Sight And Sounds recently handed over the keys to a multi-venue project for biotech firm, CovX Research LLC in La Jolla, California. The project has spanned over the course of several months, updating meeting rooms with new communication and integration technology.
In 2008, CovX joined Pfizer’s new Biotherapeutic and Bioinnovation Center, collaborating efforts to develop early stage compounds for diabetes and cancer. CovX is a research facility, and the shared communication of project developments is critical to CovX’s success. During project evaluation, we were introduced to Infracore LLC, CovX’s licensed IT services provider. Infracore outlined key areas requiring upgrades for the project.
The first goal was to upgrade the existing Polycom teleconference system to a new 1080p High Definition system; the second was to upgrade all video displays to High Resolution digital DVI/HDMI standards; the third was to integrate both legacy VGA and new digital video formats with seamless audio and video switching; the fourth was to replace older AMX touch panels and control equipment with the newer AMX Netlinx products; the fifth was to tie all of the rooms together via a common Remote Management System (RMS).
Taking on integration of this scope requires project stages. The boardroom was our first build, where the front wall containing an older rear projection, whiteboard, and 50” plasma display were removed. In their place, two 65” plasmas were mounted into custom-built nooks, along with a new Polycom Eagle Eye 1080p pan-tilt-zoom teleconferencing camera. A second Eagle Eye was added in the back of the boardroom to cover the podium for teleconference presentations. Prevost Construction was the general contractor, providing all of the supporting framing, backing, drywall, and fabric panel application.
Behind the reconfigured wall, we upgraded the boardroom system with a Polycom HDX8006 teleconferencing system, Gefen 8x8 HDMI Matrix Switcher, Lutron GrafikEye 6-Channel Lighting System, and AMX Netlinx Controller. Older bracket-mounted speakers above the boardroom seating area were removed and replaced with flush-mount speakers. The existing shades were integrated into the new AMX Netlinx system. The podium’s older AMX G3 touch screen was replaced with the latest AMX G4 touch screen. The boardroom table was then outfitted with a new AMX G4 7-inch touch panel.
The boardroom upgrade was a dramatic improvement, with a very clean look and total integration of teleconferencing, audio, video, lighting, and shade control. Additionally, several macros were added as touch panel “one button access” buttons, providing simplified control options.
The next build stage focused on the Lunch Room. The existing video projector was upgraded with a brighter NEC digital projector, capable of receiving both VGA and DVI/HDMI sources. The room was then outfitted with a Polycom HDX8004 system and two Polycom Eagle Eye 1080p pan-tilt-zoom teleconferencing cameras. The legacy AMX controller and keypad were replaced with an AMX Netlinx controller and AMX G4 touch screen. The podium connection point was replaced with an Extron configurable connection point, known as AAP, where HDMI, VGA, audio, and network connections reside on one single-gang floor outlet. From the podium AMX touch screen, the presenter can select from the podium’s laptop VGA and HDMI outputs, Polycom, and local BluRay player.
The most recent room build was a smaller conference room, where we replaced a small 32” LCD screen with a 55” Panasonic Plasma display. A Polycom HDX8000 system was added, along with upgraded AMX Netlinx controller and G4 touch screen. We then introduced a pair of flush-mount speakers connected to a small Extron amplifier, providing plenty of power to deliver crystal-clear teleconferencing audio.
Polycom HD Teleconferencing
The uniform implementation of Polycom’s HDX system between all three CovX meeting areas allows for teleconferences to educate and inform researchers and project managers throughout the facility. With the use of a teleconferencing bridge, the IT department can establish a teleconferencing link between numerous world-wide Pfizer sites and the various CovX meeting rooms. This includes real-time audio and video, as well as computer content.
The terminology for teleconferencing includes “Near Side,” the location where a person would take part in the teleconference, and “Far Side,” the remote location that takes part in the teleconference. “Content” is any computer signal input to the system, such as a power point presentation. In the case of the boardroom, each 65” display can select between “Near,” “Far,” and “Content.” Additionally, “Content” can be shared locally or from the far side.
Biomedical research requires immediate and timely delivery of information and project status. A high-definition teleconferencing system pays enormous dividends, since individuals and groups can collaborate immediately world-wide or locally without leaving the facility. A meeting can be established as quickly as a taxi call, and participants can conduct a teleconference meeting with less time than an airline flight. Efficiency results in greater productivity while reducing travel time and associated expenses.
AMX "Meeting Manager"
One key ingredient to this modern technology is AMX’s “Meeting Manager” software, part of the AMX Remote Management Software (RMS) suite. The CovX project includes RMS server software, along with three client licenses, one for each meeting room. During the week, CovX coworkers schedule and book times for the various meeting rooms. The IT department can then set room functionality via Schedule Calendar on Meeting Manager. A drop-down list of room functions can be pasted to the calendar, allowing the IT department to turn on displays, adjust lighting, control shades, and set near, far, and content settings within Polycom directly from the IT help desk. Five minutes before a meeting starts, the room is already prepared with the pre-defined settings requested. CovX team members can now “hit the ground running” with less down time.
Meeting Manager also tracks room usage. Since the RMS server follows operations from all three AMX Netlinx controllers, the IT department can receive data on projector lamp usage and other asset management data, including help requests and source usage. This data can then determine future requirements and provide proactive equipment servicing.
Working with Infracore and CovX has been a great experience. We have worked in other commercial and public environments, such as retail, restaurant/hospitality, and places of worship. CovX is an extremely successful company, with financial resources to purchase quality products, which always provides a great working environment. Most importantly, CovX is providing an incredible service to society as a whole, discovering new compounds for future cures. The CovX facility is populated with smart, energetic people with ambitious goals, ultimately benefiting us all with healthier lives. Working with high technology is always exciting, but realizing that our efforts may help our customer find a cure for cancer and other diseases is truly inspiring.
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The Boardroom has a new clean look, yet it is extremely sophisticated, with several VGA & HDMI inputs and Polycom HD teleconferencing system. AMX, Extron, and Gefen products provide easy connection and control.
The Lunch Room provides a large venue for company-wide meetings and teleconferences.
Smaller Conference Room
Often, a small room can provide an important private meeting at the drop of a hat. This room is an excellent place to collaborate between world-wide sites.
Polycom's HDX system is truly HD with 1080p resolution. Joining a bridged teleconference between multiple sites is quick, efficient, and cost-effective.
AMX Meeting Manager Software
Meeting Manager allows the IT Department control several rooms from one main location at the IT department. (click image to learn about Meeting Manager)
Meeting Manager Scheduling
Meeting Manager allows the IT Department to schedule preset room control of audio-video, lighting, and shades from Schedule Calendar (click to visit AMX)
CovX is a great company with a noble vision. Take a minute to learn about CovX Research, LLC, and their quest to discover critical breakthroughs in biomedicine. (click image to visit the CovX web site)