The Canadian Space Agency is committed to leading the development and application of space knowledge for the benefit of Canadians and humanity. To achieve this, the Agency promotes an environment where all levels of the organization pursue excellence collectively, advocate a client-oriented attitude, support employee-oriented practices and open communications, commit itself to both empowerment and accountability and pledge to cooperate and work with partners for mutual benefit.
The Agency directs its resources and activities through four key programs:
- Earth Observation
- Space Science and Exploration
- Satellite Communications
- Space Awareness
With an eye on the stars and the technology that supports the future mission of the Agency, Gregory Viger, Audio-Visual and Technical Communications Specialist for the Canadian Space Agency works closely with AV Integrator and Consultant, Marc Lacroix, to ensure that audio communication within the facility’s Executive Boardroom, Satellite Operation Room, Space Science Boardroom and Space Technologies Boardroom always remain top notch. Lacroix is the president of Lacroix Audiovisuel and has been a trusted colleague and consultant to the Canadian Space Agency for nearly two decades. Clearly one of his all-time favorite clients, Marc says “I feel privileged to work with people that are passionate about space exploration, and flawless communication practices.” To ensure the best sound quality, the Canadian Space Agency and Lacroix Visuel work with microphone technology manufacturer, Clockaudio for all of the boardrooms and operation rooms.
THE PROJECT SITE
As a whole, the Canadian Space Agency is a heavy user of video and audio conferencing equipment mainly due to the collaboration it has with other agencies and supporting organizations around the world. In its boardrooms and operation rooms, they often host the world’s most brilliant minds. To keep these minds sharp and the ideas flowing, they recognize the importance of having the best possible quality in video and audio. Poor video and audio quality can fatigue the brain and make the brain have to work much harder to understand. When making critical decisions there is no room for this kind of fatigue or crossed signals of any kind. Lacroix comments, “Having good mics at the proper location and good sound reproduction and acoustics enables every meeting to become a fully transparent experience without experiencing any issues due to poor sound quality.”
In multiple rooms throughout the facility, several different Clockaudio products are used including the CS Series boundary layer microphones in meeting rooms, the C3SEW-RF hanging microphones used in the training rooms, and also the C012E-RF through table cardioid boundary layer microphones. In fact, the Agency is so pleased with the functionality of the C012E-RF microphones, they have become a standard for the executive, satellite operation and science boardrooms. Important to the project and particular to Clockaudio’s design, the C012E-RF have been installed with a CH-32 touch switch with bi-colored status lights that are programmed by a Crestron control system to signal when the system is on or off. Gregory Viger, the Canadian Space Agency’s technology specialist says, “This type of visual cue is really important to our team. It gives assurances to our team leaders and respected guests that join us in our meeting rooms that the system is functioning properly and makes them aware of the current status of the microphones. Clockaudio’s products provide a full ring to visually identify the microphone status. This gives our participants a sense of security about the privacy level of their conversations.” For the multiple rooms that employ Clockaudio’s microphones, both the integration consultant and the team at the Agency feel that Clockaudio provides the best technology and finish options to choose from with dependable performance and a streamlined design. As of this writing, future plans for the executive boardroom may include the CDT-100 as a way to streamline data and power cables and reduce cabling requirements from multiple and individual microphones on the boardroom table to the AV cabinet.
WORKING WITH CLOCKAUDIO
When asked about working with Clockaudio, both the Canadian Space Agency and the integration consultant agree that Clockaudio provides innovative solutions and is responsive to the unique needs of the Agency and offers customized alternatives and modifications that address their specific needs. One such need was in the Agency’s new training area. In this case, ceiling microphones were specified (C3SE-RF) and used as the furniture is modular and reconfigured often. For this reason, the Agency did not want any equipment permanently affixed. However, within the relatively large room, Clockaudio was able to work with the consultant team and recommend a layout for the equipment that could cross capture sound within the area. About working with the space agency, Lacroix says, “Loyalty and trust is at the base of the relationship we share. Honestly, people don’t measure how good of an integrator you are when things are going well, they measure it when things don’t go exactly as planned and on how able you are to come up with alternative solutions.”
CUSTOMIZED SOLUTION IDEAS
Explaining his respect for Clockaudio’s ingenuity, Lacroix’ discussed a recent challenge in the Agency’s executive boardroom. The room’s layout includes a huge oval table, with another decorative oval built into the ceiling above the table. Within the space, the sound bounces from the middle of the table up and down which makes it very difficult to understand conversation. Clockaudio was brought in to assess the room’s dynamics.
Clockaudio identified that there was an air gap below the ceiling where the room was experiencing a noise spill over. They then suggested a design for a customized gooseneck microphone for the conference table that could help address this issue. There was also a need to capture sound from guests and other experts that sat off to the side of the main conference table. Here, Clockaudio suggested the addition of ceiling microphones to capture the voices of the additional speakers. This work is still under consideration but the Agency is pleased with the suggestions.
This is indeed rocket science and the Canadian Space Agency is proud of its reputation as well as the expertise of its engineers and professional team. Working alone or in collaboration with other governments and world renowned space agencies such as NASA and the European Space Agency, CSA is committed to maintaining a level of excellence and upgrading its board and operation rooms to incorporate new and changing technologies. When choosing microphone technologies and customized solutions, the Canadian Space Agency counts on Clockaudio.
Clockaudio is proud to be an integral part of this prestigious installation at the Canadian Space Agency and thanks Lacroix Visuel for their contribution to this case study.