Extron XTP Systems and TouchLink Upgrade Tricor Services for the Future

Tricor Services Limited, a member of The Bank of East Asia Group, provides outsourced expertise in corporate and regulatory administration. Their services include company formation, initial public offerings, and day-to-day professional and financial reporting practices. It is an international company with offices in 17 countries. When it was time to upgrade the AV system at their corporate headquarters in Wan Chai, Hong Kong, Billion Asia Pacific - BAP Technology Consultants Ltd. was tasked with designing a future-ready technology solution that reflected Tricor’s sterling reputation as a professional services provider. BAP selected XTP Systems ® along with audio and control products from Extron.

“Extron’s XTP System was the best choice to fulfill Tricor’s request for an AV solution that is compatible with the latest digital devices while also supporting legacy laptops,” says Marco Tang, Director of Sales at BAP. “The DMP 128 audio DSP, TouchLink ® touchpanels, and the Extron Control app completed the design, providing the easy system operation and flexibility they wanted.”

We selected Extron’s XTP System to fulfill Tricor’s request for an AV solution that was compatible with the latest digital devices while also supporting legacy laptops.

Marco Tang, Director of Sales, BAP Technology Consultants, Ltd.

XTP System Provides High Performance AV Routing

Tricor headquarters are located on seven levels of the Hopewell Centre, a 64‑story circular skyscraper with spectacular views of Hong Kong. In addition to office space, Level 54 includes an exclusive reception area with comfortable seating, video conference and meeting rooms, an executive dining room, the corporate Boardroom, and six divisible training rooms. Display devices used for content presentation and company news are strategically positioned in each room and along the main corridor. Meeting rooms and training rooms are outfitted with a Sharp ® LC‑60LX531H 60" LCD display or a Panasonic ® PT‑VW430 projector paired with a Grandview ® 84"x84" screen. The design needed to support connection of presenters' portable devices, such as modern tablets and legacy laptops. Building multiple solutions to support different platforms was not practical; Tricor needed a fully integrated AV system.

After evaluating various product offerings, BAP selected Extron XTP Systems because of its modularity, proven performance and reliability, and capability to support local and remote endpoints. The rack‑mounted XTP CrossPoint 1600 matrix switcher is configured as 12x12, providing AV and control signal switching and distribution among multiple locally connected and remote devices. The design team appreciated the technologies built into the XTP CrossPoint ®, such as EDID Minder ® and Key Minder ®, as well as the unit’s high data‑rate digital backplane to support high resolution video signals. The hot‑swappable design and redundant power supplies offered convenience for servicing and upgrades plus assurance of reliable and consistent operation in this fast-paced environment.

Seven-Room Divisible Space

A variety of Extron twisted pair transmitters and receivers provide signal extension within the meeting spaces on each Level. The divisible space on Level 54 that includes six training rooms as well as the corporate Boardroom required a more flexible solution. The default arrangement consists of the Boardroom and four of the training rooms as individual rooms and combines the two remaining training rooms to form one large meeting room. However, room reconfiguration occurs on a weekly basis. Also, all room partitions are removed at least once each quarter to support Tricor's Town Hall style meeting.

Space functionality regardless of room configuration was the most challenging design requirement. This was solved with the XTP System, which enabled independent AV signal routing plus distribution of control signals over the twisted pair infrastructure for display operation, and the control system also allowed lighting and window blinds adjustment.

XTP Video Distribution

Each divisible training room includes the Extron XTP T UWP 202 two‑input decorator-style wallplate transmitter installed in the ceiling. The transmitter supports switching and extension of high resolution digital or analog video and audio signals from connected sources. When multiple sources are used during a session, the transmitter is pre‑configured to prioritize input selection prior to transmission to the matrix switcher. This allows streamlined room setup to support a presenter's personal devices. The wallplate transmitters were installed in the ceiling to more easily support the various room configurations.

An Extron XTP SR HDMI low‑profile scaling receiver is mounted behind each room's flat panel display. This XTP ® receiver was selected for its capability to scale HDMI, DVI, RGB, HD component, and standard definition video signals to Tricor’s standardized resolution of 1920x1080. To enhance audience viewing in the larger room configurations, a cart with another XTP SR HDMI and a Toshiba ® 50 KL 300H 50" LED display can be brought into the space. Carts can be positioned to either side of the display or midway back in the room, depending on room layout.

The control ports on each XTP transmitter and receiver enabled insertion of bidirectional RS‑232 and IR signals for control of the remote devices. Control insertion also reduced the number of independent cables that would otherwise be needed throughout the divisible space.

Extron ProDSP and Dante Audio

High quality sound routed appropriately for each room arrangement was paramount. The application also had to provide simultaneous sound reinforcement for up to four wireless microphones as well as de‑embed audio from recorded content for targeted distribution. To fulfill the requirements for mixing, ducking, feedback suppression, and audio de‑embedding, the sound system is designed around the Extron DMP 128 12x8 ProDSP™ Digital Matrix Processor. Technologies built into the processor, such as Extron ProDSP™ 32/64‑bit floating point signal processing, automixing with multiple mic groups to handle the live microphones, eight channels of acoustic echo cancellation for effective remote conversations between multiple locations, and Dante™ audio networking, enable exceptional sound within each configured space.

Audio signals are routed to four XPA 2001‑100V amplifiers that support 12 Extron SI 26CT two‑way ceiling speakers. For precision room balancing, the power selector hidden behind the speaker grille was set to 15 watts for the 100‑volt system. The 8" metal back can on this speaker fits easily within the shallow space above the ceiling.

