Voice amplification and classroom automation for Canadian University Dubai

Polymedia has successfully designed and implemented voice amplification and classroom automation solutions for Canadian University Dubai, UAE. The project included a comprehensive control system, AV infrastructure monitoring platform, instant Help Desk and Security requests system, as well as contactless voice amplification. The design was completed within 7 days of intensive work of Polymedia team in close cooperation with AV department of Canadian University. The biggest project challenges the team addressed were complicated room acoustics and sophisticated interior design.

Voice amplification and classroom automation for Canadian University Dubai

Polymedia has successfully designed and implemented voice amplification and classroom automation solutions for Canadian University Dubai, UAE. The project included a comprehensive control system, AV infrastructure monitoring platform, instant help desk and security requests system, as well as contactless voice amplification. The design was completed within 7 days of intensive work of Polymedia team in close cooperation with AV department of Canadian University. The biggest project challenges were complicated room acoustics and sophisticated interior design.
Located on the City Walk, Dubai, Canadian University is a private university founded in 2006. The University offers education based on the international curriculum and has over 50 international academic partners.

Polymedia was tasked with the design and implementation of audiovisual systems for four hybrid and 19 standard auditoriums. The hybrid auditoriums feature Shure ceiling speakers and microphone arrays, as well as lighting and projector control systems. The standard auditoriums include lighting and projector control. Crestron FUSION and Shure System On infrastructure solutions were implemented for remote monitoring and control of multimedia systems.

All the installed systems had to be integrated with existing infrastructure, public address systems and fire alarm.

The hybrid auditoriums feature Shure ceiling acoustic systems and microphones that help to conduct lectures in a mixed format: when some students are physically present in the class and some participate remotely by videoconference. Using Shure microphone arrays enables consistent sound in the entire classroom, which helps professors and students physically located in the auditorium to communicate with remote participants.

The VoiceLift system was implemented on the basis of Shure Intellimix software sound processor. The system captures the voices of students and of a lecturer and reproduces them in all areas of the auditorium. At the time of COVID-19 pandemic, this technology is especially relevant as it allows all the class participants to talk and to be heard without the use of a handheld microphone or crowding. The system also supports professors for whom it is now easier to conduct lectures for extended periods of time as the Shure Voice Lift system helps to amplify their voice.

The Voice Lift solution in hybrid auditoriums became a unique feature of the project. As the room acoustics are challenging – the reverberation time in a room of 528 m3 was 1.58 seconds – implementing the voice lift solution was an arduous task. The rooms are furnished with multiple glass decorative panels and windows. In every room, the ceiling has a sophisticated shape. Ceiling height varies from 3.5 to 4.5 meters depending on the auditorium, which is quite high for ceiling-mounted voice lift systems.

Developing this audio solution and choosing the right system for it was the key challenging element of the project. At first, the task to deliver a workable voice lift solution with coverage of the full auditorium seemed like "mission impossible". Polymedia and Shure technical teams worked hard for 5 days to build 100% accurate acoustic models of the rooms, to choose a suitable technical solution, to place it in the correct position and generate precise settings for the sound systems. Shure new Steerable Coverage™ technology allowed the team to position audio capture beams accurately for every separate student and avoid capturing unwanted and reflected noise. Shure Auto Focus™ helped to cover locations where teacher is moving during the classes. Finally, combination of Shure outstanding sound technologies and precise configuration of the system enabled natural sound quality in acoustically complicated rooms.
The project also features a comprehensive equipment control environment. The control system integrated in all 23 auditoriums helps to operate projectors and lighting systems inside a classroom. Touch panels mounted on the walls include a Help Desk button that connects users with the technical support team. A lecturer can control projectors, lights or call for a technician with a simple touch of a button on a panel. Help Desk system sends a notification to an IT team, specifying the room number for the request.

Light control systems can be operated in two ways: digitally via wall-mounted Crestron touch panels and manually via standard wall switchers.

The solution is united by a single system for centralized monitoring and control of multimedia systems in the auditoriums – Crestron FUSION. Shure System On audio asset management software enabled deep monitoring, proactive maintenance, remote control of audio systems as well as remote support of the events in the auditoriums. All the equipment is managed from the AV control room.

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