What is CEC mode in my Cisco TC software settings?

What is CEC?

For those not familiar CEC or Consumer Electronics Control is the ability to control another device over HDMI. There are quite a few different controls that work with CEC although not every manufacture supports this protocol the same way or has their own version of it.

For the purpose of Cisco’s TelePresence endpoints CEC mode is implemented in TC software as a way to control power management of displays attached to either codecs such as the SX20 as their primary display or in the case of MX series extended displays.

Enabling CEC mode

Turning on CEC mode is pretty simple. Its just a matter of accessing the web UI and enabling the feature.


This feature, because of the variation on consumer displays may work but it carries no guarantee that it will. With new displays coming on and off the market all the time its really up to the display manufactures to support this protocol in a standard fashion which depending on the model may or may not happen.

So if you decide to head down the consumer grade display road make sure that the display will work with your AV gear and supports the protocols you need it to. That 80 incher at Costco may look good but it may not work for your conference room.


Updated for TC 7.2: Cisco TelePresence Web Snapshots for Video and Touch Panel

This is a little tricky but plenty easy to do once you know how. The TC7 software that is used with Cisco’s TelePresence endpoints is a little different than previous versions. In TC 7.0 you can only turn on Web Snapshots using the On Screen Display (OSD) on the SX20 so you will need the remote. If you have a touch panel you may need to turn it off for a few moments to turn this feature on using the remote. Previously you could use the touch panel or remote to turn this feature on but in TC7 it is only enabled via the OSD. Other C series codecs still allow the touch panel or remote to be used to turn on this feature with TC7. In TC 7.2 this is now configurable from the Web UI. Check down towards the bottom of this post for updates on newer versions. This is a evolving feature and has some popularity for those that are creating documentation or troubleshooting TelePresence deployments.

Turning on Snapshot on the SX20 TC 7.0

Using the OSD on the SX20 go to the Advanced configuration menu, navigate to Video > AllowWebSnapshots and choose On.

Turning on Snapshot on the C40/60 Series using the Touch Panel

Open the Settings menu on the Touch controller and tap Administrator. You have to log in with an administrator user name and password to get access to the Administrator menu.

Tap Web Snapshots and choose ON

Using Snapshots

Once enabled the AllowWebSnapshots option in the Web interface will show on. Go to Configuration>System Configuration>Video in the web interface to find this setting. See below:


Once Snapshots is enabled you should see what's being streamed from the camera and also what being presented, in this case from an SX20 in the web interface.


To get a snapshot of the touch panel the touch panel must be connected directly to the codec over the second Ethernet port, or directly through a touch panel port such as with EX90 etc. So the SX20 as an example does not support this feature since the touch panel connects over an external Ethernet port. The screenshots below are from a Profile system that has a C90 Codec.

To get to the correct web interface screen use the following URL

https://<Your codec IP>/web/translation


Use the “Take new snapshot of Touch Panel” button to grab a screen shot of what's being displayed on the touch panel.


From there you can right click on the image and save as.


Updatefor TC 5.1

For TC5.1 from the codec’s web interface you will be able to take screenshots of the Touch interface. Short description:

http://<codec ip address>/wsgi/translation

Here are the steps to take screenshots:

  1. Enable web snapshots in the menu (Touch or OSD menu). By design, enabling web snapshots is not possible on web. This is mainly a security feature to ensure that remote users can’t do this.
  2. Logon to the web interface: http://<codec ip addr>
  3. Enter /translation after the IP address i.e. http://<codec ip addr>/wsgi/translation
  4. Migrate on the Touch device to the desired menu and click the “Take snapshot of Touch Panel” button
  5. Right click on the graphic and “Save Picture as”

Update for TC 7.2

There are 3 major changes for this feature in TC 7.2:

1. The web UI can now be used to turn on this feature in TC 7.2. image

2. Access to touch panel and OSD snapshots are now available in the web UI without having to navigate to another page. Now if you go to Diagnostics>User Interface Screenshots you will have access to both onscreen OSD and also touch panel screenshots.

