Extron NAV Pro AV over IP Powers Audiovisual Amenities in WSSU Anderson Center Meeting Spaces
The transformation of the Anderson Ball Room into a ‘State of the Art’ teleconferencing and technology center is amazing. I was blown away during my visit.
The Anderson Center at Winston-Salem State University (WSSU) is home to several academic departments and also serves as a busy conference venue. It boasts meeting breakout rooms, a large banquet hall and a 400-seat auditorium equipped to host professional theatrical productions. The conference venues can be booked by the campus community, government agencies, corporations, non-profit organizations, and business associations. The McNeil Banquet Hall recently completed a major remodel that included installation of a cutting-edge audiovisual system. Thanks to the improvements made in the remodel, paid bookings are way up, making the banquet hall a robust profit center for the university.
Constructing the banquet hall improvements presented all of the typical challenges of a remodel. For the new AV system, WSSU’s Technology Support Analyst Chris Screen worked with Winston-Salem based pro AV integrator Recursav, LLC to meet those challenges. Although they had a blank slate of an empty room, they had to devise an AV design that could be installed with minimum disturbance to the existing walls and ceiling, while meeting the need for multiple screens on each wall to provide good viewing angles for people seated around dining tables throughout the room. Plans also called for additional video screens in the lobby area at the banquet hall entrance, which required drilling through existing concrete structure for cable routing. To simplify cable pulls through existing construction, AV over IP signal distribution over CATx Ethernet cable was the logical choice. Recursav selected a range of Extron switching, distribution, control, and audio products to meet system design requirements.
Signal Routing and Distribution with NAV Pro AV over IP
NAV Pro provides several advantages that make it the right choice at Anderson Center. It transports video, audio, and control signals over standard CATx Ethernet cabling using readily available Ethernet network switches, saving installation time and expense, and allowing AV content routing from any source to any destination. Also, WSSU plans to add more endpoints to the building's AV over IP network during future budget cycles. NAV Pro will make such expansions a seamless process.
Projectors in the Banquet Hall: The banquet hall has five ceiling-mounted laser projectors aimed at two screens on the South wall, two screens on the North wall, and one screen on the East wall. The East wall with the single screen is considered the “front” of the room, but event organizers have the flexibility to make any wall the focal point of the room to suit varying crowd sizes, dining table layouts, or when dual screens are needed for a presentation. The projectors are fed HDMI content and RS-232 control signals from NAV decoders mounted atop each projector.
Flat Panel Displays in the Lobby: The hallway lobby at the banquet hall entrance serves as the “pre-function” area, where attendees can mingle, register, and pick up badges before going into the hall. Two 65" flat panel displays on the wall of the lobby display informational messages, entertainment, real-time views of presentations screening in the hall, or views of what is going on in the hall captured by two cameras located on the North and South walls of the hall. NAV decoders mounted behind each display supply HDMI content and RS-232 control signals to the displays.
Recursav based its design decision to use NAV Pro at the Anderson Center on NAV’s track record of solid performance and reliability at several other installations that Recursav had performed over the last two years at other universities in the area.
AV Connections Between Venues: The banquet hall also has bi-directional NAV AV over IP connectivity with the Dillard Auditorium, increasing event capacity by 400 seats. Content from the banquet hall can be sent to displays in the auditorium, or the auditorium can supply content to the banquet hall. According to Chris Screen, the latter option came in handy during a heavily attended strategic plan presentation conducted by the Chancellor. The event took place in the auditorium, which filled to capacity. Multiple studio-caliber cameras connected through a live production switcher to a NAV encoder allowed the overflow crowd to watch from the banquet hall, as well as streaming to YouTube via an
Streaming, Recording, and Software Codec Conferencing: An SMP 352 Dual Recording Streaming Media Processor receives HDMI from two NAV decoders, as well as two DSP-enhanced analog audio channels. WSSU uses the SMP 352 to record and stream events from both the banquet hall and the auditorium. This allows events and conferences to be disseminated to wider audiences beyond the confines of the two venues. Distant participants can also join events interactively via web-based software codec applications like Zoom. The soft codecs run on the AV system’s PC, which is looped into the AV over IP network via a NAV encoder and decoder.
NAV Wallplate Encoders Located Near Each Projection Screen
In keeping with the concept of making the room layout flexible for all types of events, a
To get the kind of AV distribution capability that NAV Pro provides with just one cable pull? I'm so impressed with that.
Clear, Powerful Sound in All Venues
The IP network also distributes audio, relying on Dante and AES67 network connectivity. Audio sources include program audio from presenters’ laptops, delivered through NAV wallplate encoders. Eight wireless mics provide audio from presenters and attendees. Sixteen SoundField® ceiling speakers in the dining hall are driven by a NetPA® four channel amplifier with 100 watts per channel. A NetPA amplifier with two 100-watt channels drives six SoundField speakers in the pre-function area. Both amplifiers receive their inputs from the Dante audio network. Assistive listening transmitters at the North and South walls connect to the Dante network via
Intuitive AV System Operation Through Touchpanels Located at Every Projection Screen
Event organizers and presenters control the AV system at five
On his first walkthrough of the McNeil Banquet Hall, WSSU Chancelor Elwood Robinson was inspired to post a panoramic photo of the space to his