measured by taking the average amplitude of all sound frequencies
across the entire environment. Sound dissipates over distance, and therefore, the distance at which the
measurement is taken from the sound source must also be noted. For example, if you were to measure the sound
from an HVAC diffuser, you would hold the acquisition microphone 1 meter from the vent and take the SPL reading in
dB, as shown in the following figure. If the measurement is 45 dB, then it should be noted as 45 dB at 1 meter from
the source.

Figure 23. Measuring Sound from an HVAC System in a Cisco TelePresence Room

Callout Description
1 Sound measurement device

Human Range of Hearing Frequencies


Hearing is one of two human senses that Cisco TelePresence stimulates to evoke the feeling of sharing the same
place and time. The ears receive various sounds and vibrations from the environment that carry details referencing
time and space. The number of vibrations or cycles per second produced is called the frequency of the sound. These
frequencies are measured in hertz (Hz). A sound with a low frequency has a low pitch, such as a large drum, while a
sound with a high frequency will have a high pitch, such as a piccolo.

Human Hearing
Humans have a limited range of frequencies in which they can hear. The human ear is generally sensitive to sound
waves with frequencies in the range from 20 Hz to 20 kHz, which is known as the human hearing range. For
reference, the following table describes the type of sounds that reside in the different frequency ranges.

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Design Guide

Table 1. Sounds in Various Frequency Ranges

Frequency Range Sound


20 to 32 Hz The human threshold of hearing, more likely to be felt rather than heard.
32 to 90 Hz Rhythm frequencies, the range of lower and upper bass notes.
512 Hz to 2.5 kHz Range of most human speech. These are the critical voice frequencies.
3 to 8 kHz Range in which plosive and sibilant sounds reside and give more presence to voice.
8 to 20 kHz Upper thresholds of human hearing, including tones like bells and cymbals.

When hearing is discussed, it is should be understood what or who is doing the hearing. When sound is measured on
a scientific quantitative level, it is different than when humans are the ones doing the hearing. The following table
contains examples of these two methods, scientific and human hearing, in the measurement of sound:

Table 2. Scientific Measurement and Human Perception of Sound

Measurement Scientific Quantitative Human Perception


Frequency of sound Specific Frequency of a Sound Wave, for Tone or Pitch, for example a high pitched
example 4kHz. sound.
Amplitude of sound Amplitude of air pressure created by sound Loudness or Volume of the Sound, for
waves, for example 90 dB SPL. example, very loud or with high volume.

The main reason to understand this difference in the quantitative characteristics of sound and the human perception
of sound, known as also as psychoacoustics, is that the human perception is not a linear scale and ultimately quite
complex. In scientific terms, the human ear does not have a flat spectral response to all sound pressure levels.
Generally, the lower range of frequencies has a lower perception of volume in comparison to higher frequencies. For
example, a 250-Hz sound wave at 60 dB seems more quiet to a person than a 2 kHz sound wave at the same decibel
level. Therefore, sound pressure levels are frequency weighted so that the measured level matches the perceived
levels more closely.

Figure 24. Frequency Response of the Human Ear

In sound processing, the commonly used weighting schemes (or filters) are A-weighting and C-weighting. Using the
A-weighting filter on a sound pressure meter attempts to match the meters response to that of the human ear. An
A-weighted sound pressure level is expressed as SPL dBA. The C-weighted filter is flatter and better matches the
human ear’s response to lower frequencies at a greater amplitude. This filter can be used to measure peak noise

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Design Guide

levels that low frequency machinery may make. The sound pressure level measured with C-weighted filtering is
expressed as SPL dBC.

Note: For more detailed information on this subject, research the equal-loudness contour, which is not discussed
in this guide.

In a Cisco TelePresence environment, both the A-weighted and C-weighted sound pressure levels are measured in
various zones of the room over a preset interval. (Your Cisco TelePresence or Video Advanced Technology Certified
Partner is trained to perform this type of assessment.)

Human Speech
A very interesting fact is that the range of human hearing is much broader than the range of human speech; the
human voice ranges from only about 500 Hz to 2 kHz. This range of human speech is further defined as the critical
voice frequency range. It is within this range that the perceived volume or loudness of a person’s voice is measured.
This can be defined as the root-mean-square (RMS) value of the human voice and the area of greatest amplitude.
Human speech on average is at an amplitude between 60-65 dBA SPL, so it is important to measure this range in
any environment where human speech is the primary source of audio. For sound to be intelligible, the amplitude of
the intended source must be at least 20 to 30 dBA higher than that of the background and ambient sounds, and in
this case the voice must be this much louder than the background noise. Therefore, if human speech is 60 to 65 dBA
on average, the background sounds should be lower than 40 to 45 dBA. This is not a specific requirement for
Immersive Cisco TelePresence but a fact related to the quality of human hearing and speech intelligibility. The
greater the amplitude of the background noise, the harder for the human ear to discern the difference between it and
the human voice and to hear accurately. Of course, sounds which are 20 to 30 dBA lower than the human voice can
still be heard, however they are considered unintelligible and the human brain will tend to ignore these sounds.

Another element of human voice that is important (and subject to the amplitude differences explained above) is
harmonics. These frequencies can reside above and below the critical voice frequencies. Harmonics consist of the
fundamental frequency, which is the lowest frequency produced by a source, and multiples of that frequency.
Harmonics are important because they provide richness and add personality to each individual voice. In addition,
these frequencies are the first to be affected by competing sounds in the background noise. That is why it is often
hard to discern who is speaking in a loud environment. It is not the volume of the voice but the distinct personality of
the voice that is lost.

Reverberation
When sound waves are generated in an enclosed environment, they continue to reflect from surface to surface until
the energy is completely absorbed. As the sound reflects within the environment, it will be audible for a period and
eventually fall off to a point that it becomes inaudible or silent. This reflection of sound is called reverberation.

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Design Guide

Figure 25. Reverberation

Reverberation is measured as the rate of time for sound to decay by 60 decibels (RT60). Measuring RT60 requires
the generation of enough sounds waves (usually pink noise or chirps) to fill an environment and then a pause in the
sound generation. At the pause, the rate at which the sound decays by 60 dB describes the RT60. This measurement
is very effective in predicting the sound quality of an environment.

Ideal conditions for human speech intelligibility are an RT60 value of 300 to 500 milliseconds for all frequencies
between 125 Hz and 4 kHz. An extreme in either direction - too much reverberation or too little - can be detrimental to
speech intelligibility, and since Cisco TelePresence is generally located in a meeting room in which the human voice
is the main source of audio, an ideal sound-quality design preserves the human range of frequencies and isolates this
range from interruptions.

Echo
Reverberation and echo are different phenomena. Echo is defined similarly to reverberation with one important
difference: echo occurs only when the reflection of sound reaches the same location as the original source of the
sound.

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Design Guide

Figure 26. Echo

Reverberation and Echo in Cisco TelePresence Rooms


A common problem with rooms larger than the Cisco recommended dimensions is excessive reverberation. Large
rooms with smooth surface areas such as glass or long parallel walls reflect more sound and in some cases create a
noticeable echo, giving the room a ‘boomy’ or ‘echoy’ effect. Additionally, rooms with hard floors or hard-finished
ceilings have more reverberation due to the increased hard-surface areas present. Generally reverberation is more of
a concern for participants in the room than for the audio being shared with the other side of the Immersive Cisco
TelePresence meeting.

If reverberation levels increase beyond 700 milliseconds (ms) in the critical voice frequency range, the Cisco
TelePresence endpoint may not perform as desired. In addition to creating a noisy environment that is uncomfortable
for human hearing and interferes with speech intelligibility, very reverberant environments may cause phantom video
switching, system echo, or a gating effect on the sound in the Cisco TelePresence system. These issues are defined
as follows:

● Phantom switching describes the action of a video segment switching into the call when no person is present,
or no person is speaking, in that particular segment. This effect requires a significant level of reverberation in
the voice frequency range. It is often triggered by a flutter echo or standing sine wave in the path of the
microphones. It can be caused by two parallel hard surface walls on either sides of the room and exaggerated
by a highly reverberant sound environment.
● System echo is generally caused when a loud sound from the speaker has a prolonged RT60 value that is
ultimately reflected to the microphone, retuning it to the original source. The echo cancellation within the Cisco
TelePresence codec is specifically designed to eliminate this effect; however, a buildup of reflections or a
sustained reflection of sound may occasionally last longer than the threshold of the echo cancellation. This
effect is rare and requires very high levels of reverberation, coupled with a very loud sound source such as

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Design Guide

yelling for longer than thirty seconds. System echo occurs most often in environments with glass walls or large
windows.
● Gating or suppression of sound occurs when the noise cancellation within the system can no longer
distinguish between the background noise and speech. This effect is usually caused by the presence of loud
ambient or background noise in excess of 55 dBA. However, the buildup of sound reflections in a reverberant
environment can simulate the increase of ambient noise. As people talk in a reverberant environment, the
sound reflections multiply, creating a perceived loudness in which people begin to speak louder to be heard
over the reflections. This cycle continues until the ambient sound levels are increased to an excessive level.
Very high ceilings can also cause this phenomenon.
Many factors pertain to the reverberation time within an environment. The most common factors are size, orientation,
construction and finish of materials, and objects in the environment. In general, the larger the space, the more the
reverberation. Also, the greater the number of hard surfaces, the more the reverberation. Other characteristics, such
as multiple angles in a room, can also promote higher reverberation times.

The effect of reverberation on the sound quality of an environment and the intelligibility of human speech is generally
defined as lively or flat: environments with longer reverberation times are called lively, and those with shorter
reverberation times are called flat.

Lively Sound Environments


In a very lively environment, sound will echo and be difficult to discern. It may also have a higher perceived volume.

Figure 27. Lively Sound Environment

Flat Sound Environments


A very flat sound environment will eliminate the harmonics that give speech its uniqueness and personality. The
sound quality will lose its presence and become dull or drab. It may also be perceived as lower volume.

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Design Guide

Figure 28. Flat Sound Environment

Building for Acoustic Isolation


This section discusses the factors that pertain to the sound isolation and privacy of the environment. Sound quality is
very much dependant on the construction of the room environment. The construction materials of the environment
directly relate to the amount of sound isolation an environment has.

Sound Transmission Class


The sound transmission class (STC) is a single-number rating of a construction material’s ability to prevent the
transmission of sound waves. Specifically, STC describes how much a sound will be diminished as it travels through
the material at each of the following frequencies: 125 Hz, 250 Hz, 500 Hz, 1 kHz, 2 kHz, and 4 kHz. For example, if a
wall has an STC of 40, then a sound that is 60 dB will diminish to 20 dB by the time it transfers from one room to the
next.

