HB Communications Installs Building-Wide AV Solution with Biamp, Crestron at BU School of Law

HB Communications uses Biamp Tesira DSP and Crestron DigitalMedia to enhance the learning experience at historic Boston University School of Law with on-demand lessons.

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HB Communications Installs Building-Wide AV Solution with Biamp, Crestron at BU School of Law

Boston University's School of Law added on-demand learning capabilities when it expanded.

The Boston University School of Law has a rich history that dates back to 1872, but school officials have embraced technology that allows webcasting for remote lessons and record-and-playback from its newest 93,000-square-foot building.

The Sumner M. Redstone Building features classrooms, practice courtrooms and seminar rooms equipped with AV technology, with audio delivered using Biamp’s Tesira digital signal processor.

Construction on the Redstone Building started in 2013 and wrapped up a year later. Located at the base of the Charles River Campus’ Law Tower, the building was needed to provide a new entrance to the law school and house the majority of its classrooms, practice courtrooms and seminar rooms.

In the second phase of the project, the university’s Law Tower was completely renovated, with its classrooms, courtrooms and interview rooms also receiving high-tech upgrades before reopening in 2015.

Inside HB Communications’ Building-Wide AV System

HB Communications‘ AV solution is built around Crestron’s DigitalMedia and control products for AV switching, control, and monitoring, the Echo360 active learning platform for recording and webcasting, and audio capabilities provided by Tesira.

Each of the 18 classrooms, three courtrooms and numerous seminar rooms in the Redstone Building is now equipped with Echo360 technologies and a Crestron DigitalMedia matrix switcher, allowing the instructors to capture their lessons and make them available for students on their mobile devices . This creates an interactive lesson both during class and outside the classroom.

Audio and video signals can also be sent to a control room, where AV operators at four work stations monitor and record classes and facilitate videoconferencing capabilities. The control room head end features four Cisco codecs for live remote teaching and video conferencing, an additional Echo360 recording device, a 128×128 Crestron DigitalMedia matrix switcher and a 128×128 Kramer HD-SDI switcher.

Initially, analog audio signals were being distributed to and from the control room over fiber, tying into a 128×128 Kramer audio switcher in the head end; this audio switcher was nearly full by the end of the building’s installation.

When the renovation of the Law Tower began, many rooms were not originally intended to connect to the control room for monitoring and recording capabilities.

However, the scope of the project expanded, resulting in the need to equip them with this functionality.

With the originally specified switchers full, HB Communications decided to increase the capacity of the Crestron DigitalMedia and Kramer HD-SDI switchers and to take advantage of Tesira’s extensive AVB/TSN channel count capabilities — allowing audio signals to be routed digitally and eliminating the need for the analog audio switcher altogether.

“For an AV system of this magnitude, we wanted to utilize the latest and most advanced technology,” says Michael Dodge, senior systems design engineer at HB Communications. “[Tesira’s] ability to run AVB/TSN over fiber was a crucial feature as the scope of the project expanded.”

Biamp, Crestron Yield Happy Returns

“Moving the audio signal routing to Tesira not only allowed us to accommodate the additional rooms in the Law Tower, but it also saved the university over $10,000 by eliminating the need for the analog switcher,” says Dodge. “In addition, in a system of this size that is performing every day, there are several potential failure points and we were able to eliminate many of them.”

HB Communications designed and installed a system that provided the scalability the project required to address the university’s needs, while saving money and ensuring system flexibility for future expansion.

“We’ve received nothing but positive feedback on the system,” said Arthur G. Martins, learning and event technology specialist for Boston University School of Law. “For faculty, it has proven to be extremely reliable and simple to use, making it easy for them to teach in real-world settings as well as the classroom. For students, Tesira provides perfect audio comprehension for webcasting and playbacks, and has had an immediate impact on the quality of their learning experience.”