Conference systems facilitate the discussion of key issues for the planet.

Didiê Cunha *

The United Nations Assembly for the Environment (UNEA) is one of the world's leading forums, in which heads of state, environment ministers, activists and NGOs meet to consider and make global commitments for environmental protection. The most recent meeting of the UNEA was held at the UN headquarters for the African continent, in Nairobi, Kenya.

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This whole UN complex has systems for Shure conference, and there are more than 4.000 meetings per year. The main rooms of the complex function as independent rooms and combine for the UNEA, forming a large room with capacity for more than 2 thousand people.

To understand the complexity of this type of event, we must explain the elements of a conference system: system in which each participant has a microphone and a loudspeaker to talk and listen to the other attendees. In the case of the ONU, the units are configured in dual delegate mode. Additionally, the UN has identification badges for the participants (MXCSIGN), which allow each country to find its location (or its seat) by the name that appears on the plaque, organized alphabetically.

All these components are connected to a control center (DIS-CCU) that remains in the technical area. The system management software (SW6000) determines how the procedure will be and all meeting configurations.

From this software, technicians can program the agenda of events, voting, speeches, open or close any microphone in the system and also program the identification plates of each delegation.

For this assembly, the mode of operation was manual, so that the president could open and close his microphone and also that of any participant in the room. The delegates, in turn, could not open their own microphone, but had to request the right to speak.

One of the challenges was to maintain the organization and the schedule. Especially, the duration times of the speeches. In the case of the UNEA, the president of France, Emmanuel Macrón, and that of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta, had no time limit for their speeches. All the other participants had 4 minutes to intervene.

To notify the speakers that their time was ending, the SW6000 software, installed on a computer next to the podium, notified them when there was an 1 minute to finish. At the end of each speech, when the clock marked the 4 minutes, the microphone was automatically disconnected, thus guaranteeing equal time for all.

There is also the challenge of multiple languages. One of the most sensitive points is the intelligibility and understanding of the information (audio quality). More than 190 member countries of the UN participated in the meeting. It was necessary to offer simultaneous translation for several languages ​​such as English, Spanish, French, Russian, Arabic and Chinese, and in some sessions, Portuguese and Italian.

The participants of the meeting can choose the language they prefer to listen through the channel selectors, which are part of the conference system, installed in the tables of each delegation.

Such a great event could not have a result that was not technically perfect. The whole system behaved very well, without failures or problems thanks to proper planning, a well-made installation and up-to-date maintenance. In this way, even when the systems have been operating for several years, they continue to work perfectly, even in the most critical applications.

In conclusion, conference systems with intelligibility and quality are important, not only for global institutions such as the UN, but for the entire planet.

* Didiê Cunha is Senior Specialist in Market Development of the company Shure.

Richard Santa, RAVT
Author: Richard Santa, RAVT
Journalist from the University of Antioquia (2010), with experience in technology and economics. Editor of the magazines TVyVideo + Radio and AVI Latin America. Academic Coordinator of TecnoTelevisión & Radio.


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