Cardiff Business School 
Postgraduate Study Centre


TOP-TEC Synergy


Cardiff University developed a new building that would become the new home of their Business School. The focus behind the new CARBS Postgraduate Teaching Centre was to be centred around collaboration and creating an environment that would encourage group work. Cardiff Business School was built with the intent to offer postgraduate students a facility that serves as a bridge between academia and a business environment.  The University commissioned GVAV Exeter team to install a comprehensive AV system throughout the new facility which features twelve flexible seminar rooms, a pair of large auditoria, two student common rooms, an atrium, an executive education suite and a trading floor as well as other non-AV spaces and offices.

The facility has been carefully designed to not only function academically but to reflect the professionalism that such a business environment should. The entire facility utilises the Business School’s red, grey and black colour scheme in a very clean, neat environment. In short, it’s a carefully considered design that’s perfectly suited for its purpose.

According to the Business School’s Technical Services Manager, Neil Davies, GV won the project as the team “provided a tender return that was competitively priced and technologically excellent.  The solutions offered mirrored the School’s views on what was required from the whole building project, combining flexible styles of teaching, collaboration and an international business flavour to the facility.”

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Atrium and Synergy Corridor

Entering the building, visitors are immediately welcomed by an Elo Interactive Digital Signage touchscreen panel featuring way finding capabilities to guide users around the complex. Another IDS panel sits towards to back of the concourse, displaying historical information.  In addition to the interactive panels, the public areas of CARBS feature an array of non-interactive high definition professional NEC digital signage panels. All signage is provides by ONELAN systems. 

On the building’s second floor corridor are six Top-Tec Synergy collaborative desks which have been installed to encourage group activity. 

The Atrium also features an impressive audio setup including Renkus Heinz speakers. The audio system also plays host to BeyerDynamic radio mics, DSP and an Ampetronic loop system has been supplied for assistive hearing. The system is controlled via a Crestron controller.

Trading Floor 0.03

The new facility features a Trading Room that is currently the largest of its kind in Wales. The suite has been developed to offer students an environment in which they can gain practical skills that will aid a career in the Stock Exchange, dealing in stocks and shares. The room allows students to practice trading and risk assessment in a controlled environment. To this end, the room features five Panasonic TH-50LFE 50-inch professional full HD screens to display live feeds from Bloomberg TV and Thomson Reuters.

The most impressive element of the room is the pair of custom LEDSynergy tickers to display stock information – again contributing to the business environment in a practical and aesthetic manner. These bespoke units were developed by LEDSynergy and display stock information and graphics in a similar manner to a Stock Market environment. 

The suite uses a large array of Crestron equipment to allow for seamless collaboration. Included within the room is a complete high definition control and signal routing solution courtesy of a DigitalMedia Presentation System. With collaboration being the main focus of CARBS’ facilities, the University wanted the use a presentation gateway to allow users to wirelessly display content from their device to the system. To achieve this goal, GV opted to use Crestron’s AirMedia AM-100 Presentation Gateway - allowing users to connect wirelessly via the Wi-Fi network and carry out presentations on their device.

The Trading Floor also features a Crestron CaptureLiveHD meeting and lecture capture system as it provides a complete solution with excellent performance. 

Feedback from the system so far has been positive with more students using the lecture capture facilities in order to review their presentation techniques.

The Trading Floor features a Polycom video conferencing system, Sony Blu-ray Disc player and TK Team glass boards along both major walls to allow dynamic note-taking and group work. Projection is provided by a pair of Panasonic 1080p lampless projectors.

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Seminar Rooms

Throughout the building are twelve flexible seminar rooms. The ground floor houses a large seminar room as well as a series of four smaller rooms with removable partition walls that allow users to open the facility up into a bigger space to allow for wider audiences. Similarly, the first floor also has a breakout facility while the second floor features a pair of large seminar rooms adjacent to the Synergy Corridor to allow students to immediately collaborate during or after seminar sessions in the larger rooms.

As standard, each of the rooms features BeyerDynamic radio mic systems, a Sennheiser IR hearing loop system and an integrated custom Top-Tec Explorer Credenza Dual lectern complete with 24-inch Iiyama monitor. Each room also features a Sony Blu-ray Disc player and a Panasonic projector system. Each of the spaces also features TK Team glass boards and Australian Monitor and Ecler speaker systems.

At the heart of each of the rooms is a host of collaborative tools from Crestron including DigitalMedia Presentation Systems, an AirMedia system and lecture capture courtesy of the CaptureLiveHD system.  