TouchLink Control

The divisible space includes Extron control products to enable content presentation as well as environmental adjustment. Within the training area, TLP 350MV TouchLink touchpanels allow multiple users to operate the XTP System simultaneously. Eight backlit buttons on this wallplate touchpanel provide localized AV system control. The presenter can also preview content and monitor the system from the full‑motion video display. Room lighting and window blinds can be lowered or raised, while program audio volume can be adjusted using the knob. In addition to in‑room operations, the touchpanels allow an authorized user to reconfigure the system to support the various room layouts.

The support staff can also control content presentation and room environment from a remote location. An integrated Ethernet port on each touchpanel enables communication with two Extron IP Link ® control processors over the Tricor network. The IPCP 505 control processor and the IPL T CR48, with four contact inputs and eight relay ports, are used to monitor and control the XTP CrossPoint ® matrix switcher and the DMP 128. Extron's Global Configurator software was used to set up the TouchLink touchpanels and control processors. Simple‑to‑use menus allowed the installation team to quickly step through the process of organizing system sources and uploading configuration files, further streamlining integration. Access to the existing network infrastructure and use each processor's built‑in Web server simplified the integration and commissioning process, saving time and reducing project costs.

To set up and configure the AV system, the integrator downloaded XTP System Configuration Software. As with Global Configurator, this software does not require advanced programming skills. Tabbed sections within the single window allowed ties to be made with simple clicks. It also provided EDID and HDCP management capabilities and offered a complete view of the system, including the remote endpoints. According to BAP, the software made the XTP System fast and easy to set up, and was instrumental during system commissioning.

The matrix switcher, sound system, and control processors are rack mounted within an equipment closet that is adjacent to the training area on Level 54. Rather than create a central control room, the design includes another TLP 1000TV tabletop TouchLink touchpanel at the rack and system support from a portable device. This ensured floorplan flexibility in the divisible space without sacrificing valuable square footage.

Boardroom

Although the Boardroom is situated at one end of the divisible space, BAP was directed to keep the room’s presentation system independent from the XTP System. The installation needed to support a videoconferencing codec, provide AV connectivity for portable digital and analog source devices, and be easy to control. An Extron MLS 608 D MA switcher was selected to provide an elegant integration solution. The eight available inputs and multi‑format video support were ideal for the requirements of this space. The switcher's ample HDMI connectivity easily accommodated the codec while providing input capability for presenters with portable devices. The universal analog inputs supported VGA‑equipped devices and other video source equipment. Extron EDID Minder delivered the necessary EDID management to assure reliable communication between devices. Signal conditioning features, such as automatic cable equalization, ensured signal quality from devices with compromised video output. The integrated mono 70 volt amplifier and ProDSP processing completed the system, delivering sound reinforcement without need for additional equipment.

Video from the selected inputs as well as bidirectional RS‑232 control are transmitted over twisted pair cable to the included MTP/HDMI U R, which is connected directly to the room’s 60” flat panel display. An Extron IPL  250 control processor and TLP 1000TV 10” wall mount touchpanel enable convenient in‑room control of the entire system, including the display via RS‑232 inserted at the switcher.  This arrangement provided the versatility and high performance operation that Tricor wanted for the Boardroom.

Control Flexibility with the Extron Control app

Another Tricor requirement was to allow the support staff to manage, monitor, and control the system from a single tablet. The learning curve to use the control interface had to be short and system operation had to be easy to understand. To enable this level of in‑house support, the user‑friendly Extron Control app was uploaded onto the company’s Apple ® iPads. Simple touches enable control presentation within any room, user assistance from a remote area, and system reconfiguration on the fly.

The interface on the Extron Control app is designed to provide the same user experience as the touchpanel. Button presses are kept in sync between the app and the other Extron control devices. This standardization allows Tricor staff members to provide assistance to users and easily control content presentation and lighting within an individual room or combined space. “TouchLink touchpanels and the Extron Control app for iPad provided the high level of control needed for the divisible spaces, and they also offered the elegance and versatility desired at Tricor’s global headquarters,” says Tang.

The design was not only about integrating high‑performance technology; it was also about creating a distinctive environment of professionalism. During product selection, BAP worked closely with the interior designer, AJM Design Group Ltd., to ensure that the AV system mirrored the distinguished image of Tricor as a professional services provider.

Visible equipment, from displays and input panels to the wall‑mount and tabletop controllers, had to blend with the surroundings. For example, the TLP 1000TV touchpanel was selected for the Boardroom because of its contemporary, thin black bezel and sleek design as well as the powerful capabilities. In the training rooms, the white version of the XTP T UWP 202 wallplate transmitter best suited that area's color palette.

Impressive Results

The AV system at the Tricor global headquarters was commissioned in August, 2013, and the support staff has been able to control and reconfigure the installation from the very beginning. The twisted pair application has proven to reliably maintain signal integrity within each area. “The XTP System continuously delivers extremely high switching and transmission performance for the wide variety of digital and analog video formats used at Tricor,” says Tang.

The integration of Extron products along with attention to facility aesthetics allowed BAP to address every requested design functionality and detail to the complete satisfaction of Tricor.

The XTP CrossPoint 1600 delivers high performance AV switching within meeting and video conference rooms as well as for configurable spaces.

The XTP CrossPoint 1600 delivers high performance AV switching within meeting and video conference rooms as well as for configurable spaces.

 

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