The systems integrator is fundamentally programmed to handle jobs of any scale, and always receptive to new challenges. The majority of these jobs are renovations to existing facilities, many of which require some element of IP migration.
Renovations are fun and challenging jobs that ultimately bring end user clients into more efficient and effective AV environments. However, there is something satisfying about a ground-up construction – especially when the AV integrator is involved from the start.
Southern California-based Audax Communications is among the lucky firms that often find themselves in this position. One recent project involved the complete AV and IT buildout for a major healthcare organization in Irvine.
“We work with a lot of real estate developers and agencies that need a full-service integration firm that can cross multiple low-voltage jobs and integration phases,” said Mr. Magallon, Project Manager, Audax Communications. “We came into the build early and handled everything from structured wiring, optical, and network infrastructure through to access control, surveillance, and AV.”
The crown jewel from the AV perspective was a divisible, multipurpose conference and training room that could accommodate 50 or more medical professionals. That space would also serve as a basis for distance learning, with a soft codec conferencing infrastructure to communicate with facilities throughout the Americas and Europe.
Naturally, the end user also had cost on the mind. One mission was clear from the start, however.
“There was never a question that this was all going onto the network,” said Magallon. “We wanted a system that we could scale between some of the smaller huddle rooms and the larger conference spaces in the building. That made AV over IP the logical choice. The challenge for us was to build a technically superior solution that didn’t sacrifice quality for a lower price point.”
All roads led back to two key vendors: Atlona, which would supply the video routing, distribution and control; and Phoenix Audio, which would provide the core Dante-enabled DSP for audio and integration to soft codecs. The result is an All-IP Meeting Space that kept costs in check and offered a clean foundation for growth.
BEHIND THE WALLS
The integration team made the backbone its first order of business, selecting Cat6 shielded wiring and an Araknis managed switch. The structured wiring provides connectivity from the rack to all AV devices, while the switch reliably supports the multicast network architecture that Audax envisioned.
“The switch provides PoE power for the encoders and decoders, and the multicast configuration means it can easily handle the traffic that the encoders and decoders require to talk to each other,” said Magallon. “We wired everything locally to that switch, and from there we have an uplink to the main server room. That will allow the system to easily grow to other rooms and accommodate any future upgrades to existing rooms.”
The encoders and decoders that Magallon references are from Atlona’s OmniStream Pro AV over IP family. In fact, Atlona gear represents more than half of the equipment in the space, with single and dual-channel encoders (AT-OMNI-111, AT-OMNI-112), single-channel decoders (AT-OMNI-121), OmniStream USB over IP device adapters (AT-OMNI-311 USB-to-IP, AT-OMNI-324 IP-to-USB), an AT-HDVS-CAM camera, and Velocity networked AV control.
For audio, Magallon went straight for a Dante networking solution that could live on the same network. Same as on the video side, he had budget on the mind with the understanding that quality remained pertinent. And as time was at a premium, he wanted a system that was quick to configure and deploy. The Audax team leaned on Phoenix Audio’s Stingray DSP solution, which covered all of these bases.
“All audio is routed via Dante, including podium and ceiling microphones,” said Magallon. “The ease of installation with Phoenix is unsurpassed. We looked at other systems that are better-known brands, and great products just the same – but they lose out when it comes to programming intensity. With the Stingray, you power up and cycle it, adjust a few settings and you’re done. It was a 20-minute job to configure and deploy two Stingrays.”