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Sound Vision

  Power. As AV professionals, we understand the need for powerful communications in everything we do. But what kind of power is needed when the nation's premier computer research facility decides to create an AV training room?

Projector grid at University of Illinois TRECC
The main presentation room at TRECC.
Click for more photos of the main room
Presentation power: seven screen images, DSP audio, wireless mics, DVD video and AMX NetLinx controls.

Video conferencing power: eight cameras, eight ceiling mics, digital echo cancellation and a display system capable of showing 40 far-end sites at once through Access Grid technology.

Network power: the ability to route a large number of display signals through the facility, whether from local laptop computers, local and wide-area networks, other facility conference rooms or the Access Grid itself.

Networked projection system shows at U of I conference facility
The main room with both screens. Click for more photos of the main room.

Access Grid video conferencing session
Access Grid session in progress. Click for more photos of the main room.

Dual projection system in TRECC board room
Dual-screen conference room. Click for more photos of the conference room.

The room is so powerful, in fact, that Presentations Magazine chose it as one of the nation's top three classrooms and training facilities in their 2003 Best Presentation Rooms competition. To quote the editors:

"A world-class presentation room is one that blends architectural ingenuity, engineering excellence and technological sophistication to fulfill the communication needs of the people who must use the room, day in and day out. Our prize-winners cover a wide range of professional disciplines, room configurations and design choices, but they all have one thing in common – they all exquisitely serve the purpose for which they were built....

" a video conferencing masterpiece. Used by some of the world's top computer scientists and have a facility that meets the demands of even the best computer minds."

Details of the installation

The National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) is recognized world-wide as a leader in developing computer-related technology. A unit of the University of Illinois, NCSA is located at a significant distance from comparable institutions. When the time comes for training or brainstorming with colleagues, Chicago-based NCSA scientists need somewhere to communicate easily without leaving their home facility. Out of this need, the National Center for Supercomputing Applications/ University of Illinois Technology Research, Education and Commercialization Center (TRECC), located in West Chicago, Illinois, was formed.

What Sound Vision provided exceeded all expectations: a state-of-the-art facility designed to showcase technology research, to create innovative educational opportunities, and to accelerate technology transfer and commercialization.

Access Grid technology, notable for its large format multimedia display capability, allows TRECC's users to communicate virtually instantaneously with their colleagues. The main room at TRECC is ideal for teamwork sessions, seminars, lectures, and training in emerging technologies.

Dual plasma displays with computer interface in TRECC conference room
The Annex with its two plasmas. Click for more photos of the Annex.

Rear projection with custom mirror setup and screens
Projection area behind the main. Click for more photos of the projection room.

The Access Grid's capabilities are expanded by the display technology Sound Vision installed in the TRECC main room. Two large custom Stewart Filmscreens configured in a triangular layout provide rear projection surfaces. Eight Sony pan/tilt cameras, eight Shure ceiling mics, one wireless lavalier and a wireless handheld mic provide audio and video pickup. Projectors are mounted on a custom tower assembly–a complex, self-supporting truss assembly with adjustable projector mounts and front-surface mirrors. Sound Vision installers carefully wove the projected light paths through the elaborate structure. The projected image areas can be combined and used by the Access Grid system to resize and move images as if they were on a single computer desktop. This flexible setup ensures that nothing interrupts TRECC's use of the technology.

Of course, face-to-face training is also an integral function of TRECC, which is why top-rate presentation capabilities are required. In order to effectively use their space, TRECC instructors needed routing capability to display signals to and from any onsite or offsite location while maintaining a high-quality signal. To achieve this, Sound Vision installed a reliable, powerful and flexible AutoPatch matrix switcher that routes all on-site signals. An AMX NetLinx control system manages these signals in a manner designed to be comfortable for the casual user, yet with enough operative flexibility for the expert.

In addition to the main room systems, Sound Vision installed AV in a conference area, annex, network operator's area and 3D imaging studio. The conference room features two side-by-side projected images, the annex side-by-side plasmas. The studio, which is used for 3D projection, has three LCD projectors and three plasma displays. All of these rooms are included on the matrix switching system and all can participate in Access Grid sessions.

TRECC is the ultimate example of achievement in video conferencing and presentation technologies. The facility is filled with advanced technologies, yet is user-friendly and aesthetically pleasing. This combination makes TRECC an exceptional training site and a facility powerful enough to exceed the demands of the nation's foremost computer research center.

Learn more

Excerpts from May 2003 Presentation Magazine used with permission. Copyright 2003 VNU Business Media.


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