FLEX-LT Case Study
A Complete Control Overhaul for the Straz Center for the Performing Arts
Where: Tampa, FL
What: FSR FLEX LT300 (x8), FSR FLEX LT200, FSR FLEX LT150 (x3)
Who: David Falk, Director of Integration Solutions
Broadcast & Audio Visual Solutions
Straz Center for the Performing Arts was built in 1926 and recently recognized that its 10-year old complicated and costly control system had aged far beyond maturity to obsolescence. It needed to be replaced. Armed with a wish list of features and functionalities, the Center tapped Broadcast & Audio Visual Solutions, led by David Falk; director of integration services, to design and install a powerful and scalable solution capable of controlling equipment and devices throughout the 335,000 square foot building comprised of 5 theaters plus spacious indoor/outdoor public areas. Key requirements included a self-explanatory and simple user interface and operator-friendly programming for a staff consisting mostly of non-technical volunteers with limited availability for training.
Falk was able to replace Straz’s $30,000+ dinosaur with a new FSR FLEX control system for a fraction of the cost. FLEX’s appeal extends far beyond just cost-savings though, the system offers an intuitive user interface and simple drag/ drop configuration method for the technically-challenged that enables them to easily achieve robust customizations.
Falk says, “They couldn’t upgrade their system before because it was cost prohibitive but the FLEX gave them the capability of a full building control upgrade with an intuitive, easy to use interface.”
Also, FLEX provides different levels of selectability through pop-up windows that can be as varied and deep as required, a feature that is unavailable with a push button interface. Falk was able to program the entire system himself and, since the FLEX system also sits on the network, it can be programmed, monitored and updated remotely,, thus saving the Straz Center considerable service and support fees.
Falk commented, “FSR’s FLEX is cost effective. I can program it, it does everything the customer needed and it is flexible, expandable and scalable.”
The FLEX panels provide simple and effective control of power, signal (input), volume, displays, speakers and videowalls positioned throughout the entire Straz Center. The content from cameras, media players, radio and satellite can be routed and controlled (including volume control) to a variety displays and speakers in a number of independently defined areas. They are even capable of automatically switching to different “show mode” content on displays outside the hall when a show begins and returns to “media content” when the show ends.
The ability to program “presets” in the FLEX removes the need for multiple push button controls to route content or signals to different halls. Presets require only one push of a button. FLEX also allows content and volume to be controlled independently in pre-determined areas of the building, both inside and out. One of the more powerful programming features of this installation is the ability to control the 22 audio zones as grouped zones or individual/ separate zones when needed.
The FLEX-LT300 resides in the racks in the basement and controls the entire building, including TV, audio, digital signage and cameras.
The FSR FLEX-LT200 is located in the audio booth and controls the two video walls located in that hall with the ability to route different content to each display. Prior to installing the FLEX, each display had to be turned on using the IR remote specific to that display.
The FLEX LT150 on the main floor by each theater mirrors the LT300 programming of the systems in the basement.
“FSR’s tech support was outstanding, responsive and easy to work with,” concluded Falk.
About the System Components
The FLEX-LT is a self-contained control system that has a vast number of features and a price point that everyone can afford. The FLEX-LT mounts in a wall or sits on a desk and presents the user with an easy-to-use and understand color touch screen. Through the touch screen the user can choose what source is being displayed, change the volume, control the various sources, turn lights on and off, raise or lower the shades or screen and more. Using the built in scheduler, the FLEX-LT can automatically shut off displays that have been accidentally left on when the room is not in use. It can also alert the support staff if there is an issue in the room such as the lamp life getting too high in order to reduce the down time of the room. The FLEX-Able configuration utility features an easy-to-use method to get the most out of the system. The contractor is presented with an easy-to-follow drag 'n drop programming methodology. FLEX-Able eases device control by offering IR libraries or if a library is not available, the FLEX-IR learner is a snap to use.
FSR FLEX LT300 (x8)
The FLEX-LT300 is a specialty member of the FLEX Family – the Control System “Brain”. The LT300 is basically an LT-200 in a box without a touchscreen. The LT300 can be mounted in a rack or Ceiling Box and connected to all of the devices that need to be controlled. The user interface to the LT300 is provided either by a FLEX-LT200 or LT150 or the FLEX Remote Windows application.
FSR FLEX LT200
The FLEX-LT200 is the fully equipped member of the FLEX Family. It features the full complement of serial, IR, GPIO and Ethernet ports and is the right choice for larger installations or where network connectivity is required
FSR FLEX LT150 (x3)
The FLEX-LT150 is a specialized member of the FLEX family. It is intended to be used when only Ethernet equipped devices need to be controlled, or as an additional touch panel for the LT200 or LT300.
FSR, established in 1981, manufactures a wide variety of products for the audio / video, education, hospitality, government, and religious markets, including AV floor, wall, table, and ceiling connectivity boxes, as well as a full line of interfaces, distribution amplifiers, matrix switchers, seamless switchers and CAT-5 solutions.
All FSR products are designed and manufactured in its Woodland Park, NJ facility. The company is an Energy Star Partner and complies with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 to demonstrate its deep commitment to preserving the planet. FSR offers live 24/7 technical and sales support throughout the country from expertly trained technicians and sales representatives.
For more info: fsrinc.com.
About Broadcast & Audio Visual Solutions
Broadcast Audio Visual Solutions, specializes in contract Audio Visual installation services from system design to installation and every step in between. BAVS surrounds itself with the best people and companies in the AV industry to best serve its customer base.