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Advanced Performs Total Corporate AV Upgrade Part 2

Show 147, Part 2

SVC Podcast – Show Notes – Show 147-2:

In this edition of the SVC Podcast, SVC Contributing Editor Bennett Liles concludes his talk with Mark McPherson, Kevin Linton and Andrew Hykoski of Canadian AV firm Advanced about a corporate installation project including an executive boardroom, auditorium, conference room, classroom and four meeting rooms. They detail the selection of Sony laser projectors for the auditorium and the installation of a Crestron DM-MD8x8 matrix switcher.

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From Sound & Video Contractor Magazine, this is the SVC Podcast with Mark McPherson, Kevin Linton and Andrew Hykoski of AV communication firm Advanced. Show notes for the podcast are on the web site of Sound & Video Contractor Magazine at

With a big corporate client wanting a newly outfitted executive boardroom, meeting spaces and an auditorium, Advanced had to hit the ground running and they answered the challenge with SMART interactive displays and Crestron AirMedia. Mark, Kevin and Andrew are back to finish the story on how they got that done. That’s coming up next on the SVC Podcast.

And back with us for Part 2 are Mark McPherson, Kevin Linton and Andrew Hykoski of Advanced in Mississauga, Ontario with design and installation of AV, digital signage and visual collaboration solutions. We’re finishing up here with a substantial corporate installation with an executive boardroom, conference room, classroom, four meeting rooms and an auditorium. My favorite part of this is the auditorium so let’s get back to that first. You put a lot of Crestron items into it so what did you use for the control system in there?

Mark: Yeah, as far as control is concerned, we had a TSW750 seven-inch touch panel. The processor was CP3, and we also utilized DM products. We had a full DM-MD8x8 matrix switcher as well as the transmitters and receivers. Using scaling receivers on all the outputs there as well. [Timestamp: 1:42]

And where did you have the control processor and the other rack stuff on this? I know you don’t have that out where just anybody can get to it. You had a separate little tech area somewhere?

Mark: Yes, there’s a rack designated just for the AV equipment and it was all cabled and connected into that rack.

You also had Sony laser projectors in the auditorium. Was there a special reason you went with that one? I think there was kind of a story behind that choice.

Mark: Yeah, we ended up actually putting in three of these Sony laser projectors and this is probably one of the most interesting phases of the project for us. As you know, the quality of the picture is a very subjective thing. We ended up doing demos of three or four different types of laser projectors, and people got involved at all levels, right up to the chairman, to actually come in and see the image quality and sort of give their opinion on which one they like the best. And after evaluating almost for a full day different units, the chairman basically said, “I want the Sony unit,” and that’s what they got. [Timestamp: 2:45]

All right. Well, when the chairman wants something he gets it.

Mark: That’s right.

Kevin: And the beauty of these projectors is they have up to 20,000 hours of maintenance-free service. They were really impressed with that as well as the power savings they’re going to gain off of these products. [Timestamp: 2:59]

5What video signal format do you have there? You mentioned the matrix switcher. What are the ins and outs on that, like HDMI, DVI or what?

Kevin: For the most part they’re HDMI. We actually have a cable company located in there as well with a VGA audio and HDMI set into a DM transmitter. It converts everything over to digital. The inputs on the actual switcher are DM and HDMI combinations and then the outputs are DM outputs. [Timestamp: 3:25]

Yeah, you still need to have a VGA connection in there somewhere. It’s not completely dead but you can allow them to make the transition at their own pace and accommodate anybody who comes along.

Kevin: Yeah, they’re really being phased out but you still get them asked for in most installations still.

And are all of the meeting rooms identically equipped or are there bigger ones and smaller ones?

Kevin: There was four of the small meeting rooms total and they were all identical to each other.

Mark: Each of these meeting spaces that we had all had AirMedias as well. [Timestamp: 3:54]

Are those like collaboration or huddle rooms or are they bigger than that?

Mark: Yeah, they’re smaller rooms and in those rooms we have the cable cubby with a flip top as well as the AirMedia. And we have 70-inch Sharp displays in those rooms as well.

Okay, and when it gets to where you have everything installed and connected, what kind of source devices do you use to test it all? Try it with everything you can think of or in this environment do you pretty well know what you’re likely to run into?

Mark: Yeah, you pretty well have to check everything out. You’re hooking up to the AirMedia. You’re using phones, iPads and laptops just to make sure that everybody’s connecting properly, working with their IT department as well to set things up. [Timestamp: 4:31]

And I think you did a classroom in there, too?

Mark: Yes we did.

Okay, what’s that got in it?

Mark: That’s using a DMPS300 AV. Again, a lot of DM receivers as well and transmitters.

Kevin: All from Crestron.

Mark: Yeah, Crestron. TSW550, which is a five-inch touch panel wired. And in all these rooms they’re also using the iPad app and we actually supplied iPad Airs for all these with the Crestron iPad docking station. [Timestamp: 5:00]

Now with the classroom, the meeting rooms, auditorium and everything, that sounds like a lot to get done. What was your timeline on this and were there any sudden snags or architectural surprises or just room access issues?

Andrew: Yeah, that’s a great question. Because this is a large organization that has over 1,000 staff in this building, as you can imagine, I mean a lot of these rooms, they’re trying to use them at the same time we’re trying to do these upgrades. So we worked really closely with their project team to design like a phased-in approach where we would sort of knock off sections of the project at one time. It wasn’t the most efficient way to go about it and it actually resolved in us sort of delivering this project over about a two-month period. But it worked and they were able to continue working and doing their meetings quite seamlessly. As far as challenges, you know what? This one did go relatively well. Our biggest challenge – and I think this comes in any installation where you’re using existing infrastructure, you’re using some existing cabling and stuff that’s in these buildings – you never quite know what you’re going to get when you go in there. And so we did have a few challenges where we had to upgrade some cabling, re-fish things, change connectors and repair things, but overall it went relatively smoothly. [Timestamp: 6:20]

You had to train the people on it and I guess they did pretty well once they got used to it.

Andrew: Yeah, our approach to training to kind of two-fold. So we really utilize our Crestron programmers to deliver a lot of our system training for customers because they’ve worked intimately with the users on how to design the GUI layouts and sort of help envision how they want the system to work in the first place. So our Crestron folks actually led the sessions very well and then we brought in our Smart-certified trainers to work with the people who were going to be actively using the Smart systems and it ended up just perfect. [Timestamp: 6:57]

I know you’re proud of this one and the client seems to be satisfied so what’s up next? Anything you can tell us about?

Kevin: This existing customer, we’re actually working with him right now on doing some upgrades involving numerous video conferencing systems and adding some video conferencing suites to the building. And in addition we’ve got quite a few big projects in the go. We’ve got a few new broadcast studios we’re working on as well as two control rooms in Canada as well as a hotel project, which is a complete new build which we’re really excited about. [Timestamp: 7:29]

Sounds like you’re going to busy for a while. It’s Mark McPherson, Kevin Linton and Andrew Hykoski of AV communication firm Advanced and you’re up there in Ontario.

Mark: That’s correct. Our headquarters are in Mississauga, Ontario in Canada. We also have a U.S. office in Orlando.

We appreciate your taking time out to give us the story on this one.

Mark: Well, thanks very much for your time, Bennett.

Kevin: Thank you.

Thank you for being here with us for the SVC Podcast with Mark McPherson, Kevin Linton and Andrew Hykoski of AV communication firm Advanced. Show notes are on the website of Sound & Video Contractor Magazine at Be back with us again next week for the SVC Podcast.

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