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FEATURE: EDUCATION Look, listen, learn


The ‘siloed’ approach to university AV appears to be dead and gone as a wave of no-expense- spared projects at Middle Eastern campuses heralds a more unified approach. David Davies ponders the rise of the academic ‘super installation’


United Arab Emirates


University's Great Hall features Tannoy QFlex 48 and VNet speakers and subs


IT IS with some dismay at time’s terrifying speed of passage that Installation must confess that when it last spent any extended time in a university lecture room, the most cutting-edge piece of equipment on display was a dust-laden OHP. True, there was a room full of early Macs elsewhere, but the vision of a combined AV/IT nirvana would have seemed very distant indeed. Half-a-decade on, interactive whiteboards (IWBs) and improved projector solutions would have been increasingly de rigueur. In 2013, however, we can


address a new era for university AV, in which the lecture room complements conventional tutor-led teaching with centralised control, interactive visual technology, remote learning and more... all delivered via


www.installation-international.com


[KEY POINTS]


Mega-installs in the Middle East are


highlighting the benefits of ‘consolidated’ AV


tightly integrated infrastructures. “Gone are the days of accepting a siloed approach to AV,” remarks Graeme Harrison, executive vice president of marketing for Biamp Systems. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the Middle East. From a 35-building-spanning comms system at Saudi Arabia’s Princess Nora bint Abdul Rahman (see Biamp case study, page 20), to an HDMI/UTP-based video distribution network at Paris- Sorbonne on Abu Dhabi’s Reem Island (see Crestron


Campus-wide integrated comms systems are increasingly ubiquitous


Remote learning is widely used in the Middle East, and new technologies are facilitating it


case study, page 23), these universities are not doing things by halves. Many of the key elements of the so-called ‘super installations’ at these facilities – including analogue-to-digital migration, joint usage of projectors and tablets, all-in-one audio/video control/processing solutions – are present at universities in other primary markets such as Europe and the Americas. Fiscal tightening in those regions does, however, raise questions about how widely we will see the sheer size and scale of recent


Middle Eastern projects replicated elsewhere.


VISUAL VARIETIES If education projects are increasingly about the whole being greater than the parts, it doesn’t mean that expectations of the individual components aren’t higher than ever. With visual learning, in particular, on the rise, many universities – both in the Middle East and elsewhere – are investing in high-spec projectors that are often able to integrate with IWBs. Initial investments might be considerable, but no


‘Students and staff have come to expect a more unified


communications environment’


Graeme Harrison, Biamp


January 2013 19


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