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University AV Installation

InSight Systems recently partnered with Swinburne University of Technology to provide an unique and innovative learning environment.

For this project, Swinburne gutted and redesigned an entire second floor of one of its main buildings. The new layout and technologies were aimed at creating a learning space that facilitated a true collaborative approach to learning. The brief was to create digital learning spaces that were open, airy and allowed for both individual and collaborative work.

In conjunction with building and electrical contractor, Harris Office Environments, we provided the cableinfrastructre during the building stage of the project. Then working with Swinburne directly on their specific AV equipment needs, we developed a system that included:

  • 57 x Sherwood LCD panels
  • 7 x 2Touch Interactive Whiteboards with Epsom Short Throw Projectors
  • 10 x 7″ AMX touch screen control systems
  • 33 x 8-button AMX keypad control systems
  • 34 x AutoPatch DVI Matrix Switchers
  • 121 x Extron converters for running DVI over CAT5

The basic design involved learning spaces set up in multiple PODS with 5 student PCs and a 40-inch LCD on each. The control system for each learning space allows students to select any of these PCs to be displayed on their local LCD display or the groups 40-inch LCD screen. The educator has the master control and in turn can select their PC or any student PC and view it on their local screen, share it with another student, display it on any of the PODS, multiple PODS or display it to the whole group on all monitors, LCDs and the projection system.

The room layout along with the client’s specification for DVI-I signal presented a significant challenge for the signal distribution of the project. The POD set-up meant that almost all transmitted signals exceeded 15 metres, which is not recommended using traditional cabling techniques. Of prime concern was that standard copper cabling would result in loss of digital data over length and that the LCD displays would not be able to display the distributed image. Additionally, we needed to ensure that the EDID (Extended Display Identification Data) was managed so that the source and displays would talk to each other regardless of the room configuration.

Our solution drew on our experience and training with premium AV integration manufacturers Extron and AMX. We developed a solution whereby all DVI signals over 5 metres long would be converted then extended over shielded, low skew UTP cabling. A DVI transmitter and receiver pair was employed for each of the long cable lengths, over 120 in number. This ensured that from source to display, signal quality was maintained and cable loss was negated. Signal routing and distribution was done using an AMX AutoPatch system. The Optima series matrix switchers with made to order DVI-D matrix boards were used to manage the input and output switching while ensuring that EDID was managed across the system.

Another challenge for the system was related to the management of power in each learning space. The large volume of transmitters and receivers involved meant there were significant power requirements at each equipment rack; in fact, one room could require 15-20 transmitters and receiver pairs.

The beauty of the Extron solution was that power for the transmitter or receiver could be generated at either end of the run, meaning the implementation of only one power source per transmit/receive pair. The design was further enhanced through the addition of a high current, regulated Extron power supply which allowed multiple runs to be powered from a single unit. This not only saved a lot of space but also eliminated the possibility of system failure typically found with cheaper plug pack style power sources.

The result is a true collaborative approach to teaching and is supported by ongoing professional development, encouraging new teaching practices that optimise the capability of this impressive facility.

Daniel Baldwin, Stuart Williams and Rodney Kay provided first-rate project management over a significant period of time, both on and offsite. They were also instrumental in providing effective solutions to the cabling and power management challenges of this complex integration.
Juan Smith, Project Coordinator, Swinburne University Of Technology

Read the full testimonials

The team displayed a high level of technical expertise in advising and improving the system design. We were impressed with the level of detail in both the ‘as built’ documentation provided and the general approach to their work.
Jason Dwyer, Project Manager, Harris Office Environments