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Key Digital® connects flexible multi-purpose conference and presentation space with unprecedented control at Carson Springs Baptist Conference Center

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Creating highly flexible presentation solutions for a variety of audio-visual environments is a long-standing aim of Key Digital®, an award-winning developer and manufacturer of leading-edge digital video processing and video signal distribution solutions. When Carson Springs Baptist Conference Center in Newport, TN, found the need to maximize its existing space by creating a flexible range of space application solutions, its administrators turned to Eaton Technology Solutions’ Doug Eaton, who understood how to address the Center’s needs. “They had a frustrating system that was failing because of its age,” says Eaton, “and it was also very confusing because their space is a little bit complicated. It’s one big room that potentially can be divided into eight smaller rooms – sort of a multi-purpose conference center space. I was introduced to Key Digital’s products probably three-plus years ago, and I have been using Key Digital products here, there and everywhere since.”

One of the main goals with the new system was ease and simplicity of control for Carson Springs personnel as well as guest presenters, many of whom are not technically inclined and need the system to “simply work” every time, no matter the input format or room configuration. Eaton saw this as a prime placement for Key Digital’s Compass Control® Pro software, a fully integrated iOS-based control system, to be utilized by two dedicated iPads for familiar and versatile control throughout the facility. “That was another unique need,” Eaton continues. “They wanted to have control, but they didn’t want to leave control in the room. They have everything from church teen youth groups all the way up to senior citizens and quilting clubs using the space – a wide variety of users – and they didn’t want to have touch panels on the wall in each room. They wanted to be able to set it, configure it, and then take the iPad back to the manager’s office. Compass Control made that easy to do without having to buy any proprietary control gear. We were just able to install the app on a couple of iPads.”

Featuring a customizable layout for ultimate interface clarity and familiarity, these Compass Control Pro-equipped tablets talk directly to the centerpiece of the installation, Key Digital KD-CX800 Master Controllers with IR and RS-232 over IP control capabilities, which integrated seamlessly with several other brands of gear, including the systems’ Clear One digital signal processors housed in the main control room rack. Eaton continues, “I was particularly pleased with how well it integrated with other manufacturers’ products. Not only did they work well in terms of all the audio handshaking with the Key Digital devices, but they were also easily controlled by the Compass Control system. I was afraid at first, seeing that sometimes when you get manufacturer A trying to talk to manufacturer B, you get a lot of finger-pointing and incompatibilities and inconsistencies. But this project was as smooth as butter.”

A variety of other Key Digital components were a sure fit for the job, which sought to connect up to six independent spaces at once with complete input and routing options to any of the conference rooms’ audio and visual playback systems. This was achieved with the use of a KD-MS8x8G 8 Input 8 Output HDMI Matrix Switch with audio de-embedding, which feeds six KD-X444SP HDMI over 50m CAT6 Extender Sets for networked CAT6 connectivity to any of the six displays placed throughout the customizable spaces. For easy interface of presentation devices into the switcher, Eaton used six pairs of independent KD-X2x1WDTx HDMI Display Port over 40m CAT6 HDBaseT Wall Plate Switcher/Transmitters with KD-X40MRx HDMI over 40m CAT6 HDBaseT Receivers. “They needed to connect in any section of the room and route that signal to any display in the room. The matrix switcher is doing the switching, but because of the distance from the room to the rack, we had to figure out a way to make that all work,” Eaton states. “They’ll walk in with their device and they want to use it to do a presentation. Depending on the room configuration, the front of the room is not always in the same place.”

While Eaton Technology Solutions boasts of successful technical installations ranging from houses of worship to school systems, small businesses and other multifaceted (and often budget-conscious) clients, Eaton had additional goals in mind for Carson Springs. “I’ve been told I have the heart of a teacher, and I find that I’d much rather people understand than purchase.” The Key Digital products installed at Carson Springs allow him to do just that: focus on the user experience instead of what is happening inside of the rack. “We built that interface from scratch for this very unique space and room, and to make everything, from controlling the pan tilt zoom camera to being able to do screen layouts, on the iPads as simple as humanly possible.”

Through working with Key Digital across a multi-year relationship, Eaton has developed a strong appreciation for the dedication of their technical support team, including his experiences with Key Digital’s VP of Product Education & Experience, Jonathon Ferry. “My biggest reason for picking Key Digital products is knowing that Jonathan’s only a phone call away if I have an issue. I’ve never worked with a more patient, diligent, technology solutions-minded person.”


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