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Beyond Books

May 13, 2013 1:17 PM, By Tim Kridel

Building the multimedia library of the future

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AV Meets IT

Hunt Library’s multimedia features meant that AV and IT systems would have to work together seamlessly. For example, the IT work room has an adjacent server room with 16 water-cooled racks, half of which are dedicated to AV. That’s key because the IT work room hosts media and routes it to different rooms over a 10Gb fiber backbone, with 48 strands to each room. The infrastructure also is in place so that in the future, the IT work room can remotely control AV assets, such as turning projectors on and off throughout the facility.

“They can monitor everything from the control room in the IT work room,” Stevens says. “They [also] can send media and manage it from the work room. It’s a really nice feature for the university to be able to do that.”

In other projects, AV access to IT infrastructure often is hard to get for reasons such as the IT staff’s concerns about security and bandwidth. At Hunt Library, one person almost singlehandedly changed all that, according those who worked with him: Maurice York, NCSU Libraries head of IT.

“Maurice was better than awesome,” Stevens says. “He almost seems like more of an AV IT guy than an IT AV guy. He understands it better than any IT guy I’ve met. I wish we had that every time we went on somebody’s network.”

For example, York provided tips for configuring switches and other network elements that handle AV and IT so the two traffic types aren’t stepping on each other. That assistance was particularly helpful for the control system, which uses Extron XTP for transport.

“The control on this job was almost exclusively IP,” Cenzer says. “We worked with the IT department to make sure we had the resources needed: VLANs, IP addresses, and VoIP setup.”

York also was instrumental in finding the budget to enable the AV designs to push the envelope and redefine “library.”

“The initial budget for the AV system was about one-sixth of what they ended up spending,” Harrison says. “They said, ‘This is how much we have to spend,’ and Sextant Group said, ‘Okay, this is what we can do with that, but this is what you really should have.’ Then Maurice came back and said: ‘I want to go for that. I’m going to raise the money to do it.’”

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