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Design Guide

Figure 29. Sound Transmission Through Walls

Callout Description
1 Sound reaches wall at 60 dB SPL
2 Wall rated at 40 STC
3 Sound transmitted through wall at 20 dB SPL

Generally, walls in commercial office spaces have an STC rating near 40. Taking into consideration the discussion
regarding human speech levels, this means that human speech will diminish from 60-65 dB to 20-25 dB by the time it
passes through the wall. Ultimately the sound will be much lower and unintelligible but still audible. This is where the
decision must be made regarding the amount of privacy that is desired. Is unintelligibility of the transmitted sound
good enough, or does your organization want the sound to be completely inaudible? If inaudibility is desired, the walls
should have a minimum rating of 65 STC. This type of sound isolation requires materials that are denser than normal,
separation of structural elements, and absorbent insulation.

As a general rule, you need to double the existing material to increase the STC rating by 5. Therefore, acoustic
materials such as sound barriers and acoustic paneling are better means of improving isolation than is doubling the
thickness of existing walls.

Noise-Reduction Coefficient
The noise-reduction coefficient (NRC) is a single-number rating that represents the amount of sound energy that a
surface will absorb. An NRC of 0 indicates no absorption, whereas an NRC of 1 indicates complete absorption of
sound. NRC is generally used to rate carpeting, ceiling tile, acoustic paneling, and other treatments and sound-
absorbing materials.

The NRC value does not relate directly to STC; however, it relates closely to the absorption coefficient (AC), which is
used to rate some acoustic materials. The difference is that the NRC is a single-number value, whereas the AC has a
rating for each frequency from 125 Hz to 4 kHz. This level of accuracy is good to have when looking at materials that
have vastly different absorbent characteristics at different frequencies, or when trying to reduce a very specific
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Design Guide

frequency within a space. These scenarios are rare occurrences, and the use of an NRC value should be sufficient in
most situations.

For a room that needs acoustic remediation, Cisco recommends using acoustic panels with an NRC rating of 0.75 or
greater. This approach enables a relatively small number of panels to be used for highly efficient sound remediation.

Figure 30. Acoustic Paneling to Reduce Reverberation and Sound Transmission

Callout Description
1 Sound being absorbed by an acoustic panel.

Impact Insulation Class


The impact insulation class (IIC) is a rating similar to STC but is specific to flooring and ceilings. IIC rating measures
the resistance to the transmission of impact noise such as footfalls, chairs dragging, and dropped items. The IIC
rating represents the amount of sound energy required to transfer sound through a structure. An IIC rating of 40
would require more than 40 decibels of sound energy to travel through a structure.

The one place this measurement is important is in an environment with raised flooring such as technical floors. These
types of floors are made of materials such as wood, metal, or porcelain that may add echoes or more easily transmit
sound. Carpet can perform some of the same remediation functions as acoustic paneling when echoes off the
flooring or sound transmission through the floor cause problems.

Office Environment Acoustic Concerns and Resolutions


Most commercial office environments are not built with acoustics in mind. Two common issues discovered in
commercial room environments are ambient sound levels that are too high and reverberation levels that are too great.
Each environment is unique and has its own idiosyncrasies; however, most acoustic issues fall into these two
categories, and can be resolved with the elements below.

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Design Guide

High Ambient Noise Levels


The background noise level should be less than 36 dBA and 54 dBC for a Cisco TelePresence room. This level is an
ideal threshold for background noise in most audio-video communication environments. However, sound levels are
usually higher in a commercial office environment. Because of this, Cisco recommends lowering background noise to
at least 45 dBA and 60 dBC. The Cisco TelePresence system will continue to operate properly with background noise
at even higher levels; however, the sound quality begins to suffer. Background noise above 45 dBA begins to
compete with the intelligibility of human speech, and these noises become distracting for participants. The Cisco
TelePresence system may be able to filter out the background noise for participants at the other end of the call, but
the in-room experience is still degraded for the local participants, who must endure a meeting in a loud environment.
In extreme cases, such as when background levels exceed 55 dBA for a sustained period of time, gating or sound-
suppression effects may occur in the Cisco TelePresence audio. These effects occur when the system can no longer
distinguish between background noise and speech, ultimately causing the system to suppress most sound because it
identifies that sound as background noise.

The most common causes of background noise are as follows:

● Noise from HVAC air movement


● Noise from HVAC machinery or other machinery
● External sounds such as street traffic
● Adjacent room noise (server rooms, break rooms, bathrooms, or kitchens)
The first step is to identify the source of the sound. Once this has been identified, a path for remediation can be
defined.

If ambient noise levels are too high, use the following tables to troubleshoot the cause and apply a remedy.

Noise from Air Movement

Table 3. Noise from Air Movement

Symptom Possible Issue Possible Resolution


Whooshing or whistling Inappropriate diffuser type Change diffuser to a plaque style diffuser that is
sound coming from vent or NC30 rated.
diffuser
Velocity of airflow is too great Increase the number of supply diffusers or
increase the size of the ducting.
Too many bends in the ducting Shorten the path of the ducting and use
sweeps rather than 90 degree turns.
Whooshing sound above the Velocity of airflow is too great Increase the number of supply diffusers or
ceiling but not from the increase the size of the ducting
diffusers
Too many bends in the ducting Shorten the path of the ducting and use
sweeps rather than 90 degree turns.
Ducting does not contain sound dampening Add a sound-dampening liner to the ducting.
Encase the ducting in a sound enclosure and
use sound-dampening materials.
Environment requires high air velocity Add sound-dampening material to the ceiling to
reduce sound transference from the ducting
into the room.

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Design Guide

Noise from Machinery


If the source of the noise is from HVAC machinery rather than HVAC airflow, this can be a more difficult to remediate.
Use the following table to identify possible resolutions if this is an issue.

Table 4. Noise from HVAC Machinery

Symptom Possible Issue Possible Resolution


Humming or clicking sound Variable air volume (VAV) unit installed too Move the VAV unit to the hallway or over
when the air handler is on close to, or above, the room another room. Make sure the wall extends to
the structural deck.
Air handler is located close to the room Relocate the air handler if possible. If not, and if
the air handler is located adjacent to the room,
make sure the wall extends to the structural
deck. If not, and if the air handler is located
over the room, provide additional insulation to
the ceiling.
Other mechanical component (not HVAC If other mechanical sounds cannot be
related) relocated, make sure the walls extend to the
structural deck and provide insulation to the
ceiling.
Walls are vibrating and a Air handler or main duct is located near or Avoid using this room for immersive Cisco
humming sound is present above the room TelePresence.
If this room must be used, relocate the air
handler. Otherwise, you may not be able to
resolve this issue.

Noise from Adjacent Rooms


Often rooms are located near an adjacent space that generates noise at a level that can become disruptive to the
meeting room. Generally these types of issues should be identified during the room selection process and help
determine whether or not to use that room. However, in some instances, these rooms must be used due to limitations
on available space or proximity to intended users. Refer to the following table to remediate noise from adjacent
environments.

Table 5. Noise from Adjacent Environments

Symptom Possible Issue Possible Resolution


Noise from street traffic Windows do not have a high enough STC Options include:
through windows rating ● Replace windows with higher STC rated
windows such as dual-pane windows.
● Cover windows with drywall and include
adequate insulation.
● Cover windows with acoustic paneling
backed with insulation.
● Cover windows with heavy drapery.
● Plant trees and shrubs outside the window
to reduce sounds.
Noise from plumbing of Wet walls inherently have noise Options include:
adjacent bathroom or ● Double the drywall and include a sound-
kitchen barrier material to help reduce the sound of
a wet wall.
● Leave a large air gap (3 inches or 7.62 cm)
and build another dense wall with sound-
barrier material.

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Design Guide

Symptom Possible Issue Possible Resolution


Noise from adjacent server Machine noise creates a humming and may Options include:
or mechanical room cause noise cancellation of lower frequencies ● Ensure that the wall is attached to the
structural deck of the ceiling.
● Provide insulation to the wall.
● Provide insulation above the ceiling in both
rooms.
● Install acoustic paneling in the server room
to absorb some sound.
● Double the drywall and include a sound-
barrier material to help reduce the sound of
a wet wall.
● Leave an air gap (3 inches or 7.62 cm) and
build another inner wall with sound-barrier
material.
Noise from adjacent break Voices heard through walls or over the ceiling Options include:
room or workspace through the ceiling tiles ● Make sure that the wall is attached to the
structural deck.
● Provide insulation to the wall.
● Provide insulation above the ceiling in both
rooms.
● Install acoustic paneling in both rooms to
absorb some sound.
● Double the drywall and include a sound-
barrier material to help reduce the sound of
a wet wall.
● Leave a large air gap (3 inches) and build
another inner wall with sound-barrier
material.
Sound heard through door Door does not have adequate STC rating Options include:
Door jam does not have acoustic gasket or skirt ● Replace the door with heavier material with
a higher STC rating.
● Install a sound gasket on the door jam and
add a skirt to the door.

Reverberation Remediation
The Cisco TelePresence Immersive endpoint itself can reduce reverberation levels simply by being installed in what
was empty space because Cisco TelePresence Immersive endpoints tend to be physically large and curved in form
factor, and so reduce the number of parallel hard surfaces that face each other in the room. The addition of chairs
and participants also reduces overall reverberation. However, if the room selected has significant reverberation
issues, the common resolutions are described in the table below:

Table 6. Common Reverberation Issues and Resolutions

Issue Possible Resolutions


Larger than recommended Options include:
room size ● Decrease the room size with a wall or acoustic partition (this is the optimum way to decrease
reverberation). By effectively decreasing the room size, the amount of wall surface that
creates reverberation is decreased, so reverberation is decreased as well.
● Add acoustic panels to the walls. Be sure to place panels so that no two parallel flat,
unpaneled surfaces remain facing each other.
Excessive glass walls or Options include:
windows ● Cover windows with drapes, blackout shades, blinds, or other window treatments which are
both light blocking and sound absorbing.
● Cover windows with drywall and finish with fabric acoustic panels.
● Adhere acoustic panels to the windows or glass walls. These panels can be double-sided to
maintain visual appeal.
● Install acoustic panels to the opposing walls from the floor to the ceiling so there are no
parallel hard surfaces.
● Place the Cisco TelePresence endpoint in front of the windows.

