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Zoned AV Educates the Public About Mercy Corps

It was a rush job, but AV integrator CompView came up with a design for the new Mercy Corps Action Center that took an open space and divided it into discrete, non-intrusive AV exhibits.

CHALLENGE: Under a crazy-tight deadline, design a zoned AV system that confi nes sound to specific areas of an open fl oor plan.

SOLUTION: Create a hybrid approach that combines audio signal processing for the zoned audio with strategically placed directional speakers.

Hey, stuff happens. Pinnacle Exhibits of Hillsboro, Ore., was bidding to work on an installation for the new Mercy Corps Action Center in nearby Portland when it realized that the AV company it had contracted with had dropped the ball. The equipment list Pinnacle had received was mismatched for the project at hand, and there was no AV design to build from.

Mercy Corps, a nonprofit organization devoted to helping people around the world stricken by natural disaster, poverty, and civil conflict, was retrofitting a historic brick building for the purpose of educating the public about its mission and how people could help by volunteering their time or money. AV and interactivity would play a big role

With its bid overdue, Pinnacle Exhibits called on Beaverton, Ore.based integrator CompView to complete the AV design in a weekend. It would have to include touchscreen computers, surround-sound audio, wireless microphones, videoconferencing, and projection systems all within a 3,484-square-foot open layout. The goal was to promote interactivity and engagement, but in a way that no exhibit in the center would interfere with another.

“It’s an open area with a lot of media going on at one time,” says John Cathey, a member of CompView’s systems integration sales team. “[We] had to design and install a very focused system to ensure zones wouldn’t interfere with each other and spill sound throughout the space.”

The team’s bid won. Eight months of building and AV integration and $400,000 later, the Action Center opened to the public.

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