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Healthcare AV: Texas Children’s Hospital

The Houston hospital called on HFP Acoustical Consultants to design a system that would give all departments centralized access to security and infrastructure monitoring.

Healthcare AV: Texas Children’s Hospital

Dec 4, 2014 10:33 AM

Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston, TX, consistently recognized as one of the top pediatric healthcare facilities in the United States, recently combined its security cameras and infrastructure monitoring in a new secure Service Response Center (SRC). The hospital, located at the massive Texas Medical Center, home to reportedly the largest concentration of medical professionals and experts in the world, called on HFP Acoustical Consultants to design a system that would give all departments centralized access to security and infrastructure monitoring, previously housed in separate rooms.

“Our scope of work was basically to take the signals within the SRC and get them onto a screen, and manipulate them there,” explains Thaddeus Leopoulos, senior project consultant with Houston-based HFP Acoustical Consultants, and the lead designer on the project. “We took outputs from all of the computers and, if there were any camera feeds that needed to come from other buildings, brought those over and injected them into the video wall processor.”

The new SRC houses eight workstation positions, each equipped with a pair of monitor screens. “A user can log in at a workstation and it can be whatever they want it to be. It can control facilities parameters one day and be a security workstation the next day; it just depends on how you log in,” says Leopoulos.

“There are also some systems that the hospital has that need dedicated computers. There’s no choice but to have a dedicated workstation in those cases.”

Inputs to the room include the hospital’s extensive security camera system. “There are camera controls at most of the workstations. They had an existing array of analog cameras and they tied into that a brandnew infrastructure using IP-based digital cameras,” says Leopoulos. “For those, all of the control is done in the computer.”

The video surveillance and security upgrade was not part of HFP’s scope of work, notes Leopoulos, who nevertheless reports, “They used an OnSSI security suite, an entire package. It’s really impressive and provides an enormous amount of information if alarms go off, or cameras auto-sense movement, or things like that.”

Central to the operation of the SRC is a large Stewart projection screen at the front of the room onto which operators and managers can push their workstation views in order to share critical information. After careful evaluation of the available technology, Leopoulos elected to use the PixelNet Distributed Display Wall System from Jupiter Systems as the visualization hub.

“PixelNet was brand-new at the time we were doing the design,” he comments. “Most of the other technologies centered around a proprietary, computer-based video wall backbone. If you ever needed to expand the number of inputs and outputs you would have to add processors and use complicated bus connectors. In five, 10 years it’s almost a certainty that those units would not be made.”

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Healthcare AV: Texas Children’s Hospital

Dec 4, 2014 10:33 AM

Texas Children’s Hospital uses PixelNet Distributed Display Wall System from Jupiter Systems as the visualization hub—a managed switch solution interconnected with Cat-6 cable.

In contrast, PixelNet is a managed switch solution interconnected with Cat-6 cable. “That is the present and the future. It’s very, very easy to add more input and output nodes. If the hospital ever expands to adjacent spaces, you run more Cat-6 cable and you’ve got more inputs and outputs. It’s a very organic way of doing it.”

Digital Projection International (DPI) provided two M-Vision Cine LED projectors. With the aid of PixelNet’s Warp/Blend Node, the two projectors create a seamless display, measuring 20 feet x 6 feet, with an aspect ratio of 32:9.

For Leopoulos, DPI’s lamp-free “Lifetime Illumination” was an obvious choice for such a mission critical facility; the light engine’s estimated lifespan of 60,000-plus hours will ensure around-the-clock, maintenance-free operation for years to come — thereby virtually eliminating it as a potential point of failure.

The edge-blending capabilities of the PixelNet system offer outstanding image quality whether the video wall is configured with many windows or just one, according to Leopoulos. The exact layout of the windows on the display is controlled via a two-tier system that prevents one operator from accidentally conflicting with another.

Firstly, he says, “There are two 9-inch wireless touch panels that can be undocked and walked around the room. The video wall can only be configured from those. You cannot change the layout of the wall — moving windows or changing the size of windows — from the workstations.

“The second tier of control is that at every workstation there’s a smaller touch panel that sits on the desk. The display reflects the current layout on the video wall.” Each operator can select a target and push one or both monitors — each station has two PixelNet input nodes — to specific windows on the wall. “But they can’t reconfigure the wall,” he adds.

An adjacent small conference space equipped with a smaller Stewart screen and DPI projector may be used as a breakout room during emergencies, which in Houston might include a hurricane, as Leopoulos notes. Outside of emergencies, the conference room is separated from the SRC by a secured door and LCD privacy windows that turn opaque at the flip of a switch.

“The rooms can be married together so that the Jupiter video wall processor can send any video into that password-protected projector. You could have a news feed, a weather feed, a camera feed, whatever you want — supporting information for the people working in there. They can configure their screen however they want to with a 9-inch touch panel on the wall.”

Global AV solutions provider Whitlock Systems served as the integrator on the project; Chad Cogburn, regional director with Whitlock, was the project manager. “Whitlock installed all of the equipment, pulled all of the cabling for the nodes, and programmed PixelNet and the AMX touch panel systems,” Leopoulos reports. “They delivered system training for users and administrators, and provided a single-point-of-contact, comprehensive service and support program.”

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