Built to Order

From the ground up, the tenants of the David Braley Cardiac, Vascular, and Stroke Research Institute help envision the facility’s complex and sophisticated AV systems design.
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Built to Order

Dec 2, 2009 11:47 AM, By Jessaca Gutierrez

From the ground up, the tenants of the David Braley Cardiac, Vascular, and Stroke Research Institute help envision the facility’s complex and sophisticated AV systems design.


Standardizing the Experience

The newly erected David Braley Cardiac, Vascular, and Stroke Research Institute (DBCVSRI) in Hamilton, Ontario, has only recently been occupied. Its tenants played a role in its design, because after all, it was built to their exact specifications.

The facility houses two important people in the world of cardiac research: Drs. Salim Yusuf and Jeffrey Weitz. Bringing these two research doctors together under one roof integrates two of Hamilton Health Sciences’ strongest research programs, allowing the doctors to expand their programs and bring together their 400 research personnel. Establishing this synergy makes the research more competitive at the international level, and it also meant the facility’s AV had to leave no question that these colleagues were at the forefront of their field.

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When Canadian systems integration firm Duocom learned that Hamilton Health Sciences, which has six hospitals and a cancer center in the area, would be breaking ground on the building, the company jumped at the opportunity to present its AV design ideas to the research facility’s board, which included Yusuf and Weitz. The company’s proposal, which Senior Systems Integration Consultant Omar Prashad put together and presented, won it the project and the ability implement a design before the building’s foundation was even poured.

“The earlier in, the better we are. I guess the complaint you hear from everybody in our industry over and over again is, ‘To get the building done, they call AV and then expect it to be done next week,’” Prashad says. “It’s usually a treat to be in early enough to get our infrastructure in and we can go through design revisions, which I went through a lot of with them. This is what they said to me in the first meeting: ‘The facility needs to be world-class. It needs to be able to send signals anywhere. It needs to be able to bring people together.’”

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Those specifications left a lot of leeway in the initial design plans, and that extra time meant the seven-figure budgeted design would go through roughly eight months of proposals and revisions that came after meeting with users and Yusuf.

“Dr. Yusuf has colleagues around the world that are in a similar position to him—very highly regarded cardiac researchers,” Prashad says. “His thing was, ‘How do I collaborate with these people in a facility that’s going to garner me respect that meets my standard of research—he didn’t want just a projector on a table—and allow me to collaborate, and collaborate with people worldwide and different people within the building?’”

To that end, and after months of revisions, Duocom came to its present systems design for the building, whose occupants were in the final stages of moving in at press time.

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Built to Order

Dec 2, 2009 11:47 AM, By Jessaca Gutierrez

From the ground up, the tenants of the David Braley Cardiac, Vascular, and Stroke Research Institute help envision the facility’s complex and sophisticated AV systems design.

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Taking up the largest portion of the facility’s seven-figure budget, the auditorium features an HD Polycom videoconferencing system with two Vaddio PTZ videocameras, a 3-chip DLP Christie Digital DS+10K-M 10,050-lumen projector, and an Accordent Capture Station.

The Auditorium and Hallway

At the heart of the 165,000-square-foot building is the auditorium. Housed on the first floor, this space’s AV design took up a large portion of the budget. When Prashad describes the space, he starts by listing the extensive number of video inputs: There’s a dedicated PC (housed in a centralized AV rack) that provides six guest laptop input connections, three Blu-ray HD video inputs, an input for the digital signage system in the hallway so presenters can push their material there for overflow purposes (or push backward if the presentation is originating from the hallway), a videoconferencing input, an input for two Vaddio WallView Pro HD1 videocameras, an input for the 3-chip DLP Christie Digital DS+10K-M 10,050-lumen projector, and an input for the AccordentCapture Station and Media Management System.

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Having a videoconferencing system was a primary desired component so that research teams could collaborate with doctors around the world. Duocom selected the Polycom HDX 9002 HD videoconferencing codec after considering systems from Tandberg and LifeSize. Polycom’s system was more cost-effective, would display 720p at 24fps, and didn’t need a dedicated room as the LifeSize systems would have, which Prashad says would have been counterproductive considering the facility needed flexible rooms that could meet the changing needs of its research teams.

To avoid possible latency issues, the research facility had Ontario Telehealth Network (OTN) put in high-bandwidth video lines. OTN, a nonprofit organization funded by the Ontario government, is one of the largest telemedicine networks in the world.

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“OTN provides the backbone, the bandwidth, the connection network cloud, and the ability to connect sites for the hospital so they don’t have to go to an external video service provider,” Prashad says. “You have to request [HD video lines] because if we went to all this trouble of putting 720p, 24fps HD videoconferencing in and OTN goes in the back end and puts in 384kbps video­conferencing lines, we just eliminated any possible benefit we could have had with putting in all this great hardware.”

Besides videoconferencing, the system’s projector and videocameras lend themselves to the room’s other applications as well. The two HD videocameras are independently controllable and on a separate input in the system, so overflow audiences can watch video shot in the auditorium, along with any presentation materials, on the digital signage monitors in the hallway and the custom screen in the atrium. Three 46in. Mitsubishi LCD screens also line the auditorium walls, each with a distinct input so the presenter can send different content, including feeds from the videocameras, to each one.