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Design Guide

Issue Possible Resolutions


Hard-surface flooring Options include:
● Replace or cover the flooring with carpeting.
● Strategically place fabric acoustic panels in the room. This option is the best and least
invasive approach for reducing reverberation. For floor sound remediation, these panels may
need to extend from the floor to the ceiling.
Hard-surface ceilings Options include:
● Strategically place fabric acoustic panels in the room. These panels may need to reach from
the floor to the ceiling.
● Replace the ceiling with an acoustic tile ceiling or install an acoustic ceiling below the hard-
surface ceiling.
● Install a sectional acoustic ceiling or floating acoustic panels in the ceiling along with fabric
acoustic panels on the walls.
High ceilings Options include:
● Cover walls with fabric acoustic paneling from the floor to the ceiling.
● Install a sectional acoustic ceiling or floating acoustic panels in the ceiling cavity along with
fabric acoustic panels on the walls.
● Lower the ceiling to help reduce reverberation.

Acoustic Panel Placement


The following images represent a progression of acoustic-panel treatments from minimal through complete floor-to-
ceiling treatments. How much, or how completely, you add acoustic paneling depends on how much sound needs to
be remediated in the selected room.

As mentioned previously, in rare instances, phantom switching can be noticed in lively room environments. For this
type of issue, there is a need to eliminate the flutter echo or standing sine wave between the two side walls. The
placement of acoustic panels on one or both side walls will eliminate the parallel hard surfaces and, in turn, eliminate
this issue.

Figure 31. Acoustic Panels on Opposite Walls Only

In situations with many hard surfaces, windows, or high ceilings, more panels can be used. These can be placed in
an alternating pattern on the walls around the room. The goal is to remove any remaining parallel hard surfaces in the
room, as shown in the following figure:

© 2011 Cisco and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved. This document is Cisco Public Information. Page 39 of 70
Design Guide

Figure 32. Acoustic Panels Strategically Placed on Walls

Some organizations do not like having gaps in the panels and prefer a more symmetrical solution. Use of a track
system with the acoustic fabric to continue the material around the room can accommodate this preference. This
approach provides more sound absorption, so the room may begin to sound too flat. If this is the case, lower the
overall vertical length of the panel to allow some reverberation, as shown in the following figure:

Figure 33. Acoustic Panels Covering Most of the Wall Surfaces

In rooms with large glass walls or hard-surface ceilings (such as drywall or smooth plaster ceilings), it may be
beneficial to continue the acoustic panels or fabric coverings from the floor to the ceiling. However, this approach
produces a very flat sound environment and should not be used if significant reverberation is not already present in
the room.

© 2011 Cisco and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved. This document is Cisco Public Information. Page 40 of 70
Design Guide

Figure 34. Acoustic Panels Covering Walls Completely

Adding furniture, plants, wall hangings, and other décor to a room can also significantly reduce reverberation in a
room. Any items that provide additional reflection and absorption of sound reduce overall reverberation.

Conclusion
Acoustics are an important element in Immersive Cisco TelePresence room design. Immersive Cisco TelePresence
rooms require close attention to room acoustics during the selection and design process to ensure that acoustic
quality and sufficient sound isolation are achieved.

© 2011 Cisco and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved. This document is Cisco Public Information. Page 41 of 70
Design Guide

Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning for CiscoTelePresence

Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) is an important element of your Cisco TelePresence environment
and should be considered at the onset of your room selection process.

In most commercial office environments, an important integrated element of any building is the management of air
quality and temperature through HVAC systems. Although many areas of the world do not enlist all three components
due to their local climates and temperatures, most use at least one or more HVAC systems in their facilities. The
main purpose of an HVAC system is to maintain indoor air quality and regulate temperature for both people and
equipment.

The goal of an HVAC system in an Immersive Cisco TelePresence room is to ensure that the room is comfortable for
its participants while providing ventilation and compensating for the heat generated by the Cisco TelePresence
endpoint. Additionally, the Immersive Cisco TelePresence room should have independent HVAC controls so the
system can be used at any time, including outside normal working business hours, when many international meetings
are held.

Note: For HVAC definitions, please see the HVAC appendix in this guide.

General Rules for HVAC


The ventilation required in a room depends on many factors such as the frequency with which the room is used and
the number of people normally using the room. For example, a small conference room may require more ventilation
than that of an office of the same size due to the number of occupants commonly present. As a general rule, a
ventilation system should change the air in the room once every 10 minutes. For example, to change air every
10 minutes in a 10 x 20-foot (3.05 x 6.10-meters) room with an 8-foot (2.44-meter) ceiling height (which is 1600 cubic
feet or 45.31 cubic meters), use this calculation:

1600 cubic feet / 10 minutes = 160 cubic feet per minute (CFM)

45.31 cubic meters / 10 minutes = 4.53 cubic meters per minute

Therefore, a 160-CFM exhaust fan is required for the room (or one exhaust fan that can move 4.53 cubic meters
per minute.)

The cooling required in a room depends on many other factors as well. As a general rule, 30 BTUs of cooling are
needed for every square foot (or 0.09 meters squared). Rooms with windows and rooms that are located near heat
sources such as server rooms with large amounts of equipment running require more cooling than rooms without
additional heart sources. Also, each person in a room accounts for approximately an additional 225 BTUs of heat.
Additionally, electrical equipment inside a room also raises the cooling requirements. For example, with 30 BTUs of
cooling for every square foot (and 322.41 BTUs for every square meter) of floor space:

Example in Feet

● 10 x 20-foot room = 200 square feet


● 200 square feet x 30 = 6000 BTUs of cooling required
Example in Meters

● 3.05 x 6.10-meter = 18.61 square meters


● 18.61 square meters x 322.41 = 6000 BTUs of cooling required
Another detail to consider is the length of time the space is occupied per use. The BTU/hr level of a typical Cisco
TelePresence Immersive endpoint assumes the following:

© 2011 Cisco and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved. This document is Cisco Public Information. Page 42 of 70
Design Guide

● Adequate size room for the Cisco TelePresence endpoint and occupants
● Room location is not subject to additional radiant energy (such as windows or heat from an adjacent room)
● Proper number of air supplies and returns provided
● Placement of air supplies and returns for optimized circulation and heat dissipation
● Color of room meets Immersive Cisco TelePresence wall color guidelines
If the room does not allow these conditions to be met, additional cooling may be required beyond what is listed in the
Cisco TelePresence endpoint’s installation guide. The BTU/hr output for each Cisco TelePresence Immersive
endpoint is reported as the typical use scenario based on metrics from Cisco’s existing deployed rooms and takes
into consideration a diversity factor defined by the use of these rooms and the average of various building envelopes.
Specifically, in this scenario the average room is used periodically throughout a typical 10-hour business day, and
each of these use periods may last 1 to 3 hours with periods of nonuse in between. During the hours of use, the
HVAC requirements are greater than during the period between meetings, and these requirements are averaged
across the 24-hour day. For efficiency, energy conservation, and meeting participant comfort, the room HVAC
systems must be designed to manage these waves of cooling without being overdesigned and so providing too much
cooling.

Having independent HVAC controls is also important in a Cisco TelePresence room. Cisco TelePresence systems
are frequently used to communicate with international offices and business partners in different time zones, and so
Cisco TelePresence Immersive endpoints are often in use outside normal daytime office hours.

Use of an Existing HVAC System


Some existing HVAC systems are already capable of compensating for the heat output of the Cisco TelePresence
endpoint. However, the existing system may also be generating unwanted sound at the air registers that is above the
maximum ambient noise levels for Cisco TelePresence meetings. Therefore, special sound-dampening registers and
baffles are recommended such as the use of an NC30-rated (or, better, NC20-rated) plaque-style diffuser, as shown
below.

Figure 35. NC30-Rated Plaque-Style Diffuser

Noise from the existing ducts and mechanical equipment should be evaluated as well. The target ambient noise
should be 36 dBA or less at the registers and cannot exceed 45 dBA or 60 dBC. Noise above the maximum levels
requires remediation because it will affect the Immersive Cisco TelePresence experience, and organizations should
consult their facilities departments or an HVAC engineer to assist in evaluating and designing an acceptable solution
to reduce ambient noise generated by the HVAC system.

For optimal diffuser performance, a straight section of duct needs to serve the diffuser. An elbow or kinked duct just
before the diffuser often leads to poor air distribution and increased noise.

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Design Guide

Also, when possible, dampers, extractors, and other air-flow-control devices should not be placed near the diffuser
outlet. Air-flow equipment installed near the diffuser dramatically increases noise that the diffuser cannot remediate
because the diffuser quiets sound from airflow and not machinery.

The location of the HVAC registers is also very important to accommodate the heat output of the Cisco TelePresence
endpoint and to keep sound levels within requirements. Cisco recommends locating the return registers above the
Cisco TelePresence endpoint to allow natural dissipation of heat as it rises into the return. Supply diffusers can then
be placed slightly behind the participant seating locations. The following figure illustrates optimal placement of the
HVAC registers.

Figure 36. Recommended HVAC Circulation

Callout Description
1 Seating area
2 Cold-air outflow
3 Warm-air inflow
4 Cisco TelePresence unit

© 2011 Cisco and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved. This document is Cisco Public Information. Page 44 of 70
Design Guide

Zoning and Capability to Rezone HVAC


Larger office building locations commonly use zone HVAC systems that cover an entire floor or large area. Inclusion
of a Cisco TelePresence room in an HVAC zone with other rooms is not recommended because of the localized heat
output of the Cisco TelePresence endpoint. Check with facilities personnel to determine whether the HVAC system
can be rezoned and ideally rezone the Immersive Cisco TelePresence room so that it has its own zone with
independent controls.

The most common way to rezone a room into its own zone is to use a variable air volume (VAV) system with a local
thermostat. VAV provides a method for independently controlling the capacity and airflow rate of each of an HVAC
system’s zones. It makes air conditioning more efficient by regulating the amount of cooling targeted at any specific
room or area. A VAV system can be contrasted with a constant air volume (CAV) system.

In a VAV system, VAV boxes regulate the cooling to specific zones. A VAV box has a valve that constricts to allow
less air through, or opens to allow more air. For example, when at maximum cooling, the VAV terminal unit damper is
completely open. When the cooling is decreased, the damper closes until the minimum is reached. When a VAV box
constricts its valve to let less air through, it decreases the amount of energy consumed by the fans that direct the air
around the building.

Modern VAV boxes come with advanced control equipment that supports automated changes to airflow as efficiency
dictates. This control equipment is also linked to central computers for the entire HVAC system for a building. Small
pressure sensors detect the pressure of air in the VAV box, and hinges open and close its doors to manipulate airflow
and air volume.

