In adhering to the University’s standards, the project involved the use of Extron control, Panasonic projection and screens, WolfVision document cameras, Axis cameras, JBL speakers in the classrooms, Tannoy Q-Flex speakers in the lecture theatres, and Warton IP clocks in all rooms.
Panasonic Projectors - 5,000, 7,000 and 10,000 Lumens
Top Tec Lecterns with Monitor Arms
WolfVision V23 Visualiser
TopTec Lectern Tannoy Q-Flex speakers
Extron Control Panel Processor and Touch Panels
Teacherboards projection screens and Double Column Board systems
Microsoft Surface Hub 2S Displays
The University of Birmingham recently developed a brand-new purpose-built Teaching and Learning Building. Developed as an education hub, the facility provides spaces for teaching and social study that adhere to the University’s modern learning experience standards. An important element of the building is that it be IT and AV-rich to accommodate a wide variety of student requirements.
The University wanted to develop the facility for the use of all departments and schools - providing the latest generation of seminar spaces and lecture theatres to all who required them. The spaces within were to be entirely uniform and multi-purpose, so it was imperative that the design feature no specialist teaching area specification. This ensures that all staff would be able to use the facility freely without the concern of accidentally booking a space designed to accommodate a specific pedagogical purpose that would not suit their needs. Instead, the building caters to a broad range of needs coupled with a high degree of user-friendliness.
The Teaching and Learning Building includes a 500-seat lecture theatre, a 250-seat interactive lecture theatre, ten seminar rooms, as well as individual study sections, collaborative group workspaces, and areas that accommodate creative break-out sessions.
Developing a widely accessible solution
GV’s involvement in this extensive project included the delivery of twelve teaching spaces in the building. Ten of these rooms were based on an updated version of University of Birmingham’s standard seminar spaces, which had been developed with GV in the past. The update to the standard included the addition of Panopto lecture capture capability.
The 250-seat interactive theatre was based on the University’s standard design, featuring a dual screen system with column boards. The larger 500 seat auditorium required the design, installation and commission of a more unique system which included edge-blended dual projection and Microsoft Surface Hub Interactive collaboration displays. In addition to the AV within these rooms, the team also supplied and installed an Airgoo digital signage system with room booking information outside each room.
A new standard set
A highlight of the project can be found in the 500-seat lecture theatre. In this space users benefit from four Microsoft Surface Hub units, whose content can feed to the edge-blended 11m projection screen. This is carried out via with the use of a TVOne video wall processor allowing for a wide variety of layouts. The Hub units are all mounted on height-adjustable floor-to-wall lifts that were designed by TOP-TEC with futureproofing and maximum accessibility in mind. Considering an upgrade of the interactive displays, the mounts have been manufactured with the aim to be stitched together to produce a continuous writing surface – a significant feature of the Microsoft Surface Hub 2X model when released.
Project Manager, Stuart Harris, is rightly proud of what was achieved. The project was delivered on schedule as a turnkey solution providing a modern, up-to-date teaching experience for all users. After performing several training sessions for end users, the overall acceptance was very high - especially with the advanced features in the 500-seat lecture theatre enabling the use of the four Microsoft Surface Hubs.
The Teaching and Learning Building stands as an impressive example of the wide implementation of a high-end customer AV standard. Blending state-of-the-art technical capability with an easily adopted end user experience is a far greater challenge than it may initially appear. This is one that the Coventry team overcame to deliver a fantastic turnkey solution for a highly valued and respected customer. The project met the needs of the University, together with their expectations, and was delivered by GVAV to both time and budget.
Further AV upgrades for an immersive experience
GV recently further upgraded the systems in LT1 and one of the seminar rooms (202) to include Zoom Room systems from Crestron’s Flex range of products. Ceiling microphone arrays from Shure were installed to give a fully immersive audio experience for both local and remote users. In addition to the enhanced audio experience, Panasonic cameras were added to feed into the Zoom room systems giving both lecturer and audience views, in LT1 custom software was created to look at telemetry from the microphone arrays to position the cameras automatically when audience members take part in interactive discussions, furthering the inclusive experience for remote participants.