Screenshot 2014-09-19 15.00.23

3. This will now work form any endpoint not just those with a direct attached touch panel. So the screen shots are from a SX20 with a Touch 8 display panel.

Screenshot of the Touch panel snapshot:

Screenshot 2014-09-19 15.01.23

Touch panel shots are saved but can be removed at any time.

Screenshot 2014-09-19 15.01.01


Creating a TelePresence Background That’s More Than a Pretty Picture

A couple of people have asked about what to use as a background screen for their TelePresence endpoints from my “So you want to deploy UC?” post. It’s a great idea to use this real estate to educate users and give helpful tips. Unfortunately the idea for doing this is one I borrowed from a colleague but I think heard someone say once the best ideas are borrowed/stolen. Anyway.

Below are a couple of different versions of the same thing just updated depending of the version of TC software your using on a Cisco TelePresence endpoint. I actually did this in PowerPoint and then saved them as a JPG. I used the Web UI o the codec to get screenshots of my touch panel. Taking screenshots of your touch panel varies depending on your software version your running so take a look at my blog post on the subject to learn more.



Once you have created your master piece then its just a matter of uploading it to the TelePresence codec. Something I have noticed is that depending on how you create and save the image does affect how it looks once you get it on the screen. Just make sure to keep the image quality good.


As versions change this is something you will want to stay on top of though and make sure your background is still relevant to the version of software your running on your codec.

If you would like a copy of the background PPT you can get it from here. 


SpeakerTrack 60 Overview

I think SpeakerTrack 60 has surprised a lot of people, especially me. I was a little cautious of this type of technology at first, mainly because of previous experience with it competitors. They had a lot of zooming in and out going on which makes you feel a little nauseated. SpeakerTrack 60 has changed at least my perception of what this type of technology can do and it takes what once was a average video conference room and adds a more immersive experience.

If you haven't seen SpeakerTrack 60 before take a look at the video below.

SpeakerTrack 60

If you noticed in the video SpeakerTrack 60 uses direct switching between active speakers versus the Polycom Eagle Eye Director demo below which between speakers there is an establishing shot of the entire room as the camera changes presenters. You will also notice that the camera moves between speakers when closely seated next to one another to center the speaker with Polycom. SpeakerTrack 60 on the other hand doesn’t move when both speakers are already in frame, there is not much point really. These seem like subtle differences but after experiencing both in meetings and demo’s the differences can add up to two very different experiences.

Polycom Eagle Eye Director

I am sure there are those that will comment on Cisco being a little late to the game with this type of technology and that is a true statement. The benefit of coming in a little later is the technology to drive this experience is much better now.Things like 4k camera sensors, magnetic motors etc. all come together to drive a much cleaner experience.  In my opinion at least it’s a much cleaner experience with direct switching versus the others in the market.

How does SpeakerTrack 60 work?


There are four parts to how SpeakerTrack 60 does what it does.

  • Audio triangulation - The microphone array behind the fabric panel that is position behind the camera pictured above is able to accurately locate voices within the room. The microphones are only used for audio triangulation .
  • Facial detection - Identification of a full or partial face at the same location as the voice is required to form a positive match.The camera quickly locates a close- up of the active speaker while the other gets ready to seek and display the next active speaker.
  • Camera control - With a positive match, the processor in the camera base instructs the cameras directly where to move.
  • Camera switching - The processor in the camera base instructs the codec which camera to use. The codec does the actual camera switching.

To get more of a feel for how this works SpeakerTrack 60 has a diagnostic mode that shows how this works. Below is a screenshot of diagnostic mode turned on and a face is detected but no audio match.


Now the engineer is speaking below, and the green square indicates a positive match for facial detection and voice. Therefore the system will zoom in to this person.

The indicators down the bottom of the screen match up with the following:

F = 10.1% detected voice
T = 91.6% non-noise
E = 0% voice from far end
C = 28.1% camera movement
U = 0% ultrasound detected
N = 89.9% silence
S = 178 samples from sound algorithm


The SpeakerTrack functions are turned on and off at the touch panel and when not in use both cameras can be used as normal cameras.

Hopefully this helps explain the technology a little and some of the differences from its competitors.