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Extron technology deployed in 210 rooms at US university

Extron has provided the AV technology for Utah Tech University’s new 15,000 sq metre Science, Engineering and Technology (SET) building.

The US university’s senior AV administrator, Shaun Hayes, tasked local integrator Marshall Industries with installing AV switching, distribution, control and audio amplification equipment in 35 classrooms, labs, lecture halls and conference rooms.

Beyond the new-build AV systems installed in the SET building, the university’s staff implemented an extensive AV standardisation initiative, retro-fitting a mix of AV systems and unreliable hardware in 175 rooms across 31 buildings to create standard systems based on Extron technology.

“The major technical delineators were Extron’s AV system control and remote support models, which make it extremely easy for AV professionals to design, configure and manage complex rooms,” says Hayes.

In the SET building, AV assets include single-screen classrooms, large lecture halls with multiple screens and anatomy labs with multiple dissection tables that each have a camera and display to facilitate group viewing without having to crowd around the tables.

Each of the 20 standard classroom features an AV system based on a DTP CrossPoint 4K Scaling Presentation Matrix Switcher with built-in audio amplifier and control processor. Content is displayed via an 86″ flat-panel display or a projector, depending on the classroom design.

The instructor uses a 7″ TouchLink Pro touchpanel to select from five HDMI inputs: the instructor station PC, a document camera, a guest laptop, content from wireless devices delivered via a ShareLink Pro 500, or video from an auto-tracking PTZ camera.

Wireless mics allow instructors to reinforce their voices via a single ceiling speaker driven by the switcher’s built-in amplifier. A directional mic array in the ceiling picks-up room audio. Video and audio are fed through an Extron MediaPort 200 USB scaling bridge to the instructor station PC, which uses a conferencing application to connect to remote students.

The 20 standard classrooms feature AV systems with the same design, which allow professors to teach in any classroom with tools that are familiar. The uniformity also facilitates system maintenance.

The large classrooms and lecture hall deploy the same AV system design as the standard classrooms, with more projectors and flat-panel displays. Two ceiling-mounted directional mic arrays have been installed to cover the increased area, while each room features two 7″ Touchlink Pro touchpanels.

These larger spaces are equipped with up to 12 ceiling speakers, driven by an XPA amplifier fed by an audio signal processor, as well as a presentation matrix switcher configured with more input and output ports.

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“The campus-wide standardisation initiative focused on consistency,” says Hayes. “Instructors teach in multiple classrooms during a typical day. We want to provide them with a dependable and uniform AV experience in every room. We also leverage GlobalViewer Enterprise to implement a strong AV management back-end to maximise AV system uptime.”

In the two anatomy labs, video cameras have been installed above each of the 16 dissection stations. A NAV Pro AV-over-IP system allows video from any dissection station to be viewed on any or all of of the 16 86” flat-panel displays on the wall at the head of each table, plus four additional 43″ screens.

The labs feature ShareLink Pro 500s for wireless content sharing from portable devices. They employ MediaPort 200 USB scaling bridges to deliver audio and video to remote students participating in lab sessions via conferencing applications.

Wireless mics and a ceiling-mounted directional mic array in each lab deliver audio to 10 ceiling speakers through a signal processor and an MPA 601 amplifier. Users control AV system functions from a wall-mounted 7″ TouchLink Pro touchpanel.

Three conference rooms with identical AV systems feature a A DTP2 switcher, which allows users to select from two HDMI sources connected via cables accessed through a Cable Cubby in the conference table.

Anyone in the room with a portable device can contribute AV content wirelessly via a ShareLink Pro 500. A DTP2 receiver supplies the selected video content to a 75″ flat panel display and sends the audio content to ceiling speakers via an MPA 601 amplifier.

The Dean’s Conference Room features an identical AV system design, but the flat-panel display is 86″, and a UC camera, microphone and video codec are added to equip the room for videoconferencing.

Eight small study rooms are equipped with an HC 402 Meeting Collaboration System to facilitate idea sharing. When a presenter connects their laptop to the HDMI jack on the system wall-plate, the AV system powers on, and the presenter’s video and audio come through the room’s 43″ flat-panel display.

“Before the standardisation on Extron, we received dozens of support calls every week,” says Hayes. “Now, our support call volume is down to five or less a week.”

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