Massachusetts School Gets State-of-the-Art AV Systems: The Keys: User-Friendly Operation and Controls

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Creating a state-of-the-art AV system at Whitman-Hanson Regional High School (Whitman, MA) was a ground-up affair, according to Craig Finley, principal of AV design and consulting firm CC Technology Designs in Waltham, MA. The modern, 249,000-square-foot building that opened this fall was a cooperative effort that included the architects, contractor, AV design consultant, and AV installer HB Communications.

"Normally AV is left to the end of the process, where you have to figure out how to make a system work with existing--and unplanned--wiring and fixtures," says Finley. "In this case, we started planning [the system] from the get-go, with all the stakeholders involved. If it's included in the original plans, the contractor is more likely to help bring the system in as desired, rather than as an afterthought."

The school's AV-equipped 67 classrooms are far from a second thought. Each classroom's AV system features an interactive whiteboard with a USB adapter, a DLP projector, a presentation camera, a DVD/VCR combo unit, and four recessed ceiling loudspeakers. An Extron MLS-506MA MediaLink switcher and Extron MLC-2261P controller handle input/output flow and control. The equipment is encased in a custom millwork enclosure at the front of the classroom.

Each MLC 226 IP controller features Extron's exclusive IP Link[R] technology, a high performance intelligent network solution which enables centralized monitoring and control of AN systems over. the school's existing IP network. Using Extron's free GlobalViewer[TM] software, technicians can schedule automated tasks and configure e-mail alerts for increased security. For instance, if a projector is disconnected from the system, an e-mail is sent immediately to security personnel.

GlobalViewer also powers the school's dedicated AV help desk for teachers. The centralized system control and monitoring that GlobalViewer provides makes it easier and faster to help teachers with the technology. Many problems can be solved remotely, without a trip to the classroom. …