University of Hertfordshire – AV over IP system across multiple rooms in a new Science Building

A totally innovative solution for University of Hertfordshire’s Science Building

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University of Hertfordshire
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Reflex was asked to submit a proposal in response to a tender request for the audio visual systems in the University of Hertfordshire’s New Science Building. A new building was required to replace an older existing building used by the Faculty of Science, with the aim of bringing all of the university’s state-of-the-art facilities, together under one roof.

The New Science Building is a purpose-built space that offers multiple teaching facilities including teaching laboratories, research and computer laboratories and a pharmacy simulation centre.

It also provides open areas suitable for informal learning and socialising between lectures. The space is available to external users via Conference Hertfordshire.

The comprehensive 64 page brief, developed by Hewshott International, covered the need for audio visual solutions to support each of the rooms within the building.

The Requirements
The Solution
The Results
The Requirements

The systems cover a number of small meeting rooms, several larger and more complex teaching spaces, a clock distribution system and digital signage installations.

The solution had to provide the academic staff with the presentation aids they required to deliver their teaching session so that all students can see and hear.

Additionally, the solution also had to fit in with the university’s ‘standard’ AV offering for teaching spaces, whilst being tailored enough to fit the needs of the environment.

While a solution that met the criteria was the main driver, the university did ask for innovative solutions for the AV system within the tender process.  Clearly a science and research building was the ideal environment to think about different ways to deliver the solution.

The Solution

The specification provided was based on a good, but standard AV installation, using a large central digital switching matrix with many inputs / outputs to the AV systems. Whilst viable, the specification was limited in its flexibility for future expansion and in managing source / displays.

Reflex took an innovative approach to the control and distribution of images and sound across the building, moving practically all signals across the house network at extremely high quality and with HDCP compliance. This is an approach proven by Reflex, resulting in a very cost effective and flexible solution for the client.

Using a completely networked AV solution, Reflex offered an alternative solution that was almost unlimited in flexibility and expansion, used the existing network cabling rather than miles of dedicated AV cabling, as well as offering a substantial cost saving on the project.

By removing the large, expensive core matrix from the rooms, Reflex removed the restrictions in the number of inputs and outputs that can be accommodated. If the university needs to add more sources or displays in the future, all that will be required is a network port and power for the source or display. This means the university cannot run out of AV matrix or switcher ports; there is no proprietary cabling and the system integrates neatly with any other networked solutions.

This approach makes the teaching desk connections in the rooms available to any decoder in the building. Additionally it makes any encoded source in the building available to room displays, without the need for any conventional AV switching. Each space can therefore be used as a spill over room for the larger spaces, with access to video streams being managed by the control system.

We believe this is the first installation of its kind in the country that deploys a total AV over IP solution.

This is a truly innovative solution, leveraging networked AV to its full potential. The project was a proper collaboration between the university, the AV consultant who worked on the project through to handover, the university’s AV team and ICT team and the manufacturer / distributor (WyreStorm / Polar Audio).

Reflex’s solution was not only compliant with the specification but went beyond it in terms of delivering what the end users needed and what the university was likely to want on the opening day, and for years to come. It was future proof, flexible and of high quality throughout.

The Project has completely met the client’s expectation and has truly realised the potential that the whole team recognised was possible at the project start.

The Results

The measurement of success comes from the client contact, Adam Harvey, Solution Architect AV and Digital Media at University of Hertfordshire who states:

“The solution that Reflex recommended resulted in the complete installation being approximately 15% cheaper, chiefly through delivering AV over IP rather than deploying an HDBaseT solution. This saved us around £60,000.

Additionally, an HDBaseT system has to be delivered in a fixed matrix size. This means to get the 80×50 virtual matrix achieved with WyreStorm, you have to either use a 64×64 and get creative with the input side of it, or go 128×128 for the full functionality but pay for lots of extra stuff you don’t need.

The competition went for the 64×64 option which meant in some areas the functionality was compromised to keep the cost down. The Reflex solution delivered the optimum matrix size, meaning we neither had to pay for un-needed functionality nor compromise by getting less than required.

With a view to ongoing costs, the end points are a lot cheaper to buy and therefore we incur lower OpEx costs.  Additionally, the upgrade path is much easier for things like 4K. As the system is only reliant on point to point delivery you can upgrade in tiny bits rather than having to change the end points and the cards in a central management matrix.

So in summarising the success, we got a system that delivers exactly what we need right now, will be easy and cost effective to upgrade when needed, at a considerable cost saving against ‘making do’ alternatives.”