Site Address: De Havilland Campus, Mosquito Way, Hatfield AL10 9EU
Customer contact: Adam Harvey, Solution Architect
With a history going back to 1941, the University of Hertfordshire has been delivering higher education for over 65 years. Originally established to train aircraft apprentices, it later developed into Hatfield Technical College before achieving university status in 1992.
The business-focused establishment now welcomes around 25,000 students to its UK-based programmes situated in the de Havilland, Bayfordbury and College Lane campuses.
Bayfordbury, a satellite campus of the university, is a self-contained small teaching building looking after science-based subjects. As the universities teaching observatory for astronomy and astrophysics, it offers students a hands-on experience with some of the latest technology in the field and is one of the best equipped teaching observatories in the country.
As it had been a number of years since the site had undergone an AV upgrade, and as the university had started to move more teaching to the campus, as well as host external conferences and events, including open days, it was decided that a AV refresh was needed across the site.
After an initial consultation between the university and its AV consultant Hewshott, CDEC were chosen to install audio visual systems in eight spaces at the Bayfordbury campus, including a live observatory.
As the university had carried out research into the needs of users now and in the future and created a design based on this, there were few changes needed when CDEC came on board.
Solution Architect – AV & DM at the University of Hertfordshire, Adam Harvey explains: “We had done a lot of the groundwork for the project, but it’s always good for the integrator to have a sense check to make sure we have the right design. Happily, there were no installation implications with what we’d suggested so site visits were done with the site manager and the installation team to pick up any local issues. There were a few things we had to change but nothing significant.”
One major issue which CDEC helped to overcome was the need for onsite rack builds due to access issues at the site. Harvey adds: “We like to have our racks and lecterns fully built and tested offsite so they’re tested as fully working, wrapped up and delivered. Unfortunately, due to access issues in the building, we had to deliver everything in boxes and build on site. Onsite rack builds are never ideal but the CDEC team and Hewshott worked very well together allowing us to minimise what could potentially have been a lot of complications with that building. It was very, very well managed between the two of them.”
Timescale was also a challenge. Although the upgrade was carried out over the summer when the teaching schedule is limited, the rooms are frequently used for external events. For example, the biggest conference room included in the refurb had multiple events over the summer so installations had to be dovetailed in between one finishing and the next one starting. In one case a conference ended the day with the old kit, CDEC came in and completed the install ready for the next day with user training carried out in the morning.
One unique element of this installation, however, was the decision to invest in 86in Clevertouch Pro touchscreens. These are being used in the science laboratories to help with the teaching as well as in the Bayfordbury Observatory control room, which houses the space telescopes, where it is being used during open days and sessions to highlight the work of the scientists.
“Having quite a powerful interactive display in that environment, they’re absolutely overjoyed with it,” according to Harvey. “They were running a projector and screen before but they’re now able to demonstrate their work and the images from the telescopes in a much better way – and it’s interactive so it’s helping them showcase their work much better than a projector and a screen would.”
In the control room, the Clevertouch display is joined by large-format NEC displays on the wall, allowing incoming streams from the telescopes to be shown on the wall while visitors can interact with the images on the Clevertouch Pro.
Following the successful completion of this project, CDEC have been invited back to complete two subsequent installations; a control and switching upgrade at the Law Courts Building at de Havilland campus and the delivery and installation of Top-Tec Synergy Desks and Focus Pods and a concept study room at the universities Learning Resources Centre.
We also installed three digital signage totems in their Student Centre.
NEC P502HL projectors and V463 and V554 displays
Shure MXWAPT2 receivers and MXWANI4 audio network interfaces
Crestron RMC3 control systems
Extron DMP 64 digital matrix processor
Polycom RealPresence Group 500 video conferencing system
Extron and Crestron TX/RX
Extron cable cubbies
Epson ELP-DC21 digital document camera
Apple TV and Apart speakers.
“We had quite a tight timescale for the delivery of all three of the projects and they’ve all come in on schedule with not that many variations, which is good considering the speed at which we had to deploy the projects. Feedback from users has been positive and we haven’t had any issues with the technology we’ve put in, and while we’d have liked everything built offsite, we had absolutely no choice and it was done really well.”