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The Connected Campus: Learning Spaces Beyond the Classroom

AMX technology drives improvements in training tomorrow’s vets at the University of Florida
University Business, July/August 2012
The uses for AV technologies in higher ed aren’t limited to traditional classrooms. At the University of Florida’s new three-story, 100,000 square-foot veterinary teaching hospital, an integrated AV network is woven into the fabric of the building. In this University Business web seminar, originally presented on May 22, 2012, David John, safety and security supervisor at the College of Veterinary Medicine, discussed how the hospital is using its AV network to improve patient care as well as the learning experience for students.

Jackie Deluna
Director of Strategic Marketing
AMX Corporation

The University of Florida was our 2011 Innovation Award winner for new learning space for its College of Veterinary Medicine. This facility was also certified as a LEED Gold building for its energy efficient innovation. This state-of-the-art research facility is quite an accomplishment. We are proud to have provided much of the new technology to make the teaching innovations at the University of Florida possible. The new DVX3150 HD is designed from the ground up as an all-in-one presentation switcher to address the specific needs of education institutions like the University of Florida. With the switchers in the classrooms and touch panels throughout the building, information can reach from classrooms to “rounds rooms” to operating rooms. Students and teachers can collaborate throughout procedures and documents can be shared throughout the procedure. The Modero X Series Touch Panels allow the user to select a particular camera or computer and send images to that location. They are a great addition. Our newest tool to help campuses is the AMX Rapid Project Maker, a cloud-based configuration tool to enable campuses to design and deploy systems in less than an hour with a really easy online wizard. RPM is a comprehensive tool and no program is required to use it. This is a great tool when you are trying to find a way to cut costs and identify solutions. We are trying to help universities find a way to get what they need within the financial capabilities they have.

David John
Safety & Security Supervisor, Senior Electronic Technician, 
College of Veterinary Medicine
University of Florida

Our new small animal hospital was opened last year. This was a giant leap forward in technology for teaching our veterinary students within this state-of-the-art functional hospital, which is also an energy efficient and environmentally friendly facility. That is tough to do in a hospital environment, which has many high-energy demand requirements, such as our Linear Accelerator for cancer treatment and an interventional catheterization lab. 
This illustrates the importance of planning from the start. These are very high-energy items. So knowing we had to have these types of items in the building, we had to make a lot of plans to address energy efficiency in other areas. If you want to get LEED certified, you need to know up front what you can’t compromise on, so you can make more energy efficient choices in the areas where you can.
We are a 24-hour facility with 22 exam rooms, 12 operating suites, seminar and conference rooms and a dedicated “rounds” room for each service. In these rooms, we had a lot of integration in AV technology. 
With this building, we were trying to set a standard for both technology and teaching. The AV system had to meet the standards we were setting. When we started planning, we asked ourselves, “What is it that we are trying to do?” We did this by creating user groups to help us gather feedback and set direction. 
Users often tell you what they want. But in the initial planning phase, we don’t want to know what you want to use, but what you want to do. Too often we let a comfort level with certain types of equipment or technology drive our decisions. You should let what you want to do drive the equipment that you need, so you don’t miss the chance to employ something better over something you are just comfortable with. 
Some key points we learned from our process:
  • Determining the final equipment and design should be the decision of an AV professional or engineer rather than a user group. 
  • There are many variables from display type to furniture to windows that can affect the type of equipment and infrastructure you choose. 
  • Cost should be the last variable you consider, not the first. The question you and your user groups will have to determine is, can you afford what you need to do, or do we have to go back and take a more realistic review based on what we can afford? There is a fine line between those two.
We identified the locations where we would want to collaborate. For example, we asked what we would need to do to make our “rounds” rooms talk to each other and with others outside our network. We ended up creating collaborative teaching spaces as part of what is recognized today as the most comprehensive AV project in veterinary medicine.
Our rounds rooms have a combination of LCD screens, video conferencing, and interfacing for laptops built into the conference room tables. We used AMX touch panels for our user interface. We have a sharing screen, so every room in this building is able to be shared. If one of the conference rooms wants to share with one of the operating rooms, they each select the other and then have all the sources available and the audio mics automatically link together. That shares resources, but also protects privacy.
We have a 140-seat auditorium with a vertical curtain that can break the room down into smaller spaces. We can have groups of people come in and use this room to view a surgery in one of our operating rooms. 
In our operating rooms, the surgical lights have cameras built in so that students can get a surgeon’s eye view without crowding around the operating tables and jockeying for position. Students in the rounds room can view the surgery, hear everything and collaborate back and forth with the surgeon. This provided a huge leap in surgical training.
We have saved a lot of money by providing a source that manages all these rooms as one space. Each room functions both independently and centrally. The two key needs of our users were video conferencing and streaming. Two standalone units in each room would have cost $720,000. Instead, we ended up with two of each to service the entire building for under $60,000. This design provided more features and saved a lot of money.
This design worked for us, and most importantly, met the needs of our users.
To view this web seminar in its entirety, visit