UC Merced Uses Flexible Control for New Campus
Dec 3, 2008 12:00 PM, By Linda Seid Frembes
UC Merced chose an AMX control system to offer faculty the flexibility they wanted, but still have basic functions available at the touch of a button. Volkerts notes that the school had AMX control system in its previous facilities and that the product line was well-liked. “It was not a difficult choice,” he says.
The AMX touchpanel gives faculty a basic landing screen with more complex AV menus underneath. In larger rooms, the system controls multiple screens with multiple sources. In most instances, the teaching staff uses document cameras regularly, whereas some faculty will bring in their own laptops. The AMX touchpanel also controls the classroom’s Lutron lighting, sound system, and microphones. Various presets were also programmed in for staff members that prefer less involvement with the equipment.
“The goal was to have a modular in design with a base level of AV functions with added layers of complexity,” Neuman says. “We worked with the university based on their experiences, and can modify the AMX panel for each type of room. The benefit is that it is easy to change the user interface. AMX is a modular hardware system so it is also easy to add and subtract parts. It merges well with infrastructure.”
Currently, AMX controls all the local room functions but the school has future plans to implement the system for asset management, as well as permanent installations of 10in. in-wall touchpanels. The system is not used for automated maintenance; instead, nightly sweeps are conducted by some of the 22 student technicians that assist the three professional staff members for IT help desk and classroom support.
UC Merced is also one of the greenest schools in the UC system, with all buildings on campus rated LEED silver or higher.
As the campus grows, AVI-SPL built in some future-proofing to its AV design, such as the use of 16:9 projection screens even though most projectors in use right now are 4:3. Conduit was laid throughout the school buildings for future videoconferencing, and some fiber-optic cable was put in to ensure plenty of future bandwidth.
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