University of Exeter - Learning Spaces Upgrades: Case Study


NEC displays

NEC projectors

Poly videobars

Sony PTZ cameras

VDL projection screens

Biamp ceiling mics

Biamp Tesira

Sennheiser wireless mics

Sonance speakers

Crestron control

WolfVision visualisers

Top-Tec lecterns

​​​​​​​Audio visual case study university of exeter

An important facet of the University of Exeter student experience is having access to the latest technology and learning tools. The University’s refresh cycle ensures that newer, updated solutions are identified to create new opportunities for students through technology and to enhance the systems that are already in place.​​​​​​​

Several learning rooms including a mixture of study spaces, seminar rooms and lecture theatres across the Streatham Campus were due an AV refresh where existing systems had come to the end of their natural life cycle, with new technology on the market that would help the University deliver a world-leading experience for its students. Continuing a long and supportive relationship with the University, GVAV were successful with a comprehensive tender response in early 2023.

University of Exeter

With each room’s specifications different depending on the size and requirements of the faculty, the upgraded rooms have been carefully curated to offer a premium experience for both students and University staff.

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Study spaces and seminar rooms

In setting out the specification for these upgrades, the University identified the requirement to upgrade some of their smaller study spaces to allow for hybrid capability as well as in-person meetings and group work.

In these spaces, NEC displays are wall mounted with Poly Studio video bars, extending the meeting capabilities outside the University grounds. Automatic group reframing, as well as a six-microphone array and a 4K camera mean that in-room participants can connect remotely with ease, offering a more immersive and productive hybrid group study. 

As well as smaller study spaces, many seminar rooms have also been  transformed to accommodate remote learning and participation.

With most learning sessions at the University now being recorded using Panopto, a requirement arose for a camera that was able to track the presenter, not leaving the viewer looking at an empty lectern if the speaker happened to move.

To achieve this, each seminar room is fitted with a Sony SRG-A12 PTZ camera with built-in tracking capabilities. This model was chosen for its advanced auto-framing technology and 12x optical zoom, allowing teaching staff free rein to walk around the room and still be captured by the camera. On the back of the successful integration of these Sony PTZ cameras, the client is planning to expand the rollout with dozens more spaces scheduled to be upgraded in 2024.

Sony PTZ camera at University of Exeter

"In the past, we spent hours manually configuring presets and programming bespoke camera tracking systems across our estate - the new cameras have massively reduced the setup time required… the technology is exceptional, and the ease of configuration and tracking performance is a cut above similar products that we evaluated."

Aaron Delgado | Lead AV Developer, University of Exeter

The auto-tracking cameras aren’t the only new technology installed in these upgraded seminar spaces. For showing content, a combination of NEC projectors and displays have been fitted in varying sizes depending on the specification and requirements of each room. Ranging from 55” to 86”, these NEC Large Format Displays allow University staff to share presentations and other learning content.

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Where projectors are used, VDL (formerly dnp) Supernova projection screens have been fitted.

With a sleek matt black optical surface featuring cutting-edge technology, the Supernova is designed to absorb ambient light while efficiently directing all projected light back towards viewers.

The result is stunningly high-contrast, detailed and colour-rich projection, even in brightly lit environments, meaning game-changing visuals for the University’s upgraded learning spaces.

Audio in these spaces is captured by a combination of Biamp ceiling mics, Sennheiser wireless mics, and, where required, AKG gooseneck microphones. This audio stream is optimised through a Biamp Tesira and then relayed over the system through Sonance speakers. For those watching remotely, this system provides crystal clear audio to accompany the video stream they are viewing through their device. A Crestron control panel allows easy access to the system inputs for University staff, resulting in effortless switching between content from the integrated WolfVision visualiser, the University PC, or their own device.

Top-Tec Lectern at University of Exeter

Custom-branded Top-Tec lecterns provide an important hub for teaching staff, with the Explorer model or the larger height-adjustable Gemini installed in each space depending on the size of the room.

Five dual-projection seminar rooms across two buildings have also been upgraded, fitted with twin NEC projectors and VDL Supernova screens. The combination of the powerful projectors and the cutting-edge technology built into the Supernova enhances the student experience by making images more vivid and presentations easier to read, even when the room is brightly lit.

Seminar room at University of Exeter​​​​​​​

In these rooms, the backlit Top-Tec lectern provides a home for twin PC monitors, a Crestron control panel as well as a gooseneck mic for audio pickup and a visualiser. Alongside a Sony SRG-A12 PTZ tracking camera, a 32” ceiling-mounted NEC comfort monitor has also been installed for the lecturer’s convenience, allowing them to freely move around the room without losing sight of their presentation.

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Lecture Theatres

The largest spaces that required upgrades with more expansive systems were some of the campus’s key lecture theatres.

More powerful 10,000 lumen NEC projectors were chosen to accommodate a bigger screen size, ensuring that everybody attending has a clear view of the presentation.

Due to the size of the theatres, two 65” displays are fitted on the back wall as comfort monitors alongside a Sony SRG-A40 PTZ tracking camera with up to 40x optical zoom.

At the front, a WolfVision visualiser, Sennheiser microphones, and Crestron control make up a comprehensive AV system.

WolfVision visualiser at University of Exeter

Working alongside the University’s in-house AV and IT teams to complete this summer project, GVAV’s South West branch were able to take advantage of their strategic location by being situated just miles from site. This made it simple to build racking off-site, as well as ordering and storing kit locally before transporting it to site as required. Working minutes away from campus was good for environmental considerations and meant that the team were on hand to assist very quickly when needed.

A combination of upgraded audio systems, cutting-edge projection, teaching aids, system control and furniture have created not only an enhanced learning environment for students, but also replenished the working environment for teaching staff. The client’s investment in new technology in key spaces will help continue to sell the University of Exeter’s world-leading experience to prospective students, while improving it further for those already studying.

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