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Bottom Line: Flexible, Functional, and Cost Efficient

Sep 11, 2008 10:02 AM, By Jessaca Gutierrez


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You know the three Rs: reduce, reuse, and recycle. It’s the mantra of environmentalism. There’s a similar mantra for many AV installations. Keith Fish, VSI project manager, cited what is a common, straight-forward bottom line for many AV installations—flexibility, functionality, and cost efficiency—when discussing VSI’s most recent installation.

Fish and his team designed and installed AV systems for the meeting spaces in the Penallta House, the new $35-million headquarters for Caerphilly County Borough Council in Wales, United Kingdom. The installation included several unique spaces, including eight meeting rooms, cabinet and committee rooms, a ceremony room, a reception area, and the council chamber room.

Keeping in mind the non-technical staff that would be using the systems, VSI kept it simple. Each of the eight meeting rooms was equipped with a 2000-ANSI-lumen Sanyo PLC-XU73 projector, a retractable electric screen, and a six-button, wall-mounted AMX control touchpanel that was installed next to the room’s light controls. For ease-of-use, the AMX controllers were programmed to power the projector and drop the screen with a touch of a button. Each meeting room also has a floor box containing plug-ins for laptops, DVD and peripheral devices.

To meet the sound needs of the cabinet and committee rooms, VSI installed similar system but added TOA loudspeakers and amp and bumped up the AMX controller to 16-key model. The cabinet room additionally features an interactive whiteboards to facilitate presentations and discussions, as well as a Sony PCS-1P videoconferencing system. The ceremony room, where marriages and civil ceremonies take place, VSI installed a 16-button AMX controller as well as a full sound system with a tuner, CD player, and handheld and lapel radio mic sources.

It was the council chamber where the AV systems really shined. VSI specified a full AV system centered around a 3000-ANSI-lumen Sanyo PLC-XU48 projector, three 60in. plasma screens, and a AMX control that features a 12in. touchscreen tablet. To control the videoconferencing element, VSI integrated a Kramer Electronics VP-88 8x8 RGBHV/balanced stereo audio matrix switcher into the system, which deals with high-resolution video/VGA-XGA and balanced stereo audio signals, routing any input to any or all outputs simultaneously. A Kramer VP-413 scaler is used to convert the DVD/VCR signals to the correct format for outputting on the plasma screens. VSI also supplied a Samsung Visualiser so documents and 3D objects can be shown on any of the screens or display sources. Throughout the building, VSI has installed more than 40 induction loops to aid the hearing-impaired, plus a digital signage system comprising 40in. Sony LCD monitors, which run Saturn Connectvision software and content. The digital-signage system allows information and imagery to be relayed accurately and concisely as well as  quickly and efficiently around the building.

In the reception area is another AMX control unit that is used to power all the digital-signage screens around Penallta House and to switch between satellite TV feeds and the Connectvision sources.

Because of the building’s unusual design, Fish says that the primary challenges of the installation were the complex and convoluted cable routes. VSI decided to run the majority of the signals via Cat-5 for ease of installation. The entire build took 115 weeks, with the installation taking place over 14 weeks with a four-week break between first and second fix.



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