Rooms that contain equipment, have windows that face the sun, or hold a large number of people have an increased
cooling load relative to rooms with minimal equipment, people, or windows, and VAV systems are designed to
accommodate these differences.

Most HVAC zone systems have timers that shut off the HVAC system after normal business hours to save power.
Verify with facilities personnel the capability to turn on the HVAC system in the Cisco TelePresence room after hours.
You should not run the Cisco TelePresence system without the HVAC system in use because the endpoint can
overheat and become damaged.

If the existing HVAC zone system does not compensate for the BTU/hr requirements for the endpoint and cannot be
rezoned or used outside preset business hours, an independent HVAC solution may be required for the Cisco
TelePresence room.

Common HVAC Cooling Issues and Resolutions


Depending on the type and configuration of the HVAC system and its control system, a variety of solutions may be
available to provide additional cooling (Table 7). Be sure to consult the appropriate HVAC professionals when
determining which solutions are appropriate for a specific facility.

Table 7. HVAC Issues and Resolutions

Existing HVAC System Possible Resolution


Adequate capacity Options include:
already In place without ● Update the control system to provide additional cooling to the intended room.
separate Immersive
Cisco TelePresence ● Install an additional VAV system to allow independent control of this room. The VAV box should
Room Controls be located away from the room to avoid issues from additional noise. A dedicated thermostat
also is required for this space.
● Reallocate cooling from other zones to this space to provide additional cooling.

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Design Guide

Existing HVAC System Possible Resolution


Inadequate capacity Options include:
● Upgrade the existing HVAC system (a costly solution).
● Install a supplemental split-style air conditioning system.
● Install a supplemental cassette-style air conditioning system. However, this solution also adds a
new noise concern for the room.

Supplemental Cooling
Supplemental cooling is an option if the main HVAC system cannot be rezoned and additional cooling is needed.

Split air conditioners can be more cost effective than changing central air conditioning systems, and because the
compressor sits outside of the room, split systems are much quieter than cassette-type systems. Many split air
systems are available that produce 45 dB of noise for up to 24,000 BTU/hr of cooling. However, they are typically
more expensive than a cassette-type system. Either type of supplemental air conditioning system — split or
cassette — can provide independent cooling to the room without modification to the existing central air system.

Note: Installing a mini split air conditioner is more complicated than installing a cassette system, but is far less
complicated than installing a new central air system.

For a Cisco TelePresence room, it is always recommended to avoid installing any air conditioner along the same wall
as the Cisco TelePresence endpoint. The main reason is that if any leakage of water in the drain tubes occurs, then
the seepage is not next to the Cisco TelePresence endpoint. The preferred location is behind, or on, the wall behind
the participant seating locations. This approach also follows the recommended placement of traditional air supply
diffusers and promotes the natural dissipation of heat with returns or vents placed above the Cisco TelePresence
endpoint.

Conclusion
In summary, regardless of choice, ensure the following:

● Appropriate BTU/hr of cooling


● Appropriate noise level (less than 45 dB of noise in the room)
● Appropriate location of the system and ducting to reduce ambient noise in the room
Be sure to keep in mind that the goal of the HVAC system is to ensure that the meeting room is comfortable (that is,
less than 76°F [24°C]) and inviting to its participants, while keeping ambient noise levels to a minimum. The challenge
in recent times is to accomplish this goal efficiently with the least energy consumption possible.

© 2011 Cisco and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved. This document is Cisco Public Information. Page 46 of 70
Design Guide

Aesthetics

Aesthetic Principles
The physical components in a Cisco TelePresence room give the space its identity. They define who the end user is
and what the room says about the company, and provide an opportunity for corporate branding. Upgrades to the
room aesthetics, in parallel with lighting and acoustics, produce the overall quality of the Immersive Cisco
TelePresence experience.

Figure 37. Basic Room Design

By following the design recommendations outlined here, an Immersive Cisco TelePresence room will meet the
standards for a high quality Immersive Cisco TelePresence experience and can have a customized, sophisticated
appearance while still maintaining immersive audio and video capture and transmission.

Figure 38. Specialized Room Design

Choice and Customization in Design


Organizations are advised to deploy rooms based on the requirements and expectations of their users. Adaptation of
lighting, acoustics, and aesthetics help achieve the expected experience. Organizations are also advised to design
their Immersive Cisco TelePresence rooms to reflect their corporate culture as well as the local culture of the places
in which the Cisco TelePresence room is located. Consulting with your organization’s corporate branding team is
encouraged.

While it is always the organization’s prerogative to determine the look of their Cisco TelePresence rooms, designs do
need to comply with basic room design guidelines to work optimally with the Immersive Cisco TelePresence
technology. To achieve this balance, these guidelines welcome aesthetic creativity in execution, and each
organization should consider adding a personal signature to its rooms’ appearance.

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Design Guide

How to Approach Aesthetic Design for Immersive Cisco TelePresence


Aesthetic room design for Immersive Cisco TelePresence addresses visual enhancements to the meeting room,
including wall color, lighting scheme, visual improvement of remediation materials such as acoustic panels, and
decorative accents.

Addressing the aesthetics of a space creates a more comfortable meeting environment and enhances the in-room
experience. Room design can also create on-camera interest and improve the on-camera visual perception. Aesthetic
design choices are also powerful tools for reinforcing a company’s corporate identity.

Within a physical space, visual perception and interpretation are addressed from a three-dimensional viewpoint
involving the relationship between distance, scale and openness. If the room is devoid of everything other than the
Cisco TelePresence Immersive endpoint — in an essentially empty environment — the experience may feel stark and
cold. That feeling may be amplified if the space is large. A person using an undecorated room will have a vastly
different experience than a person using the same room with added design elements. Below is an example of a well-
designed Cisco TelePresence room that has a unique personality of its own.

Figure 39. Elements in Aesthetic Room Design

The design approach for an Immersive Cisco TelePresence room has to be planned for two purposes:

● The local in-room experience


● The remote on-camera experience
While designing the Cisco TelePresence in-room experience for the comfort of the end user, consider how that room
will appear on camera to other sites engaged in a meeting. The on-camera experience relies on the technology’s
interpretation of that room. Remote locations will see only what is within the camera’s field of view and, therefore,
have an abridged view of the design elements introduced into the room, so aesthetic elements should maintain
continuity along the back wall behind the participants and carry that continuity through all Cisco TelePresence
screens.

Certain design elements enhance the way that a room appears on camera. The addition of textures and layering of
decorative elements within the camera’s field of view helps make the two-dimensional image shown to remote
participants appear more three-dimensional on the screen. These elements include the use of wallpaper, fabrics,
furniture, decorative pieces, artwork, plants, and signage. In Cisco TelePresence meetings with multiple sites
connected to the same meeting, room aesthetics provide visual reference points to identify participant locations.

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Design Guide

Wall Color
Wall color is very important because the Cisco TelePresence image captured is filled to a large extent by the room
wall behind the participants, placing particular demands on the color of that area to reproduce well on camera,
convert efficiently to video, and be comfortable for participants in the room. Cisco has tested a broad spectrum of
hues to identify the characteristics of paint colors that complement the codec and plasma technology, work well with
the skin tones of the participants on camera, and feel comfortable in person. These form the approved wall color
palette, which are available in the Cisco TelePresence Wall Color Guide on Cisco.com.

The Cisco TelePresence solution asks organizations to work within the palette of approved wall colors for the room
walls. Cisco recommends earth-tone colors, matte finishes, and an LRV of no greater than 40. Other colors such as
blue and green work well also. These colors are a lot cooler than the warm earth-toned colors and provide a different
experience. A blue or green background makes participants appear more distinctly against the background and gives
the experience a more on-stage or newsroom feel. These colors may be used preferentially for higher-profile
meetings or in rooms in which the personal preference is not a warm, relaxed feel, but a cooler, more direct feel.

Extensive tests have shown that the Cisco approved wall colors create optimal images on the Cisco TelePresence
display. Organizations sometimes ask, ”Can we leave the walls white and save some money on the painting?” This
may seem like a way to save costs; however, when the total impact is understood, it is clear that this is not a great
way to save money. Plasma displays require a large amount of energy to produce white pixels. If most of the
background is white, the endpoint will consume more energy, which is a cost factor. More energy consumption also
means greater heat output and more HVAC compensation required, another cost point. There are also additional
factors that affect the experience. When the plasma screen expends a greater amount of energy producing white,
there is less energy available to render other parts of the images such as the participants’ faces. Therefore, the video
quality will be diminished. Lastly, white, black, and patterned high-contrast backgrounds introduce the potential for
areas of glare and are more challenging to the video encoding process. These areas can create jitter or may require
a greater amount of bandwidth on the network to process.

Working with the approved wall colors, there are several creative options that can upgrade the room to a customized
environment with design elements such as accent colors, wall coverings, fabric, and wood panels.

Note: Because only the back and side walls appear on camera during a Cisco TelePresence call, the wall behind
the Cisco TelePresence endpoint does not have to be painted using the same Cisco approved color palette as the
other three room walls. Organizations can opt to paint the wall behind the Cisco TelePresence Immersive endpoint
white or yellow to increase the lighting efficiency in the room or introduce a different color entirely.

Color Matching
There are several competing color systems that have been developed to communicate an accurate representation of
color. Unfortunately, there is no universal color standard in use globally today, and most of these color systems were
designed predominantly to address printing ink rather than paint. The approach to mixing paint is vastly different.

Specific colors from the North American paint manufacturer Benjamin Moore have been approved for use with the
Cisco TelePresence Wall Color Guide on Cisco.com. Color matching should be performed by requesting paint card
samples from Benjamin Moore and obtaining a color match from a local paint manufacturer. True color accuracy can
be achieved only by having an actual paint sample in hand. Colors viewed on monitors or printed from electronic
presentations vary based on the color calibration of the equipment used.

Aesthetics and Room Remediation


Remediation addresses the baseline requirements to tune the environment for an optimal Immersive Cisco
TelePresence experience. Remediation solutions are also an opportunity to introduce aesthetics into the room to
add style.

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Design Guide

The following sections describe the combination of room remediation with aesthetic design.

Exterior Windows
To avoid introducing conflicting light temperature zones, it is recommended that windows to the exterior should be
blocked to eliminate the strong blue light that will be brought into the room by the sun. Overhead lighting should be
consistent with the color temperature of the integrated lighting in the Cisco TelePresence endpoint.