The system accommodates the flexibility of the rooms allowing equipment from the master lectern to take over from the slave lectern should there be a requirement to expand the spaces by removing partitions.

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Executive Education Suite

Being one of the UK’s leading business schools, CARBS attracts a large number of executives to its part-time and short courses. To accommodate this need for an even more professional and exclusive environment, the entire third floor of CARBS is dedicated to the Executive Education Suite. The facility is split between a relaxed lounge atmosphere and traditional learning areas – allowing for a fantastic venue for company training or small conferences.

The AV within the suite, like the rest of the spaces within CARBS, features a BeyerDynamic radio mic system and Sennheiser IR hearing loop system. Australian Monitor ceiling speakers provide audio within the room as well.

The suite also makes use of a Crestron DigitalMedia Presentation System and AirMedia – again to allow for a more collaborative environment. The whole system is again controlled by a Crestron touchpanel.

Despite not featuring a projector, the suite features two 65-inch Clevertouch interactive panels to offer interactivity and collaboration through the full HD displays.

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CARBS is also home to two large auditoria – one seating 250 and the other 185. Both theatres are equipped with very similar AV systems with the only major difference being that the smaller of the two features electric drop-down Screen International projection screens (to allow for wall-to-wall glass boards) while the larger theatre features fixed frame models.

The theatres both feature Top-Tec Voyager Contour Duet height-adjustable lecterns which have been integrated with a wealth of AV equipment including a Sony Blu-ray Disc player, Iiyama monitor, Samsung SDP-860 document camera and Crestron TSW-1050-B-S touchpanel. 

Both rooms are serviced by Panasonic projection, TK Team glassboards and Renkus Heinz speakers, a complex array of Crestron systems including DigitalMedia, AirMedia and CaptureLiveHD and a Polycom HDX 7000 video conferencing system.

Meeting Rooms

CARBS also features a meeting room on the first floor. This suite again features similar AV to the rest of the complex including an integrated Top-Tec lectern, Sennheiser hearing loop system, Panasonic projector and Polycom VC system along with Crestron AirMedia, DigitalMedia and CaptureLiveHD facilities, all controlled with a Crestron 10-inch touchpanel.

However, the ground floor meeting room particularly stands out. With the system offering whiteboard functionality and a Crestron TT-110-B-T Connect It™ Presentation Interface offering a host of connectivity options, the room provides users with an intimate collaboration environment. The highlight of the suite however, is undoubtedly the Crestron RL system.  The RoomLync system combines the reliability of Crestron hardware with the flexibility and widespread usage of Microsoft’s Lync video conferencing platform – resulting in a system that is already compatible with a lot of other companies’ video communications systems. The system in incredibly easy and intuitive to use, allowing users to conduct a collaborative session at the touch of a button and display their content onto a 65-inch touch screen, share with other users, annotate over the top of their content or simply use the screen as an interactive whiteboard. The unit is an ideal piece of equipment for such a collaborative environment as CARBS.  

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Student Common Rooms

When designing CARBS, the University took into account the need for students to have a space in which they can relax away from the business environment of the rest of the building. To this end, the complex features a pair of common rooms where students are able to catch up on current events via Bloomberg’s TV channel or carry out group work in a more comfortable environment. To this end, both suites each feature three ‘Cwtches’ – booths centred around NEC panels -  to allow students to work together in groups as they present content to the panel using the Crestron TT-110-B-T. It’s been noted by CARBS’ team that students are finding the systems within the Cwtches very easy and intuitive to use.

Throughout the entire system, lighting control has also been implemented. Accessible from the AV system, lecturers will be able adjust lighting to maximise image quality and the overall student experience.

From Cardiff University’s perspective, CARBS is a huge success with the building providing a far more versatile and effective facility for the School’s students. With regards to GVAV’s input, Neil Davies noted:

Working with GV has been excellent.  Throughout the new build project, the management and installation teams were all sympathetic to a shifting build program and were fully aware of the key deadlines, pulling out all the stops to meet them.  I am also impressed by the depth of AV knowledge available and the tweaks and changes to the AV specification being met with a positive approach to finding a new solution. The work ethic and dedication to the project by the management and installation teams was also very much appreciated.

CARBS stands as an incredible project for both GVAV and the University. The team is delighted that this large scale, collaborative environment will help bolster Cardiff Business School’s reputation and see the continuation of the healthy, prosperous relationship between GV Exeter and Cardiff University for many years to come.