The first challenge faced by McClure Engineering was the schedule – to provide project documents for rough-in and cabling prior to issuing full bid specifications, before the scope of work was fully determined. Additional challenges were:
- Delivering a control room package that allowed ten of the larger classrooms to be controlled remotely, while having the capability in the future to bring systems on-line from three additional buildings.
- Designing audio-visual systems that were easy to operate for the faculty and staff, but included enough sophistication that allowed the systems to be driven by a technician in a control room located in another building.
- Providing a large number of small systems with automated switching and power “on/off” based on room occupancy conserving energy.
- System needed to support real-time simulcasting between spaces within the facility or between local and remote endpoints.
McClure is currently facing the ongoing challenge of passing real-time large channel count audio between networks. Current hardware is able to switch and/or cascade audio between hardware devices in the control room. However, ideally the control room will be able to accept multi-channel audio packets from different networks, mix, switch and process as required, and then send audio back (between networks).
The control room included a modular switching frame that allows the real-time routing audio and video to pass from local room to control room and back over the campus fiber infrastructure. As additional buildings come on line in the future, fiber cards will be added along with additional control “pods” or stations with supporting electronics where audio-visual or “AV” technicians can jump in and control any room.
Each local system had a dedicated AMX control system processor to manage and integrate communication between all the local equipment, as well as to provide a very user-friendly control interface. Another AMX control system installed in the control room functioned as the “master” controller, sending commands directly to local room equipment when the system was be driven from the control room.
Local small systems included a small form factor controller which was programmed to receive state changes from the rooms occupancy sensor, turning off the local monitor on or off. The system was also set up to pole the AV receiver for the presence of an active input signal, allowing the system to be automatically switched between active inputs, or send a command back to the display to revert back to and show the local PC.
Because the system incorporated a very low-latency fiber optic matrix switcher along with state-of-the-art conferencing codecs, real-time simulcasting and/or video and teleconferencing calls are supported between multiple rooms, or between local rooms and far-end points (such as China). Events can also be recorded and streamed later over the university network or internet.
McClure worked closely with the university, AV Integrator, and the electrical contractor to keep the project on schedule through constant communication with all parties.