Large exterior windows in a space affect the lighting and acoustics of a room. If a large window along the back or a
side wall is visible on camera, window treatments should be used to block the outdoor light. Depending on the
desired look, wide architectural panels may be installed. These panels can hold opaque materials and maintain the
structure of the room. Window treatments that are not recommended are tightly woven materials and patterned
fabrics, horizontal blinds, and narrow vertical blinds.

Interior Windows
Interior windows should not need to be covered up unless they are large enough to affect lighting and acoustics. In
those instances, cover the windows with panel curtains. Usually, the greatest effect that a small interior window has is
the distraction of seeing people passing by the room through the glass. Again, you can use curtains, or apply a
translucent, frosted window tint. Additionally, window tints can be stenciled with your corporate logo or other desirable
graphic elements.

Doorways
Due to the positioning of the Cisco TelePresence cameras, a parallax effect is visible, especially when observing
horizontal and vertical lines on the left and right screens. Parallax, in the context of Cisco TelePresence, manifests as
straight lines in the camera view that appear bent or angled instead of strictly horizontal or vertical. The best way to
address this discrepancy is to distract the eye by building up the background with other objects and giving the eye
something else on which to focus. The shallower the room, the less noticeable the parallax effect appears because
horizontal lines, such as floor and baseboard lines, do not appear on camera. However, you do not have to cover up
architectural elements such as doors, interior windows, outlet plates, or baseboards. These are physical items,
indigenous to a room and act as identifiers to help associate viewers in the setting, as shown in Figure 40.

Figure 40. Door Placement in an Immersive Cisco TelePresence Room.

Furniture and shelves with interesting objects break up the horizontal plane at the back of the room.

Acoustic Panels
An organization may want or need less reverberation or sound transmission in the Immersive Cisco TelePresence
room and opt to place acoustic panels in the room. Use of fabric-wrapped acoustic sound panels can add aesthetic
appeal as well as sound dampening properties.

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Design Guide

Fabrics with a subtle weave and minimal pattern variation render better on camera than flat, solid surfaces. The fabric
covering the acoustic panels should match the Cisco TelePresence paint colors closely. The fabric should also be
viewed on the Cisco TelePresence screen to check how the pattern renders and to check for color accuracy on
camera.

The aesthetic design team should engage with the vendor providing the panels and the sound engineer installing
them to meet both aesthetic design and room remediation needs.

Creative Wall Treatments


The Cisco TelePresence solution asks customers to work within the palette of approved Cisco TelePresence colors,
however, working within the range of these colors there are several creative wall treatments to upgrade rooms from a
utilitarian deployment to a highly customized experience.

Note: Questions regarding the viability of creative finishes or requests to use colors outside the existing color
palette should be addressed to your Cisco TelePresence or Video Advanced Technology Certified Partner or Cisco
Advanced Services during room remediation as an additional service.

Wall Coverings
Wall coverings come in various materials, textures, and patterns. Selecting a wall covering in the approved colors
instead of paint offers a greater array of options to introduce a different look and feel in the room environment.
Patterns and textures should be subtle enough to show variances but should not have so much contrast that they are
distracting on camera. Several companies produce eco-friendly wall coverings that are good options for Leadership in
Environment and Energy Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System compliance.

Wood Panels
Wood panels produce excess sound reverberation due to the polished, reflective nature of the panels, and these
effects are magnified in larger room sizes. However, wood panels can still be used in a Cisco TelePresence
environment if they are strategically placed. Acoustic paneling applied at the level of the microphones will dampen the
effects of the wood, with the areas above and below the acoustic treatment done in wood paneling, as shown below:

Figure 41. Strategic Use of Wood Paneling Combined with Acoustic Wall Treatment

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Design Guide

Modifiable Aesthetic Elements


There are several highly customizable elements of design to enhance the visual experience of an Immersive Cisco
TelePresence meeting. To optimize the aesthetics in the Immersive Cisco TelePresence room, here are some
modifiable aesthetic elements that can be introduced:

Accent Colors: Work with the approved Cisco TelePresence wall paint colors for overall wall color. Organizations
can then opt to add their equity colors as accents throughout the room or on the wall behind the Cisco TelePresence
Immersive endpoint.

Furniture: Furniture can be added to identify the purpose for the space and the identity of the end user. For example,
if the furniture that is added is a long rectangular table and four chairs placed around it, the space feels like a
conference room. The same space filled with a few lounge chairs, a coffee table, and ottomans feels like a social
setting instead of being a work-related space. Examine the amount of space available for adding furniture pieces to
the room. Some suggested furnishings that work well in the Cisco TelePresence room environment are additional
seating, credenzas, bookshelves, side tables, and coat racks.

Decorative Accents: To add visual interest and depth to a room, include decorative accents. Items to consider
placing in a room are vases, corporate awards, table art, books, clocks, and other items with interesting shapes.

Wall Art: Wall art helps balance the room as a whole. Given the camera’s field of view, chances are that the art will
not appear on camera, but it serves to address to in-person experience, as shown in the following figure:

Figure 42. Wall Art in an Immersive Cisco TelePresence Room

Plants: Plants offer a pleasant touch to any room environment. Consider the height and leafiness of the plant as how
well as how its shape works on screen. Flowers also introduce a nice touch of color to a room. Depending on the
organization, plants can be real or artificial. Furthermore, plants can help integrate the Cisco TelePresence endpoint
into the space. Placement of a plant on the side of the endpoint helps connect the endpoint to the room and breaks
up the void between the endpoint and the side wall, as shown in the following figure:

Figure 43. Use of Plants in a Cisco TelePresence Room

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Design Guide

Additionally, plants are often used in the back corners of a Cisco TelePresence room to enhance depth perception for
the on-camera experience.

Hospitality: Items related to supporting the comfort of the people in the meeting room can be added as part of the in-
person experience and as decorative elements on screen. Items to consider are water trays, coasters, mint dishes,
pens, note pads, napkins, and tissue boxes.

Signage: Signage is an opportunity for branding and also may assist in the identification of the room’s location.
Optimal positioning of signage is so that it appears in the middle of the center TelePresence screen. Signage should
not be made of highly reflective materials or obstructed by the participants when seated. The position of signage
should be gauged with the cameras in mind.

Branding In Cisco TelePresence Room Design


To build brand recognition companies enlist marketing expertise, modify corporate practices, and invest billions of
advertising dollars to distinguish themselves in the marketplace. Branding efforts applied to a Cisco TelePresence
room also have the potential to accelerate return on investment (ROI) because the organization’s brand now receives
broader exposure than beyond the four walls of the physical room. Every Cisco TelePresence meeting in which the
room is engaged becomes an opportunity to relay corporate identity.

Integration of Aesthetics in a Cisco TelePresence Room


Interior office environments have the potential to influence the attitudes, behavior, and decision making of people who
come into contact with these spaces. Creating the right environment can boost employee morale and positively affect
key stakeholders such as customers, partners, and the media.

Before beginning to assess how to fill the background of the camera view, be sure that the chairs around the Cisco
TelePresence table are in place. These will act as reference points, indicating where your Cisco TelePresence
participants will be seated.

With the Cisco TelePresence table and chairs in place and the camera field-of-view parameters marked out, assess
the best location for aesthetic items in the background of the on-screen image. Choose the placement of objects
based on fit for the space and consider the functionality of the aesthetic objects as well.

It is not recommended to place background items symmetrically or directly behind the Cisco TelePresence participant
seating positions because the objects may appear to be touching or attached to the heads of meeting participants,
distracting people on the other side of the Cisco TelePresence meeting. Choose areas on camera that are behind the
participants’ shoulders.

Be aware of the distribution of objects on each screen. If a large object is placed on one edge of the camera view and
the other edge is not addressed, this can leave the transmitted image looking unbalanced. The attention of the
participants on the other side will gravitate to the most prominent object in the frame.

Be cognizant of color distribution as well. When adding a colorful object to the background, think about where the eye
of the Cisco TelePresence participants at the other endpoint will be drawn. Likewise with color, try to create a balance
among all three Cisco TelePresence screens so attention is not drawn to a single very intensively colored object only
on one screen.

After you have established a plan for determining the placement of objects within the camera view, step back and
assess the room as a whole. To balance the room as a physical space, the wall area above the maximum camera
height will need to be addressed. If signage is placed within the camera field of view, notice that the signage sits far
below a natural height at which wall art is typically hung. Compensate for this phenomenon by adding wall art at its
natural height. Think about placing framed photos, artwork, or sculptures around the room that reconcile the upper
half of the wall with the decorations you have placed against the lower half of the wall.

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Design Guide

Décor to Avoid in an Immersive Cisco TelePresence Room


You should specifically avoid certain items as background elements in an Immersive Cisco TelePresence room.
In particular, you should avoid items that are distracting to participants or difficult for the video to process, resulting
in diminished video quality or loss of overall immersive experience, as listed in the following table:

Table 8. Décor to Avoid in an Immersive Environment

Décor to Avoid Affect on Video or in Person


Oversized furniture Large pieces of furniture can take up precious space for local participants. Over video, these can seem
overbearing or daunting because only a small portion of the piece can be seen in the camera view.
They also tend to create numerous large background shadows that increase areas of high contrast.
Dark furniture Dark furniture tends to create numerous areas of high contrast that are difficult for video to process.
Reflective or shiny Light reflections in an immersive environment should be controlled such that they do not reflect light into
elements the cameras or on displays to avoid issues such as glare, lens flares, or undesirable points of interest in
the room that distract from participants being the focal point.
Highly repetitive Highly repetitive patterns should be avoided unless the pattern is small enough such that the pattern
patterned materials or blends into the background when seen from 10 feet (3 meters) away. If patterns are visible from that
fabrics distance, they tend to look very busy and distracting over video. In extreme cases, they can create a
moiré pattern or other undesirable visual effects in the video transmitted.
Excessive vertical or These types of patterns draw attention away from the participants and to the background. They
horizontal patterns exaggerate any misalignment of the endpoint’s cameras and in some cases can make even well-aligned
cameras seem misaligned.

Conclusion
The design of your Immersive Cisco TelePresence room has many considerations but also offers the ability to
personalize the room to suit organizational expectations and identity. Organizations should consult their Cisco
Advanced Technology partner, facilities department, and their preferred architectural firm to implement these
Immersive Cisco TelePresence room design recommendations.

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Design Guide

Immersive Room Design Implementation

The recommended order of room design implementation, as shown in the following figure, is:

1. Room Selection
2. Heating, Ventilation, and Cooling (HVAC) & Room Remediation
3. Aesthetic Design

Room Selection
Many considerations are necessary when choosing a room for Immersive Cisco TelePresence because the room
affects the quality of the experience and so should be assessed carefully.

