Wednesday, January 29, 2020

How to setup a ZoomRoom

Work In Progress

I've used a bunch of different conference room systems, and this one is great.
You can run it completely on off the shelf components with just things you have laying around usually.

Although in a home environment you might not have spare laptops or computers, but where I worked, we had a stock pile of old laptops, weird odds and ends that would work. 

I'll be discussing mostly PC based systems here, but the macs are pretty much the same.

What you need.

First you need the "ZoomRoom" computer. 
This computer is the heart, all the displays hook up to this, all the video camera(s), mic and speaker devices you might use, everything.  All input and output to a meeting goes through this system.  The idea of this machine is that all the wires connect to this, so it can be set in a hidden location and does not need to by physically touched by users in the room.

Second you will need a "ZoomRoom Controller".  This is the device that users will 'touch' to control the room.  It is cloud paired with the ZoomRoom computer, and allows you to start meetings, join meetings, switch camera angles, mute or enable cameras.  Everything you would do is done on this device.
It can be an Android tablet, an iPAD or even a Windows 10 touchscreen device, and now even a regular windows 10 laptop with a mouse.

Camera.  There are a bazillion different types of camera systems you can use ranging from super fancy to super simple.  You can have multiple cameras on the same computer, and with the controller select the individual angle you want.

This can be done a bazillion ways too.  I can't even get into the different ways, but essentially it boils down to the same method.  You need the audio from the room mic(s) to enter the computer in the standard audio input methodology that will work with your laptop.  Same with the speaker, the output of the laptop needs to leave the laptop in the method the laptop would normally deliver external audio to to a device that let people hear.
 In my example, we are using the Tech 575 conference phone with wireless spider mics.  This device is a speaker phone that you would see on many board tables, except this one not only can do regular VoiP/PSTN calls, it can also be connected to a laptop with USB cable and act as the PC speaker and microphone.  So that is the example we'll use.

ZoomRoom can handle up to 3 external displays independently.  The product really shines with 2 more displays.  It can handle the output of these dispalys on your behalf ensuring content that you assign to specific monitors is done automatically.  For example, in the standard and common 2 screen setup, you can have 1 screen dedicated for the cameras of your participants.  All of this interaction happens on this screen.  You can then have the other screen dedicated to 'shared' content.
So in a meeting in this method, screen 1 might be a 50" HDMI TV hooked to the ZoomRoom computer and shows the live webcamera of the remote people speaking.  Screen #2 might be connected to a project that shows a larger screen, and when someone in the meeting shares their screen, it automatically shows on this screen. 

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Unifi adoption fails with "disconnected" message

Are you getting a "disconnected' message in the GUI for the Unifi controller when you attempt to adopt a node?  Here is something that may help.

There are any number of reasons why a node might fail adoption.

SSH into the node in question, and issue an "INFO" command.
This procedure may help if you get the status "Unable to resolve"

EXAMPLE:BZ.v3.9.19# info
Model:       UAP-AC-Pro-Gen2
MAC Address: 80:a2:41:bf:1c
IP Address:
Hostname:    UBNT
Uptime:      646 seconds
Status:      Unable to resolve (http://unifi:8080/inform)

This error, the node can't resolve the domain name of  "unifi" Seems to be a factory name configured somewhere.  So lets make that name resolvable by putting it and the IP of your controller into the HOSTS table of the device.  This works for both APs and the UNIFI switches.

Do this:

SSH to the AP/device
add a host entry into /var/etc/hosts

IPofController      unifi

So the final might look similar to this.  In my example the controller ip is

BZ.v3.9.19# cat /var/etc/hosts       localhost.localdomain   localhost unifi

Try sending another set-inform command from the AP in question and follow the adoption process again.  Hopefully this will resolve the problem for you.

Running the command INFO should result in a status message similar if successful status message:

Status:      Connected (