For voice pickup, Duocom discussed hanging cascading choir mics from the ceiling, but the idea was knocked down because the mics needed to be moved based on the room’s use instead of stationary.

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“Then the question was, ‘How the hell do we mike 100-plus people in this room without putting mics somewhere?’” Prashad says. “We used [nine] Sennheiser [ew 300 series] wireless mics, all on independent frequencies. That allows them to put out any number of microphones they want on stands and different areas using Biamp audio DSP to allow us to control those each so you don’t get tons of feedback, echo, white noise, and HVAC pickup.”

Two of the mics, Sennheiser ew 100 models, are dedicated to broadcast, giving the facility a long-range option should a presenter want to walk around anywhere on the first floor. Using the Biamp DSP, Duocom’s programmer was able to eliminate any dropout areas on that floor.

Audio reinforcement for the auditorium is provided by 44 Tannoy CMS501 BM recessed ceiling loudspeakers. For the hallway, Duocom put in a four-zone audio system that allows the audio levels to be adjusted depending on its use. For example, at the receptionist area, the audio level can be set lower so guests don’t have to speak over the background audio.

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Built to Order

Dec 2, 2009 11:47 AM, By Jessaca Gutierrez

From the ground up, the tenants of the David Braley Cardiac, Vascular, and Stroke Research Institute help envision the facility’s complex and sophisticated AV systems design.

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In the atrium, a 7000-lumen Christie Digital LX700 projector projects to a custom 22’x14’ stretched-fabric screen for video overflow from the auditorium. Alternatively, this setup acts as another video space for the facility to pass information to passers-by.

The Atrium

In the atrium, a 22’x14’ custom, stretched-fabric screen acts as a projection screen for overflow from the auditorium and as another video space for the facility to pass information to passers-by. Initially, the team talked about going the traditional route and hanging a fixed screen from the ceiling or a motorized screen that would come out the ceiling, but both ideas didn’t work with the modern, all-glass design aesthetic. The custom screen blends with the clean lines of the atrium. When the screen isn’t in use, it looks like another architectural detail.

The projector is a 7000-lumen Christie LX700 that’s embedded between the bulkhead of the first and second floors. Duocom had specified a 15,000-lumen projector because of the flood of ambient light in the atrium, but budgetary considerations dictated the use of the lower-brightness model and Crestron-controllable shades that can close individual banks of shades, the shades behind the screen, or the shades all around the atrium for sunny days. There are wired and wireless versions of the Crestron controller, so a person presenting in the atrium could present anywhere without using the wall-mounted control panel.

Along with almost the same input capabilities as in the auditorium, there are overflow connection points should the facility bring in a press company for a big announcement, for example. The system allows the press company to plug in and record a feed from the matrix or to feed the matrix with a camera of its own.

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For audio, Duocom installed two small Tannoy QFlex 8 line arrays. Because DBCVSRI is part of Hamilton Health’s network of hospitals, a dedicated AV services team can troubleshoot most system problems remotely through the Crestron XPanel control system instead of contracting these services through Duocom.

Yusuf and Weitz and their research teams are still in their infancy of envisioning the endless possibilities the AV design has brought forth. With the respect and favor the facility has garnered, Duocom was given the AV contract for another hospital in the Hamilton Health network.

Standardizing the Experience

With retro fits, integrators face putting in new systems that don’t provide the same experience and controls as the existing systems that are still in use. A new build provides integrators with the opportunity to standardize on the experience where ever possible so that there is an overarching experience and design architecture for the user and the AV services who have to troubleshoot issues. If occupants can walk into any room and already know how to operate the technology there, they’re not only more likely to use the technology but be more efficient as well. This was the thinking behind the other conference and boardroom spaces of the DBCVSRI. Although the first floor of the Cardiac, Vascular, and Stroke Research Institute is the crowning jewel, the other conferencing spaces provide some of the same experiences using similar if not the same technology that’s found in the auditorium, atrium, and hallway. In the five standard meeting rooms that occupy the other floors of the facility, Duocom put in 3800-lumen Christie projectors, a SmartBoard SB680, and a smaller Crestron C2N-FT-TPS4 control system that are identical to the versions used on the first floor. Having the same projector manufacturer continues the theme while the Crestron control panel allows the room to be put on the network grid so problems can be troubleshot remotely.

Although the standard board rooms are not large and not all necessarily demand the high light output of the LX380, Duocom designed the systems occupying these meeting rooms to fit the least common denominator. That delineating factor was ambient light. Some of the rooms have windows that make it necessary to have 4000 lumens.

“But what we did was we said we’re going to put the projector in and we’re going to make it the projector that you need for the brightest room and in all the other rooms,” Prashad says. “We’ll just set the projector to Eco mode [in the rooms that don’t need more light output] so it projects it at less lumens, doubling the lamp life for those rooms. Not only did we have the ability to standardize, which makes service easier and asset management easier because we only have to keep one spare bulb instead of one for each model. They stretch out the consumable costs.”

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