When Cisco’s recommendations and guidelines are followed, they help reduce complexity, cost, and time to
deployment. Room selection criteria are:

● Dedicated or Multipurpose Meeting Space


● Physical Elements of the Room Environment
● Room Dimensions
● Location
● Construction Characteristics
● Lighting
● Acoustics

Note: Consultation with the facilities personnel of the building in which the prospective room is located is usually
needed to assess all room selection criteria.

Cost Versus Immersive Experience


As with many projects, there is a budget scheduled for the Cisco TelePresence room remediation and deployment.
However, many factors that may seem unimportant ultimately affect the overall Immersive Cisco TelePresence
experience. With a full understanding of the overall impact, it is clear that seemingly small details are very important
to the experience and are worth the expense to implement. The table below compares the cost and impact of room
design choices.

Table 9. Cost vs. Immersive TelePresence Experience

Characteristic Observations and Comments Cost Effect on


Immersive
Experience
Continuity Continuity is the most important element in Immersive Cisco LOW HIGH
TelePresence room design. It is also the simplest and least
expensive element to achieve.
Lighting Lighting can be inexpensive with good results, but this is one area LOW - MEDIUM HIGH
where it is worthwhile to spend a little more. Great lighting is the
key to great video.

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Design Guide

Characteristic Observations and Comments Cost Effect on


Immersive
Experience
Acoustics Acoustic remediation creates much more pleasing sound, both in LOW - MEDIUM MEDIUM
the room and on the other side of the Cisco TelePresence
meeting. Cost ranges from low to medium, from basic acoustic
panels to custom panels, respectively.
HVAC Look for rooms with few HVAC remediation requirements. Addition LOW - HIGH HIGH
of VAV boxes or control systems or rezoning of the existing HVAC
system is usually sufficient, but purchasing an entirely new HVAC
system is usually very expensive.
Room size and Look for a room size in the recommended size range for the MEDIUM MEDIUM
orientation endpoint and with no or few windows to keep remediation costs
down. Interior rooms are preferred because they can be less costly
to remediate and maintain cooling more easily.

Dedicated or Multipurpose Meeting Space


A dedicated Immersive Cisco TelePresence room is a room completely designed around the use of the Cisco
TelePresence endpoint. There are many advantages to dedicating a room for Cisco TelePresence, including:

● Ability to match all Cisco’s room recommendations for a constant, continual, Immersive Cisco TelePresence
experience
● Absence of other technology and devices that may interfere with a Cisco TelePresence meeting
● Assurance that the room will always be properly configured for a Cisco TelePresence meeting
● Assurance that the Cisco TelePresence endpoint is available for use and that the room’s potential ROI is
achieved
● Assurance that no distractions are present in the room that would break the continuity of the experience
Below are two examples of dedicated, fully Immersive Cisco TelePresence rooms. Although these rooms are different
in shape, flooring, and type of Cisco TelePresence endpoint installed, the similarity in lighting, colors, and artwork
creates a fully Immersive Cisco TelePresence experience.

Figure 44. Dedicated Immersive Cisco TelePresence Room Examples

Los Angeles Kiev

Dedicated Cisco TelePresence rooms offer the most predictable and overall highest quality Immersive Cisco
TelePresence experience.

Multipurpose rooms can also be used for Immersive Cisco TelePresence meetings as long as the rooms follow
continuity principles, have been properly prepared, and meet all Immersive Cisco TelePresence room

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Design Guide

recommendations. However, the higher number of variables in a multipurpose room due to its flexible use leads to a
less predictable meeting environment.

Figure 45. Multipurpose Immersive Cisco TelePresence Room Examples

Sydney Cairo

Smaller, personal endpoints can also provide an Immersive Cisco TelePresence experience if they follow continuity
principles, have been properly prepared, and meet all Immersive Cisco TelePresence room recommendations.
However, an important additional consideration is whether or not the network connection into the personal room has
sufficient bandwidth to support Cisco TelePresence traffic.

Figure 46. Personal Immersive Cisco TelePresence Room Examples

Winnipeg Genoa

Physical Elements of the Room


The size, configuration, orientation, and location of doors, windows, and adjacent rooms and the placement of the
Cisco TelePresence endpoint are all physical elements that need to be considered when selecting a room for
Immersive Cisco TelePresence. It is beneficial to have layout drawings with the physical dimensions of each room
that is being considered easily accessible during room selection.

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Design Guide

Room Dimensions
The dimensions of the room to be considered are depth, width, and height. Also, accessibility must be considered.

Note: For more information on specific maximum and minimum room dimensions, please refer to the installation
guide for the endpoints you are considering deploying.

In general:

● Rooms that are larger than the maximum recommended size for an Immersive Cisco TelePresence endpoint
do not provide optimal acoustic characteristics and may require remediation such as acoustic paneling.
Additionally, the maximum width is limited to avoid large areas of wall surface directly across from each other
that may promote reverberation and degrade the audio quality.
● The maximum depth of the room is also limited due to the angle of the Cisco TelePresence camera. The
Cisco TelePresence camera has a slight downward tilt to improve perspective and eye contact. At 30 feet
(9.15 meters) away from the camera there is no longer an adequate viewing area for an average person to be
seen. In addition, with rooms longer than 26 feet (7.01 meters), the camera will view more floor space than
wall space (except with the CTS 3210 system) and this affects the contrast and quality of the Cisco
TelePresence experience.
● Ceilings higher than 10 feet (3.05 meters) can create undesirable acoustic characteristics and may need
remediation.
● Ceilings lower than 8 feet (2.44 meters) may not be able to accommodate the physical height of the Cisco
TelePresence endpoint itself, as well as fire sprinklers and other such ceiling-mounted items.
● The minimum required height and width of a room is due to the physical footprint of the Cisco TelePresence
endpoint.
● The minimum depth of the room is to accommodate the space between the wall and the back edge of the
Cisco TelePresence participant seating table and chairs.
● Rectangular rooms are preferred but irregular shaped rooms can be accommodated. Odd angles, curved
walls, and pillars can create unusual acoustic effects that may also require additional sound remediation.
● Access requirements for disabled persons may mandate a specific minimum space to allow access for a
standard wheel chair. Please be sure to review building codes and access laws in your area.
The following figure illustrates the room and endpoint dimensions to consider, except for ceiling height. This figure is
given as an example only. For endpoint room dimensions and details, refer to the respective installation guide on
Cisco.com.

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Design Guide

Figure 47. Room Dimensions

Callout Description
1 Room width. Rooms can be wider.
2 Room length. Rooms can be longer.
3 Wall behind the Cisco TelePresence endpoint. The distance from the endpoint to wall behind it depends on the
Cisco TelePresence endpoint. If the room is longer than the minimum size, proportionally more space can be left
behind the unit for easier access
4 Distance from the back of the lighting shroud to the table edge
5 Space between the back table and wall
6 The width of the Cisco TelePresence endpoint
7 Distance from the camera to the table edge at the outer chair position
None Ceiling height also affects room acoustics.

Location

Doors
Doors should be on the left or right side walls or on the wall behind the participants. Preferably, the doors should be
out of camera view to help prevent disruption of the consistency of the Cisco TelePresence experience. Doors should
not be behind the Cisco TelePresence endpoint.

Windows
Ideally, Cisco TelePresence rooms should have no windows. If the room does have windows, the glass should not
comprise more than 20 percent of the total wall space. In an Immersive Cisco TelePresence room, reverberation and
lighting levels need to be controlled, and windows present many problems. Windows increase reverberation in the
room and let in uncontrolled light. Windows may need to be treated for both acoustic and lighting factors.
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Design Guide

Placement of The Room in the Building


Rooms with exterior walls or windows may allow too much noise from street or local airline traffic, wind and weather,
or neighboring businesses. Any outside noises that can be heard in the Cisco TelePresence room may cause
undesirable noise levels and affect the Cisco TelePresence experience. For this reason, rooms in the interior of the
building are recommended for Immersive Cisco TelePresence. Likewise, the doors and walls of an Immersive Cisco
TelePresence room should be away from areas of high foot traffic to limit intrusive noise.

HVAC systems can also produce sound that needs to be remediated depending on where the HVAC system
components are in relation to the Cisco TelePresence room.

In addition, proximity and accessibility for the intended participants needs to be considered to help ensure optimum
use of the Immersive Cisco TelePresence room. For example, if the Cisco TelePresence endpoints are geared
toward use by executives, the executives may place a premium on having the room physically located next to or near
their offices to optimize both the use of the Cisco TelePresence room and their personal time.

Adjacent Rooms
Adjacent rooms need to be evaluated to verify if additional acoustic remediation is required to isolate noise coming
into or going out of these rooms. Sound levels within the room must be under 45 dBA and 60 dBC to enable a high-
quality Cisco TelePresence experience.

Consider and evaluate adjacent rooms and infrastructure such as break rooms, elevators, and large conference
rooms as they can increase the noise levels inside the Cisco TelePresence room.

Additionally, privacy should be a factor when evaluating adjacent rooms. Cisco TelePresence participants will expect
a certain level of privacy, as with other conference rooms, and extra remediation should be considered to keep
conversations inside the Cisco TelePresence room confidential.

Acoustic Evaluation
Noise from HVAC ducts and mechanical equipment should be evaluated in choosing a room as a candidate for Cisco
TelePresence.

The ideal ambient noise level is 36 dB or less, as measured by an SPL meter that is one meter away from each
register. This goal may be difficult to achieve when dealing with an older HVAC system or one that was not designed
with the comfort of sound in mind. The Immersive Cisco TelePresence endpoint will perform properly when the
ambient sound is greater than 36 dB and will still meet Cisco’s Room Remediation requirements at 45 dB. However,
noise greater than 45 dB becomes distracting to participants and ultimately diminishes the overall experience.

Cisco highly recommends the use of NC30-rated plaque-style diffusers for adequate airflow and minimal noise from
the airflow into the room from the HVAC system. Also, the use of sound boots or duct wrapping may be
recommended in situations with increased air velocity that creates undesirable sound. Diffusers may be added to
accommodate greater airflow without increased noise. Consultations with your facilities department or an HVAC
engineer may be needed to assist in designing an acceptable solution to reduce ambient noise generated by the
HVAC system. Provide HVAC engineers with the BTU output outlined in the Cisco TelePresence endpoint installation
guides. This information, in combination with details of the room’s location and environment will enable them to
design adequate cooling for the room.

