Technology makes the connection at Wake Forest
University finds a way to bridge the gap between campuses
University Business, September 2012
Being some 90 miles away from Wake Forest University’s sprawling main campus in Winston-Salem, the school’s new satellite campus in uptown Charlotte could seem like a distant star to the students who attend its adjunct MBA program, but foresight and imagination have brought the two campuses culturally and technologically closer.
One of the main challenges in technologically connecting the two campuses involved space constraints. The office building that housed the handful of rooms that would become the Charlotte campus had only a few closets for audiovisual equipment. “Uptown real estate in Charlotte doesn’t come cheap, and so there was limited space allotted for audiovisual use,” says John Owen, director of technology at Wake Forest University. “We were in dire need of a small rack-mounted control system that could be installed in each closet location or audiovisual credenza.”
What became the cornerstone of the Charlotte installation was a newly designed, all-in-one controller developed by AMX. “The Enova DVX-3150 offered a more affordable all-in-one solution, while freeing up space needed for the rest of the classroom audiovisual infrastructure,” explains Owen, who estimates that the system saved as much as 10 rack spaces in each of the five classrooms.
The design of the device allows for classroom installation of four projectors and two confidence monitors, providing faculty with flexibility in their approach to instruction.
“The technology also gives us the ability to remotely provide support when the tech person at the Charlotte location is off duty, or to assist faculty and staff in an emergency,” explains Owen.
The installation earned the school the AMX Connected Campus award.
Owen estimates that the Enova DVX-3150 saved Wake Forest more than $4,600 per installation, or a total of $23,000, when compared with an installation using separate audiovisual components with singular functionality.
Making students at the urban location feel like they were part of the school’s main campus was also a priority. “We wanted students to feel culturally connected to the school,” says Owen. “Technology gave us an opportunity to leverage the whole university landscape to bridge the physical distance.”
An AMX Inspired Composer Servicer located on the Winston-Salem campus now ties to two Inspired Signage XPert players in Charlotte. The XPert players are routed through an AMX UTPro 0808 HDMI matrix switcher with a twisted pair distribution kit, allowing for the playback of university-and publisher approved student content throughout the facility. “During our grand opening, for example, we displayed pictures and video of the campus played over a seasonal time line,” says Owen.
Videoconferencing also connects the campuses. Installed in conjunction with the Enova DVX-3150, AMX ICSLan I/O interfaces align camera presets with microphone activity to capture participants during videoconferencing without the need of a fixed camera operator.
The completion of the Charlotte project came just in time. The university has started construction of a new School of Business at its Winston-Salem campus. “The installation has proven to be a great model for future classrooms,” says Owen. “The $25,000 in AMX technology and equipment that comes with the award will be put to good use.”