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Design Guide

Construction Characteristics
Think of an Immersive Cisco TelePresence room as a confidential area. Outside conversations should not be heard
inside the room, and inside conversations should not be heard outside the room. Therefore, careful attention needs to
be paid to the construction materials of the room being considered for Immersive Cisco TelePresence. Also,
understand that the materials from which the room was made effect the acoustic properties of the room and may be
well or poorly suited to a high-quality Cisco TelePresence experience.

For an Immersive Cisco TelePresence experience, all walls should have an STC rating greater than 40. Cisco
TelePresence rooms in high-traffic areas or with loud adjacent rooms require walls with a rating higher than STC 40.
Additionally, walls should reach toward the structural deck of the floor, and not end right above false ceiling tiles, to
help isolate unwanted noise from adjacent rooms.

The wall, ceiling, and floor materials in an Immersive Cisco TelePresence room all work collectively to provide an
overall NRC rating for the room.

You may be able to use a room with hard surfaces, such as wood or marble floors and glass walls, if acoustic
considerations are addressed and compensated for by the materials of other surfaces in the room. For example, a
wood or marble floor can be accommodated if the walls are covered with acoustic fabric panels and the ceiling tiles
have a higher NRC rating to reduce reverberation. Similarly, a glass wall can be accommodated if the remaining walls
are covered with acoustic panels and the floor is carpeted. If necessary, an additional heavy curtain which matches
the color of the room can all be used to compensate for a glass wall and reduce reverberation.

Wall Materials
Normal drywall surfaces are recommended for Immersive Cisco TelePresence rooms. Drywall with an NRC of 0.1 is
adequate for an Immersive Cisco TelePresence room. Lower-rated wall materials should not be used because they
allow unwanted sound to leak into the room from adjoining rooms and hallways, reducing the quality of the Immersive
Cisco TelePresence experience. Standard drywall with a smooth finish or slight texture is preferred, and wall
materials with heavy textures are highly discouraged due to how the reproduce visually on camera.

Cinder block, brick, and glass walls are highly reverberant materials and are not recommended because they require
additional acoustic treatment.

Ceiling Materials
Standard office ceiling tiles with an NRC rating of 0.70 or higher are recommended for Immersive Cisco
TelePresence rooms because they help absorb reverberation and unwanted noise. Verify the NRC rating of the
ceiling tiles with your organization’s facilities department. Plaster or drywall ceilings are not recommended because
they increase the reverberation in the room, causing undesirable sound conditions. If plaster or drywall is used in the
ceiling, further remediation may be required.

Noise that can be heard in an Immersive Cisco TelePresence room that is coming from above the ceiling tiles
requires remediation such as sound batting or acoustic fabric in place of, or above, the ceiling tiles.

Flooring Materials
Standard office carpeting is recommended for its sound absorbing properties. Other surfaces such as linoleum,
hardwood, or marble are highly reflective and usually require remediation to reduce reverberation.

Rooms with raised floors can be accommodated as Immersive Cisco TelePresence rooms but need to be evaluated
to verify that the floor can handle the weight of the Cisco TelePresence endpoint. Additionally, raised floors may
increase the sound resonance in the room, therefore, raised floors may require remediation to keep sound levels
within Immersive Cisco TelePresence requirements.

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Design Guide

Power Outlets
Power outlets in the room must be of the appropriate type, sufficient in total number, and designed to carry the
amperage for the Cisco TelePresence endpoint intended for the room. If the type and number of power outlets do not
match what is needed for the endpoint, new or additional power outlets must be installed in the room.

Network Access
Immersive Cisco TelePresence endpoints usually require a Gigabit Ethernet port (RJ-45 UTP) installed on the wall
behind the endpoint. This port connects the Cisco TelePresence endpoint to the organization’s network infrastructure.
The RJ-45 UTP port, if not already present and in the correct location, is installed during the build-out of the
Immersive Cisco TelePresence room.

Network access for in-room participants can be provided through a wireless access point or with wired connectivity
using an additional RJ-45 UTP port combined with a switch. If used, switches should not generate more than 45 dB of
sound within the Cisco TelePresence room.

Indirect Lighting
When evaluating a room for Immersive Cisco TelePresence, the first step is to verify whether the room’s current
lighting fixtures are indirect lighting fixtures or some other type. You can determine the type of fixture with a visual
inspection, however the level to which the fixtures are indirect versus indirect/direct cannot be determined visually.
You need to get the model number of the fixture and research it for verification. Many indirect fixtures may appear to
be completely indirect but can provide a significant amount of direct downlighting.

The next step is to verify that the placement of the light fixtures provides optimum lighting conditions, which are:

● 4000 or 4100 Kelvin color temperature


● CRI index of 82
● Evenly dispersed light across the room that does not to fluctuate more than 100 lux between room areas
● 300 to 400 lux on the vertical plane (facial lighting)
● 600 to 800 lux on the horizontal plane (shoulder lighting)
If the room is at a site that has not been remodeled within the past 15 years, the light fixtures are likely to be direct-
lighting fixtures. These direct fixtures are designed to illuminate work surfaces, tabletops, and walking paths, but they
do not provide evenly dispersed lighting. Direct-lighting fixtures create hotspots and require remediation. If these are
present, some direct-lighting fixtures can be converted to indirect-lighting sources with light diffusers that cover the
lamps, so an option is to have local facilities personnel check with the manufacturer of your current lighting to see
whether existing direct-lighting fixtures can be converted into indirect-lighting sources, as a cost-saving alternative to
replacing the existing fixtures. Also, check with your facilities department to determine whether they have indirect
lighting fixtures that can be used for the new Immersive Cisco TelePresence room before you purchase new fixtures.

Direct Lighting
Direct lighting fixtures are suited for accent lighting only in an Immersive Cisco TelePresence room due to the
hotspots of illumination and other undesirable visual effects they create on camera.

Direct lighting is designed specifically to illuminate horizontal surfaces. It is also designed to minimize horizontal light
distribution to avoid shinning light into the eyes. This type of fixture is often seen in hallways and corridors, and less
often in offices and over cubicles where desktops or flooring requires illumination. Since these lights are direct by
nature, the light is focused directly downwards and results in the illumination focusing on the tops of people’s heads
and shoulders rather than the face and torso. Direct lighting often translates on screen as a glare or a glow across
surfaces. Below is guidance on two common types of direct lighting fixtures:

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Design Guide

Table 10. Common Commercial Office Direct-Lighting Fixtures

Light Fixture Remediation Comments


Parabolic Louvers Diffuser kit Available from some manufacturers.
Recessed Can Lights Use only as accent lighting Useful as a design element but not for
primary illumination.

Figure 48. Parabolic Louver Lighting

Callout Description
1 Direct parabolic louver lighting.
2 Lighting diffuser kit over parabolic louver lighting.

If parabolic louver lighting fixtures must be used, avoid placing them directly over meeting participants. In a Cisco
TelePresence room, these fixtures can be used on the perimeter of the room to add wall wash or perimeter
illumination in the back of room. Often these fixtures are used in the back of a large Immersive Cisco TelePresence
room to illuminate the back area where shadows would be present.

Can lighting is also not recommended as primary lighting in a Cisco TelePresence room because it creates hotspots,
but it is suitable for accent lighting such as wall wash or to illuminate adornments. This use, as accent lighting, can
provide an excellent means of creating depth perception within the room and add to the meeting experience.

Figure 49. Recessed Can Lighting

The following figure shows the application of indirect lighting as the primary light source in the room combined with
direct-lighting fixtures for accent lighting on the back wall of the Cisco TelePresence room.

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Design Guide

Figure 50. Indirect Lighting as Primary Source and Direct Lighting for Accent Lighting

Replacing Lighting Fixtures


If the light fixtures in the selected Cisco TelePresence room need to be replaced, give special consideration to
selecting the new lighting solution. Ceiling height and space above the ceiling tiles will affect the indirect lighting
fixtures that can be used.

With lower ceiling heights, hanging pendent light fixtures may not leave adequate space above the Immersive Cisco
TelePresence endpoint or participants’ heads.

With recessed light fixtures, the air space above the ceiling tiles must have adequate clearance to accommodate the
light fixtures and still adhere to local building and fire codes.

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Design Guide

Room Design Models

The practical application of aesthetics in an Immersive Cisco TelePresence room comes into play when considering
how the participants who will use the space. A company may have a different design approach for the look and feel of
an environment that is meant to be used by its executives than for an environment to be used for frequent
conferences by knowledge workers.

How each flexible aesthetic element can be used to create a specific environmental effect is summarized in the table
below:

Table 11. Room Design Models

Aesthetic Element Executive Level Room Design Professional Level Room Classic Level Room Design
Design
Example

Lighting Custom overhead indirect lighting Indirect overhead lighting fixtures Commercial indirect overhead
fixtures combined with lighting combined with back wall and lighting fixtures.
coves and scene-type lighting aesthetic-element accent lighting.
presets as well as back wall and
aesthetic-element accent lighting.
Color Cisco TelePresence color palette Cisco TelePresence color palette Cisco TelePresence color palette.
with specialized color accents with corporate colors as accents
throughout the room. throughout the room.
Furniture Space permitting, incorporate a Space permitting, incorporate No additional furniture needed.
selection of credenzas, additional seating, bookshelves,
bookshelves, side tables, or coat or side tables.
racks.
Decorative Accents Vases, corporate awards, table Vases, corporate awards, and No additional accents needed.
art, books, clocks, and items with items with interesting shapes.
interesting shapes.
Wall Art Add art on the walls to help Consider adding wall art to help Consider adding wall art to help
create balance in the room as a carry the continuity of the room carry the continuity of the room
whole as well as provide the across all three screens for across all three screens for
advantage of carrying the multipoint scenarios. multipoint scenarios.
continuity of the room across all
three screens for multipoint
scenarios.
Plants (Optional) Plants can help (Optional) Plants offer a pleasant No plants needed.
integrate the Cisco TelePresence organic touch to any room
endpoint into the space when environment. Consider the height
placed on the sides of the system and leafiness of a plant and how
by the lighting facade. This well its shape works on screen.
placement helps connect the Depending on an organization’s
system to the room and breaks corporate policy, plants can be
up the void between the system real or artificial.
and the back wall. Plants are
often used in the back corners of
an Immersive Cisco
TelePresence room to help
enhance the depth perception for
the on-camera experience.

© 2011 Cisco and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved. This document is Cisco Public Information. Page 65 of 70
Design Guide

Aesthetic Element Executive Level Room Design Professional Level Room Classic Level Room Design
Design
Hospitality Hospitality items that support a Hospitality items that support a No special hospitality items
meeting can be added as part of meeting can be added as part of needed.
the in-person experience or as the in-person experience or as
decorative accents on screen. decorative accents on screen.
Items to consider are: conference Items to consider are: water
desk pads, a mint dish, pens, glasses, coasters, pens, note
note pads, napkins, or a box of pads, napkins, or a box of
tissues. tissues.
Signage Add signage as a means of Add signage on the back wall as Add signage on the back wall as
identifying the location to a means of identifying the a means of identifying the
participants at the other end of location to participants on the location to participants on the
the call. other end of the Cisco other end of the Cisco
Make sure that signage does not TelePresence call. Optimal TelePresence call. Optimal
use high-reflectivity materials positioning of signage is in the positioning of signage is in the
such as glass and polished center of the center screen. center of the center screen.
metals. Also check that signage
is not obstructed when
participants are seated.

Use these flexible elements to tailoring room design to the needs, preferences, and brand of your organization.

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Design Guide

Appendix A: HVAC Components and Systems

HVAC Components
Air conditioning is part of a larger entity called an HVAC system, which encompasses heating, ventilation, air
conditioning, and control systems. There are several HVAC components that make up an HVAC System. These
components should be reviewed during the room selection and room remediation process. Below are descriptions
and definitions for these components.

Duct Types
Ducts are used to deliver and remove air. The airflows include supply air, return air, and exhaust air. Air ducts are
generally rectangular or round and are made from a variety of materials. When ducts are accurately sized and the
duct system is correctly designed, the air will be delivered to the rooms and spaces with little noise or airflow
resistance.

Galvanized Steel
Most ducts are made of galvanized steel. Galvanized steel can be easily bent and cut, which allows bends and
curves to be created as needed. In addition, many features are available in default sizes and shapes. Galvanized
steel ducts are usually wrapped with fiberglass thermal insulation. The insulation helps reduce heat loss or gain and
prevents water vapor from condensing on the outside of the duct when a duct is used for cold air in air conditioning.
Insulation also has a particular effect on the Immersive Cisco TelePresence experience since insulation can help
reduce noise from air movement within the duct work. Duct liner and fiberglass installation both reduce noise through
the duct walls.

Duct Board
The main types of duct board are polyurethane and fiberglass.

Polyurethane duct board is not as common as galvanized steel, but ducts that are rectangular are often made from
duct board. One benefit is to this type of ducting is that it does not require additional insulation. Polyurethane duct
board has built-in properties that provide sound damping. The duct is made through a forming process using water or
gas. The panels are then coated with aluminum. The ducts are installed using a flange system.

Fiberglass duct board provides built-in thermal insulation and excellent sound absorption, which helps reduce the
noise of an HVAC system. The cut boards are generally rectangular and closed off with staples or metal-backed tape.

Flexible Ducting
A variety of flexible ducting types are available. Generally, flexible plastic is laid over a metal wire coil to make a
round, flexible duct. The duct can be insulated with fiberglass insulation to help reduce heat transfer from the duct as
well as noise. Flexible ducting makes it easy to attach the supply air outlets to the ducting. One disadvantage of
flexible ducting is that pressure loss is greater than with other types of ducting. This means that the installation needs
to be kept to short ducting runs with few turns.

Ducting Systems
The two duct systems most commonly used are perimeter duct systems and extended plenum duct systems.

Perimeter Duct Systems


In a perimeter duct system, the supply outlets are located around the outer edge of the structure, close the floor of the
outside wall or on the floor itself.

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Design Guide

There are two basic perimeter duct systems used today:

● Perimeter-loop duct system


● Radial perimeter duct system
The perimeter-loop duct system is characterized by feeder supply ducts and extends outward from the furnace
plenum to a loop duct running around the perimeter.

In a radial perimeter duct system, the feeder supply duct extends from the furnace plenum to the warm-air supply
outlets located on the outside walls or the floor next to the outside walls.

Extended Plenum Systems


In the extended plenum system, a large rectangular duct extends straight out from the furnace plenum and generally
in a straight line down the center of the basement, attic, or ceiling. Round or rectangular supply ducts extend as
branches from the plenum extension to the plenum, which permits a better airflow rate with reduced resistance
because of the large duct diameter. The branching ducts are usually located between structural joints in the floor or
ceiling.

Other Main Duct Components


In addition to the ducting itself, the duct system has other components such as vibration isolators, dampers, air
terminals, take-offs, and terminal units.

Vibration isolators reduce the vibration that blowers create. Vibration isolators are installed before and after the air
handlers and are made of a flexible rubber-like substance that reduces the vibration the air handlers transmit through
the duct system.

Dampers provide a means of adjusting the volume of airflow through the duct system. Dampers can be fitted in the
ducts and can be manual or automatic.

Take-offs are fittings that allow part of the flow from the main duct to be diverted to a duct branch. Take-offs allow the
air to be diverted to the various diffusers, grilles, and registers in the system.

Terminal units are in branch ducts. Normally, there is one terminal unit per thermal zone. VAV boxes are one type of
terminal unit. They may also have a heating or cooling coil.

Air Terminals
Air terminals are the supply and return outlets. Diffusers are the most common type. Grilles and registers are also
used. For the return, exhaust grilles are used, and some also incorporate an air filter, which is then called a filter
return.

Diffusers
Diffusers are very common in heating, ventilating, and air conditioning systems. Diffusers are used on both all-air and
air-water HVAC systems, as part of the room air distribution subsystems, and serve the following purposes:

● Deliver of ventilation and air conditioning


● Evenly distribute the flow of air in the desired directions
● Enhance mixing of room air into the air being discharged
● Attach air jet(s) to a ceiling or other surface
● Create low-velocity air movement in the occupied portion of room
● Accomplish the preceding functions while producing the minimum amount of noise

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Design Guide

Diffusers may be round, rectangular, or linear slot diffusers. Linear slot diffusers take the form of one or more long,
narrow slots (hence the name) that are often semi-concealed in the ceiling.

Occasionally, diffusers are used in a reverse fashion, as air returns. More commonly, grilles are used as return or
exhaust air inlets.

Registers
Registers are devices attached to an air-distributing duct for the purpose of discharging air into the space being
heated or cooled. A register is an opening that discharges air in a confined jet, whereas a diffuser is an outlet that
discharges air in a spreading jet. Both registers and diffusers can be placed at a number of locations in a room,
including in the floor, in the baseboard, low on the side wall, on the windowsill, high on the side wall, or in the ceiling.

For heating, the preferred location is in the floor, at the baseboard, or at the low side wall of the outside wall,
preferably under a window. For cooling, the preferred location is high on the inside wall or the ceiling. For year-round
air conditioning in homes, a compromise location is the floor, baseboard, or low side wall at the exposed wall,
especially if adequate air velocity in an upward direction is provided at the supply outlet. Registers are generally
interchangeable with vented grilles.

Thermostats
A thermostat is a device for regulating the temperature of a system so that the system's temperature is maintained
near a desired set point. Thermostats start and stop the system depending on the room temperature set. The
thermostat does this by controlling the flow of heat energy into or out of the system. That is, the thermostat switches
heating or cooling devices on or off as needed to maintain the correct temperature.

Thermostats contain a sensor that operates based on its expansion or contraction. As the temperature rises, the
sensor expands, which causes the cooling system to engage. As the temperature drops, the sensor contracts and
causes the system to shut down. Duct thermostats have sensors that extend into the wall of the duct. An instrument
head is connected that is accessible for adjustment or inspection. These sensors can be helpful for cooling specific
areas or rooms.

Common sensors include:

● Bi-metal mechanical sensors


● Expanding wax pellets
● Electronic thermistors
● Electrical thermocouples
The thermostat can control the heating or cooling apparatus using direct mechanical control, electrical signals, or
pneumatic signals.

HVAC System Types


There are many different types of HVAC systems. The following are commonly found in commercial buildings. As
these systems can be quite complex, it is always recommended to consult with an HVAC engineer to ensure that an
adequate HVAC system is designed or already in place for the intended Immersive Cisco TelePresence room.

Central Air Handler System with Forced Air


Air distribution systems based on the forced-air principle of delivery use a system of ducts to deliver the heated or
cooled air to the various rooms and spaces in the structure.

A forced-air or warm-air heating system uses air as its heat-transfer medium. These systems use ductwork and vents
as a means of air distribution. The return plenum carries the air from several large return vents to a central air handler

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Design Guide

for reheating. The supply plenum directs heated air from the central unit to the rooms that the system is designed to
heat. Regardless of type, all air handlers consist of an air filter; blower; heat exchanger, element, or coil; and controls.
As in any other kind of central heating system, thermostats are used to control forced-air heating systems.

Forced-air heating is the type most commonly installed in North America. It is less common in Europe, particularly in
the United Kingdom, where it is typically referred to a warm-air heating.

Independent Room Air Conditioning System


Air conditioning packs consist of an internal device and an external unit for the individual air conditioning of a single
room. The different versions of internal devices offer many options for air conditioning. These internal devices are
available in wall-mounted versions as well as cassette units for integration into ceilings.

Split Air Conditioning Systems


Ductless or split-system air conditioners, often called mini-split air conditioners, are frequently used in commercial
applications in situations where extending or installing additional ductwork is not practical. These systems are
composed of two units, with one part installed directly in the room to be cooled (either in the ceiling or the wall), and
the other part located outside or away from the room. These systems generally operate quietly since the noisy part of
the system is installed away from the room.

Cassette Room Air Conditioning Systems


Cassette air conditioning devices are designed for installation in larger rooms. Except for the air outlets, the entire
technology hides discretely behind the suspended ceiling. A three-stage fan with an automatic operating mode
selection regulates the temperature in the room. The cooling air can be distributed through four adjustable outlet
apertures, even in larger rooms. Changes in the settings can made using a remote control. Cassette-type systems
are very effective but may produce more noise than desirable. Their advantage is that these systems are
independently controlled and self-contained in one unit.

Independent Room Heat Systems


Space heaters are essentially spot heaters that heat a single room. A wide variety of space heaters exist, using
different kinds of fuel. Some have supplemental fans to help distribute heat. The characteristics of the space to be
heated determine if one is appropriate.

Unless operated exclusively by electricity, space heaters should always be vented to the outside. The combustion
process creates harmful by-products (including carbon monoxide) in addition to large amounts of water vapor, and it
is important that these pollutants be removed from the room.

Printed in USA C07-643449-01 03/11

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